Story of Adam Worth
This is the history of a thief.
Not an ordinary thief. A thief of extraordinary intelligence. It is said that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle borrowed this thief to create a strong opponent for his famous character Sherlock Holmes or to create a super intelligent villain called Professor Moriarty!
Sir Robert Andersen, the world-famous Scotland Yard official , described the thief as ” The Napoleon of the criminal world “!
A man of history both eventful and tragic. A thief respected by William Pinkerton of the world’s most famous Pinkerton detective agency!. The name of that thief who was known as “The Napoleon of Crime” was Adam Worth.
Adam Worth was born in Germany in 1844. Adam came from a very poor Jewish family. The family immigrated to the United States when the boy was 5 years old. They settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Adam’s father started working there as a tailor.
In 1854, baby Adam ran away from home. First he arrived in the city of Boston. In 1860, he arrived in New York City and worked as a clerk in a department store. The work continued for one month.
On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States. The stage was set for a civil war that seemed to be linked to slavery. On April 12, 1861, war broke out. Then Adam Worth was seventeen years old.
Adam lied and joined the Union Army. Adam was assigned to the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery. Within two months, he was promoted to sergeant in the 34th New York Light Artillery Regiment.
On August 30, 1862, Adam Worth was mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Adat was airlifted to Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. The turning point in Adam Worth’s life was something he learned from that hospital. The interesting thing was “Adam Worth is killed in battle”.
It proved Adam Worth’s lucky streak. Officially murdered, Adam Worth worked under various guises in other areas of the military to collect government benefits, and then he became a regular sinker. Such people were known as bounty jumpers. It was a crime punishable by death. Many others, like Adam Worth, were engaged in this work. Pinkerton detectives start hunting them. Adam dives into New York City, knowing that the detectives’ attention is on him. Later on to Portsmouth.
By the end of the Civil War, Adam had become a successful pickpocket in New York. At that time Adam created his own gang. Adam Worth turned to organized crime and theft.
Adam Worth was caught trying to steal a cash box from an Adam’s Express Company wagon.
Adam Worth was imprisoned in Singh Singh Prison for 3 years. But within weeks, Adam escaped from prison. Adam Worth befriended Frederica Mandelbaum, an underworld empress. With Mandelbaum’s help, Adam started robbing banks and shops.
During 1866, Adam committed several crimes on his own. In 1869, Mandel Bominodu worked with Charlie Bullard, a safe cracker, to build a tunnel and escape from White Plains Jail.
Adam Worth and Charlie started a partnership. The Boston Bank Robbery was one of the most notable events of that association.
This incident was adapted by Arthur Conan Doyle in the Sherlock Holmes story “The Red Headed League”.
Adam and Charlie robbed the Boylston National Bank on November 20, 1869. They did it by building a tunnel from a nearby shop to the bank! The bankers informed the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Knowing that the Pinkerton detectives are behind them, Adam and Charlie dive into Europe. They first came to Liverpool. Charlie became the oil merchant “Charles H. Wells” and Adam the financier “Henry Judson Raymond”! There they met Kitty Flynn, a bar maid. They both thirsted for her! Kitty knew both of their true faces! She became Charlie’s wife. But she didn’t disappoint Adam either! 1870 Kitty gives birth to a baby girl. The child’s name was Lucy Atelaine. After 7 years, Kitty had another child named Catherine Louise. The paternity of those children is still a matter of debate. Adam and Bullard claim their paternity! Even Kitty didn’t know it was her children!
William Pinkerton believed they were children of Adam. When the Bