#87 Thomas McCarty

Thomas McCarthy (Abt. 1850-1893?), aka Thomas McCarty, Bridgeport Tommy, Tommy Moore, George Day – Burglar

From Byrnes’s 1886 edition:

DESCRIPTION. Thirty-six years old in 1886. Born in Ireland. Stout build. Sandy complexion. Height, 5 feet 7 inches. Weight, 160 pounds. Light brown hair, brown eyes, high cheek bones. Has an India ink ring on second finger of left hand. Generally wears a sandy mustache.

RECORD. “Tommy Moore,” or McCarty, the latter being his right name, is a well known New York sneak, pickpocket and burglar. He was formerly an associate of Joe Parish. He went to Europe, and on his return fell in with Johnny Dobbs, and worked with him all over the United States until the gang was arrested in Massachusetts. He is known East and West, and is considered a first-class outside man. He formerly lived in Bridgeport, Conn., where he was known as ” Bridgeport Tommy.”

He was arrested in Lawrence, Mass., on March 3, 1884, under the name of George Day, in company of Mike Kerrigan, alias Johnny Dobbs, Dennis Carroll, alias Wm. Thompson (147), Frederick P. Gray (73) and John Love (68), with burglars’ tools in their possession. They had just left their rooms to commit a burglary, when the marshal and his officers made a dash for them and succeeded in holding four of them. The fifth man, Johnny Love, escaped from the officer. After their arrest, their rooms at the Franklin House were searched, and one of the most complete set of burglars’ tools ever made was found there.

On March 6, 1884, Dobbs, Day and Gray were committed for trial in $10,000 bail each. Thompson, who had fired several shots at the officers, was committed in $20,000 bail. Kerrigan, alias Dobbs, and Thompson pleaded guilty, in the Superior Court of Lawrence, Mass., to having burglars’ tools in their possession, and were sentenced to ten years each in Concord prison, on July 9, 1884. McCarty, or Day, and Gray stood trial, were convicted, and sentenced in the same court, on February 11, 1885, to ten years each. McCarty’s picture is an excellent one, taken in March, 1884.

From Byrnes’s 1895 edition:

He was reported to have been killed by a premature explosion of a safe that he was burglarizing, in a small town near Rochester, N. Y., in November, 1893.

Credit must be given to Inspector Byrnes and the New York Police Department for their information gathering and record keeping, which in the case of “Bridgeport Tommy” exceeded any information to be gleaned about him from newspaper sources. There were many crimes committed between 1870 and 1893 by men named Thomas Moore or Thomas McCarthy/McCarty, but it was only his 1884 arrest in Lawrence, Mass. that can definitely be attributed to Tommy.

More intriguing is Byrnes’s 1895 note about McCarthy’s supposed death. There were no newspaper reports of a burglar dying due to a premature explosion in Western New York or elsewhere in 1893, or in the one or two years prior.

However, in late November, 1893, there was a botched dynamiting of a safe in a post office in a small town in Western New York (145 miles from Rochester). It took place in the village of Frewsburg, New York:


The five burglars were never captured. Was Bridgeport Tommy one of them? Did he sustain mortal injuries during the miscalculated explosion, or from shots fired afterward? This could be a bit of information that Byrnes learned through his informers, a tale that was never made public.

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