#107 James Campbell

James Campbell (Abt. 1844-19??), aka Shang Campbell, James Morgan, George Wilson, James Williams, James Bell, George Jones — Masked burglar, Pickpocket

Link to Byrnes’s text for #107 James Campbell

Inspector Byrnes, in his two editions, offered a fairly complete record of Shang Campbell’s known crimes, but several small mysteries about the man remain. Campbell’s age, early history, and real name remain in doubt. When sent to Sing Sing in 1903, he claimed to be 71 years old (birth year 1832); but newspaper accounts from his other crimes put his birth year at around 1850. Byrnes is probably closer to the mark, indicating Campbell was born around 1844.

By his own account, Campbell’s mother died when he was young, and at age 12 he was sent north of New York City sixty miles to a farm in Orange County, New York. He said he lived there for four years, then came back to the city. Campbell told a story that his first brush with the law was an injustice–that he was hanging out on a corner with some other youths, and the police rounded up everyone and charged them with a robbery. Campbell stated that he went to the reformatory for two years, having done nothing wrong.

Byrnes says that Campbell was involved in a warehouse robbery in lower Manhattan and was sent to Sing Sing for five years; but the Sing Sing registers can not confirm this. Depending on Campbell’s real age, both of these stories could be true–but Campbell’s verifiable criminal record does not start until 1873.

Campbell gained infamy as one of the gang of masked burglars that raided houses along the Hudson River in the fall of 1873.  They were known as the “Masked Eleven” or the “Rochelle Pirates.” This gang of thieves entered the residence of a wealthy farmer, Abram Post, near Embogcht (Inbocht) Bay on the Hudson River, south of Catskill, New York. Similar raids were made against the homes of J. P. Emmet in New Rochelle, New York; and W. K. Soutter on Staten Island. The gang was said to use George Milliard’s saloon to plan its raids, and included Johnny Dobbs, Dan Kelly, Pugsey Hurley, Patsy Conroy, Larry Griffin, Dennis Brady, John Burns. All were arrested except Dobbs and Campbell. They fled south to Key West, Florida.

Dobbs and Campbell intended to get to Cuba, but on the way stopped in Key West, partied heavily, and started bragging about their exploits. They were arrested by the Key West sheriff and thrown in jail while their backgrounds were investigated. Campbell escaped, but was recaptured and returned to New York.

Once he was released, Campbell joined a gang of pickpockets that toured the States and Canada for several years. He was arrested in Worcester, Massachusetts in October 1884, and let out of a $3000 bail, which was forfeited.  In 1887, he, along with Ned Lyons and Ned Lyman, were caught picking pockets in Kent, Ohio. Campbell was let out on bail and jumped again.

Byrnes relates Campbell’s drawn-out legal hassles in Boston from 1891 through 1893, when we was tried and convicted for a bank sneak robbery. He appealed his conviction three times, but ultimately was sentenced to four years in prison.

Upon his release, Campbell returned to New York to resume his streetcar pick pocket activities under his abbreviated name, James Bell. When arrested in 1901 under the alias George Jones, it was reported that his wife had recently died–but that he had deceived her for thirty years as to the nature of his business, explaining his prison terms as foreign business trips. He seemed to be able to maintain a middle-class household from his earnings, and police complimented his “beautiful system.”

Whatever system he had failed in February 1903, when he was sent to Sing sing for five years for picking pockets. He was later transferred to Clinton Prison in Dannemora, and was released in September 1906, a withered, gray-haired man.



#138 George Milliard

George A. Millard (Abt. 1842-????), aka George Milliard, George Williams, George Malloy, George Stevens, Miller — Receiver, pickpocket, burglar, green goods operator

From Byrnes’s 1886 edition:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-four years old in 1886. Born in United States. Married. Saloon keeper. Slim build. Height, 5 feet 7 inches. Weight, 118 pounds. Brown hair, blue eyes, light complexion, bald on front of head. Generally wears a full black beard. Has an anchor in India ink on right fore-arm.

RECORD. Milliard is an old New York pickpocket, burglar, and receiver of stolen goods. He formerly kept a liquor saloon on the corner of Washington and Canal streets. New York, which was the resort of the most desperate gang of river thieves and masked burglars in America.

Milliard was arrested in New York City on January 5, 1874, in company of John Burns, Big John Garvey (now dead), Dan Kelly, Matthew McGeary, Francis P. Dayton, Lawrence Griffin, and Patsey Conroy (now dead), charged with being implicated in several masked burglaries. One in New Rochelle, N.Y., on December 23, 1873; another at Catskill, on the Hudson River, on October 17, 1873; and one on Staten Island, N.Y., in December, 1873, about a week after the New Rochelle robbery.

The particular charge against Milliard was receiving stolen goods, part of the proceeds of these burglaries. He was tried in New York City, convicted, and sentenced to five years in Sing Sing prison on February 13, 1874.

The other parties arrested with him at the time were disposed of as follows : Dan Kelly, Larry Griffin, and Patsey Conroy were each sentenced to twenty years in State prison for the New Rochelle burglary on February 20, 1874. Burns was sentenced to sixteen years in State prison for the Catskill burglary on October 23, 1874. Big John Garvey (now dead) was sentenced to ten years in State prison in New York City on June 22, 1874. McGeary was discharged on January 13, 1874. Dayton was put under $1,000 bail for good behavior on January 13, 1874. Shang Campbell, John O’Donnell, John Orr (now dead), and Pugsey Hurley (88), were also arrested in connection with these burglaries, and sent to State prison.

Since Milliard’s discharge he has been traveling through the country picking pockets with Jimmie Lawson, alias “Nibbs” (137), and a Chicago thief named Williard. He is considered a first-class man, and is known in all the principal cities in the United States. He has been arrested several times, but manages to escape conviction. His picture is a good one, taken in August, 1885.

From Byrnes’s 1895 edition:

Arrested again in New York City on June 16, 1894, in company of “Sheeny Mike,” alias Mike Kurtz (No. 80), John Mahoney, alias Jack Shepperd (No. 62), and Charley Woods, alias Fowler, all well-known and expert safe burglars, charged with a series of burglaries. On June 18 Sheeny Mike was held to await requisition papers from New Jersey (see No. 80). Charley Woods was remanded in the custody of an officer from Erie Co., N.Y., having escaped from the penitentiary there in 1883. Jack Shepperd (see No. 62) and Milliard were discharged.

Though Byrnes stuck to the unusual spelling Milliard, most newspaper accounts gave this man’s name as Millard–it was probably not his real name, which (as Byrnes indicates) may have been Miller.

Millard was first arrested for picking pockets in 1866 and given a stiff sentence of five years in Sing Sing–which he remained bitter about for many years. After his release he opened a small saloon on the Bowery, but it lasted just a year. He then did some work copying records in the New York County Clerk’s office; around 1872 he opened a different saloon, “George’s,” at the northwest corner of Canal and Washington Streets in Lower Manhattan. His saloon soon became a popular hangout for burglars and pickpockets, and in 1873 became the headquarters of the Hudson river house-breakers, the “Masked Eleven,” led by Patsy Conroy. Millard was suspected of being among the masked men that terrorized riverfront residences in the fall of 1873, but was only prosecuted for the booty and tools that police found in the saloon. He was charged with being a receiver of stolen goods–a fence–and was sentenced to Sing Sing for another five years as George A. Millard.

Byrnes mentions that Millard then traveled with on an pickpocket expedition with James Lawson, i.e. “Nibbs,” and George Williard. This must have been around 1884-1886, for there was a narrow window when Nibbsy was not in prison.

In 1889, Millard was arrested as “George Williams” and charged with conspiracy to commit grand larceny. No description of the crime has surfaced, but this coincides with the period in which Millard–like many Bowery pickpockets–became a “green goods” operator, playing a con in which greedy yokels were encouraged to buy (nonexistent) counterfeit money with their good money. He was sentenced to two and a half years in Sing Sing.

Upon his release, in 1891 Millard was caught almost immediately running a green goods game with Bill Vosburgh and Joseph Rickerman, aka Nigger Baker.

As Byrnes mentions, Millard was arrested again in 1984 with some illustrious burglars, Mike Kurtz and John Mahaney, aka Jack Sheppard. However, Millard escaped prosecution–and made no more known crimes under that name or identifiable aliases.




#103 Frank Woods

Frank Woods (Abt. 1846-????), aka Frank McKenna, Frank Wilson — House Thief

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Thirty-five years old in 1886. Born in New York City. Single. No trade. Medium build. Height, 5 feet 6 inches. Weight, 135 pounds. Black hair, gray eyes, fair complexion. Has scar on left hand, near thumb joint. Has figures “25” in India ink on outside of left fore-arm.

RECORD. Woods is perhaps one of the smartest house thieves there is in this country. He confines himself to second-story work generally, and usually works wealthy manufacturing towns and summer resorts.

He was arrested in New York City on July 15, 1874, under the name of Frank McKenna, in company of William Johnson, charged with entering the house of J. A. Terhune, No. 416 West Twenty-eighth Street, by removing a panel of the basement door. The noise awakened the occupants of the house, who pursued them, and caused their arrest. Woods and Johnson both pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree, and were each sentenced to State prison at Sing Sing for five years on August 4, 1874, by Recorder Hackett.

Woods escaped from Sing Sing on June 2, 1876, but was recaptured and returned to prison the same month.

He was arrested again in New York City on March 5, 1885, and delivered to the authorities of Pawtucket, R.I., charged with robbing the house of William Sayles, a wealthy manufacturer of that place. This robbery was what is called a second-story job. He was tried on July 3, 1885, and the jury disagreed. He was afterwards admitted to bail, an official becoming his bondsman, so as to insure his return in case any further evidence could be obtained against him. This was a lucky escape for him. Woods is well known in all the large Eastern cities. He has served time in State prisons in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and is a very clever thief. Woods’ picture is a good one, taken in December, 1877.

Inspector Byrnes missed the opportunity to add more detail to Woods’s background and crimes, though perhaps he did not have those at hand. An 1876 article from the New York Sun informs us:

“Frank McKenna was the handsomest and most promising of the Sixteenth Ward youths ten years ago. He had received a collegiate education, and was a student for the ministry. His father was rich, and his home refined. Unluckily, some of his associates were evil minded, and they led him to drink, gamble, and the rest. By his father’s death he was made master of three dwellings in Seventeenth street, near Eighth avenue, and thereafter he squandered his patrimony. Then he became a burglar, known to the police as Frank Woods.”

Byrnes and the Sing Sing registers preferred the opposite: that his real name was woods, and McKenna an alias.

It was as “Frank Woods” that he was rumored to have been a member of the infamous 1873 “River Pirate” gang led by Patsey Conroy and Pugsey Hurley. If so, then Woods was one of the lucky couple of members of that gang that established alibis and escaped prosecution.

Woods escaped from Sing Sing in June 1876. Some sources state that he escaped twice, the first time in May of 1875; but these accounts confuse Frank with a man involved in that earlier attempt, Peter McKenna. The 1876 escape was nearly a carbon copy of the 1875 break: prisoners walking from the rock quarry passed nearby an arch that ran over nearby rail tracks between the prison and the Hudson River. They made a break from the guards and dropped onto the passing engine and coal tender. The New York Sun got the story of the engineer:


Woods was able to get across the river and evaded his pursuers. However, he was caught in St. Louis fairly quickly, and was returned to Sing Sing to serve out his sentence.

In Byrnes’s 1895 edition, he updated Frank Woods entry to inform the public that Woods was currently living in New York, and had reformed. If so, he might have started life under a new name, because there was never further mention of the thief, Frank Woods.

#88 Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley (1846-????), aka Pugsey Hurley, John Raymond, Martin Hurley, John Reilly — Masked robber

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty years old in 1886. Born in England. Medium build. Machinist by trade. Height, 5 feet 7 inches. Weight, 135 pounds. Brown hair, hazel eyes, fair complexion, pug nose. Has an eagle, with star underneath, in India ink, on inside of right arm.

RECORD. “Pugsey” Hurley is an old Seventh Ward, New York, thief. He was one of the New Rochelle, N.Y., masked burglars. The gang consisted of “Dan” Kelly, Larry Griffin, Patsey Conroy (now dead), Big John Garvey (now dead), Frank Kayton, Frank Woods, “Shang” Campbell, Mike Kerrigan, alias Johnny Dobbs, John O’Donnell, John Orr (now dead), Dennis Brady, George Maillard and Hurley, and their headquarters was at Maillard’s saloon, corner Washington and Canal streets, New York City.

The principal offense of which Hurley was convicted and for which he was sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment, was committed at the country residence of Mr. J. P. Emmet, known as “The Cottage,” at Pelham, near New Rochelle, N.Y., on December 23, 1873. On that night Hurley, in company with others of the gang of well organized and desperate masked burglars, of which “Patsey” Conroy was said to be the leader, broke into Mr. Emmet’s residence, and after surprising the occupant, his nephew and servants, bound and gagged them, and afterwards ransacked the house, getting altogether about $750 worth of plunder, with which they escaped.

The same gang, on the night of October 17, 1873, broke into the house of Abram Post, a wealthy farmer, living three miles from Catskill village, on the Hudson River, tied up the occupants and plundered the house, collecting bonds, jewelry and other property worth $3,000, with which they decamped.

On December 20, 1873, three days prior to the Emmet robbery, the same band of masked marauders surprised the watchman at the East New York depot of the Jamaica, Woodhaven and Brooklyn Railroad, and, after binding and gagging him, blew open the safe, which contained $4,000 in cash.

In less than a week after the plundering of the Emmet cottage, Mr. Wm. K. Souter, his family and servants, at his house at Sailors’ Snug Harbor, at West Brighton, Staten Island, were awakened in the dead hour of the night to find that they were the prisoners of a masked gang of burglars who terrified them with threats of instant death. The thieves were all heavily armed and had no trouble in frightening the occupants into submission.

These depredations created considerable excitement among the residents of the suburbs of New York at the time, and nearly all the small villages were banded together and vigilance committees formed to look out for the band of masked marauders.

All the gang were arrested by the police, and with the exception of two or three who established alibis, were sentenced to twenty years in State prison. Shang Campbell and Kerrigan, alias Dobbs, escaped to Key West, Florida, and were subsequently apprehended there. Campbell was brought back and sent to prison, but Kerrigan, who had plenty of money, succeeded in gaining his liberty, through the technicalities of the law. Orr (now dead) was next arrested; then Hurley was made a prisoner on August 15, 1874. He was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to twenty years in State prison on October 1, 1874, by Judge Tappan, at White Plains, Westchester County, N.Y.

While in Auburn prison in the spring of 1876, and also of 1877, he was foiled by the guards in two desperate efforts at escape. He then feigned insanity, and was transferred to the asylum attached to Clinton prison. He had not been there long before he made another break for liberty, but being detected he was re-examined, pronounced cured, and drafted back to Auburn prison. He made several attempts to escape after that, and finally, with assistance from the outside, in April, 1882, he cut through the prison roof and bid his prison chums and guards a hasty good-by.

He was re-arrested in New York City on August 1, 1882, on the corner of Liberty and Washington streets, delivered to the prison authorities on August 2, 1882, and taken back to serve his unexpired term of twelve years. Hurley’s picture is an excellent one, notwithstanding his eyes are closed. It was taken in July, 1882.

Pugsey Hurley (nicknamed for a pug nose) was a core member of the infamous “river burglars” gang that terrorized riverside towns around New York in late 1873. Most sources cite Patsey Conroy as the leader of this gang of masked house robbers, but a few suggest that Hurley was the guiding force. It has never been explained who among this gang procured the boat used; nor who it was that piloted it. They ranged far up the Hudson; up the East River into the Long Island Sound; and into the Kill Van Kull around Snug Harbor, Staten Island.

The willingness of the gang to use threats of violence, and to tie up their victims, led to severe sentences for all the apprehended, including Pugsey Hurley. He was sentenced to twenty years in State Prison. Initially, Hurley was sent to Sing Sing; but after he was caught planning escapes, he was transferred to the more secure confines of Auburn Prison.

In November, 1875, Hurley attempted to escape from Auburn Prison by crawling through the sewer tunnels (a stunt repeated in other prison escapes–and in The Shawshank Redemption). However, he was captured before he could exit the prison grounds.

Two months later, Hurley was able to disguise his prison garb with overalls, over shirt, and hat; and stuffed himself into a workshop toolbox that was transported out of the prison each night. Hurley–a small man–stuffed himself into the wooden box that measured three feet long, two feet wide, and sixteen inches deep. The top of the box consisted of three boards–two end pieces on hinges and a center board that was supposedly nailed in. Because it seemed impossible that any person could fit inside it, it was never checked when driven past the gate.

The teen driver of the tool shop manager drove his wagon out of the prison, unaware that Hurley was already inside the box when other prisoners hefted it into the wagon. Once on the street, the boy looked back and saw the lid of the box moving. Luckily, he was passing a grocery store and saw one of the off-duty keepers there, and stopped to alert him. Hurley jumped out of the box, but the jailer was armed, and ordered him to stop. He then fired three shots at Hurley, one of which hit his foot and another grazing his leg. The jailer was able to chase down Hurley, and he was returned to the prison hospital.

A year later, in January 1877, Hurley made another escape attempt at Auburn. The details were never published, but he apparently never made it outside the walls.

Next, Hurley feigned madness in order to be transferred to the asylum for prisoners at Dannemora. While there, he was observed making escape plans, which convinced his keepers that he was in fact, not insane at all–and so he was transferred back to Auburn.

By this point, Hurley had already forfeited any commutation for good behavior; he was now on the path to serving a full twenty years. Realizing there was nothing left to lose, Hurley made another attempt in April, 1882. Auburn’s cells had stone ceilings, but that stone slab was connected to the side walls by arches of brick masonry. One Sunday night after being locked up, Hurley and the prisoner in the adjoining cell (murderer William Fahey) began to loosen the bricks at the rear corners of their respective cells, adjacent to one another. Each man was able to remove three feet of brick, making a hole that both could reach. They crawled up through the hole into the building’s attic. With a keyhole saw (that someone had smuggled to them, along with picks) they cut a one foot hole in the roof boards, then punched out the overlaying slate shingles. They crawled out and walked across the roof to the northeast corner, then lowered themselves to the wall by means of a rope. Walking over the wall, they reached a section that joined a lower wall, and from there were able to jump to the street. They were not seen once loose in Auburn.

Authorities figured that Hurley would show up at his old haunts sooner or later, and so Inspector Burns sent his detectives out to pump their informers if Hurley showed his face. They were rewarded four months later, in August 1884, and three officers lay in wait for Hurley to make an appearance at a certain saloon. They leapt upon him, pinning both arms, and found two six-chambered revolvers and an ugly jackknife in his pockets.

On the way to police headquarters, Hurley cried with rage, “If you fellows had no been so quick,” he said, “I should have killed you or killed myself. I’ve just had enough of prison life, and I’d a thousand times rather die than go back to Auburn. I don’t blame you fellows for doing this, but I say it’s damned rough on me.”

Byrnes, writing in 1886, was probably confident that Pugsey Hurley would be out of circulation until October 1894, when his twenty-year sentence would expire. However, it was still possible for Hurley’s friends to pull strings in the political realm. Hurley had his sentence commuted by New York’s Secretary of State and was released in May, 1887–about twelve years and eight months into his twenty year sentence.

Hurley was arrested several months later in connection with crimes committed at Bennington, Vermont, at the laying of the cornerstone of the Battle of Bennington Monument. Two pickpockets were arrested, one of whom was William Perry. The second pickpocket was initially identified as John Bishop alias William Peck. The two pickpockets escaped from the Bennington jail, and weeks later, Michael Hurley was identified as the second man, not Peck; Hurley stood trial and was let go.

After being arrested on suspicion in Boston and later released, Hurley wound up in Philadelphia, and found shelter with an uncle. He lived for the next several years under the name Martin E. Hurley. He was arrested for attempting to crack a safe in Duboistown, Pennsylvania, near Williamsport. The local District Attorney suspected that his prisoner was Michael Hurley, but Hurley obtained affidavits from several respectable citizens in Philadelphia, claiming that they knew Hurley had been living there since the middle of 1887, when Michael Hurley was said to be serving out his twenty year sentence. However, the D.A. dug further discovered that Hurley had been freed in May, 1887, well short of the 20 years; and furthermore his prisoner had a tattoo matching one known to adorn Michael Hurley.

Hurley was convicted and sentenced to five years. Whether he survived his term, or where he went if he did serve it out, is unknown.

#64 Michael Kerrigan

John Kerrigan (Abt. 1843-1892), aka Michael Kerrigan, Johnny Dobbs, Henry Hall, John Rodgers, J. C. Rice — River thief, bank robber

Link to Byrnes’s entry on #64 Michael Kerrigan

Best known by his street name, “Johnny Dobbs”, many accounts differ as to the real first name of the man known as “the king of bank robbers”: John or Michael Kerrigan. Upon his death in 1892, his wife tried to clear up matters:


John and Anna were married in the Allen Street Methodist Church in 1870. By that point, he was already using the name adopted from his uncle: Johnny Dobbs. Kerrigan’s background and career was very similar to his friend and frequent partner, Jimmy Hope, except that Hope rose from a Philadelphia gang (the Schuylkill Rangers) and Kerrigan from a Lower East Side gang (Slaughter-house Point gang, later Patsy Conroy’s river thieves).

Because Kerrigan is such a major figure in several of the biggest crimes of the 1870s and 1880s, a more complete chronology than that offered by Chief Byrnes is called for:

  • Arrested and sent to prison in February, 1864 for shooting New York police officer Sweeney in the thigh. Sweeney was trying to break up a gang, led by Dobbs, which was chasing a Chinese man down the street. Dobbs was a member of the Fourth Ward’s Slaughter-house Point Gang, soon to be dissolved, succeeded by Patsy Conroy’s gang of river thieves.
  • In prison, Dobbs said to have come under the tutelage of an old English thief named Petrie.
  • Dobbs identified as one of seven prisoners who escaped Sing Sing in February, 1868.
  • In 1869, Dobbs conspired with a corrupt bank clerk to rob Wall Street bankers Cambreling & Pyne of $140,000 in bonds. Both are arrested, and Dobbs returns his share and gives evidence against the clerk (viewed as the worse risk).
  • Married Anna Gould, February 1870
  • In October 1870, a gang of thieves, including Dobbs, “Worcester Sam” Perris, and Charles Gleason, robbed the First National Bank of Grafton, Massachusetts of between $100,000 and $150,000.
  • Purchases farm in Plainfield, New Jersey


  • John’s brother Matthew, known as “Mattie Dobbs,” allegedly shoots Patrick Vaughan in the aftermath of an inter-gang brawl.
  • In October, 1873, a gang of thieves entered the residence of a wealthy farmer, Abram Post, near Embogcht (Inbocht) Bay on the Hudson River, south of Catskill, New York. Similar raids were made against the homes of J. P. Emmet in New Rochelle, New York; and W. K. Soutter on Staten Island. The gang was said to use George Milliard’s saloon to plan its raids, and included Dobbs, Dan Kelly, Pugsey Hurley, Patsy Conroy, Larry Griffin, Dennis Brady, John Burns, and Shang Campbell. All were arrested except Dobbs and Campbell. They fled south to Key West, Florida. Campbell was eventually captured, but Dobbs eluded detectives.
  • Prior to May 1874, Dobbs made frequent visits to his sister and brother-in-law on a farm near Litchfield, Connecticut. The brother-in-law was John Denning, a former Fourth Ward detective.
  • May 1874: Dobbs is arrested in Hartford, Connecticut, accused of robbing the Collinsville Connecticut savings bank. He gives his name as “J. C. Rice.” Tried and convicted, he is sent to the Connecticut State Prison on a seven-year sentence.
  • A year later, in May, 1875, Dobbs escapes from the Connecticut State Prison. It is suspected that he was assisted by a corrupt guard.
  • From 1875 through 1878, Dobbs teamed up with the crew of bank robbers led by mastermind George L. Leslie. How many of their crimes Dobbs was involved in is not known. One of their major targets was the Manhattan Savings bank. An abortive attempt was made against that bank in 1877, organized by Leslie. It was foiled by an unexpected change in bank locks.


  • In February 1878, the Dexter Savings Bank of Maine was robbed–the heist was marred by the death of the bank’s cashier during the crime. The man’s death was a subject of debate for years: was he locked into the bank’s vault because he had failed to cooperate; or had he been complicit, and then committed suicide in remorse? All evidence for the robbery pointed to Leslie’s gang; but no criminal ever admitted involvement, for fear of facing murder charges.
  • In June 1878, George L. Leslie’s body was found near Tramps Rock, Yonkers, near the Bronx River on the Westchester County/New York City border. Members of his own gang were suspected of the murder–including Johnny Dobbs–but the motive is unclear. Did they fear he would implicate them all, especially concerning the Dexter job? Or was the cause Leslie’s attempt to romance the moll of another gang member?
  • On October 27, 1878, the robbery of the Manhattan Savings Bank–initially planned by Leslie, but now led by Dobb’s friend Jimmy Hope–was pulled off successfully. Johnny Dobbs was said to be one of the robbers. The majority of the huge trove of loot, nearly three million dollars, was in registered bonds.
  • The following May, 1879, Dobbs was arrested while trying to negotiate the return of many of the Manhattan Savings bonds. He was taken to the Tombs, New York’s municipal detention center. After a few months, it was decided to return him to the Connecticut State Prison, to serve out the remainder of his term there (after he had escaped in 1875).
  • In 1881, Dobbs is released from the Connecticut State Prison, having time reduced for good behavior.
  • In March of 1884, Dobbs was captured in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with several other known criminals and a large collection of burglary tools. He plead guilty, believing that the sentence would be light. Instead, he was given a term of ten years in the Massachusetts State Prison.
  • John Kerrigan, alias John Dobbs, is released from Massachusetts in 1892 for health reasons, said the be consumptive. He returns to New York, goes to a saloon, and collapses there with a stroke. He died in Bellevue Hospital in May, 1892.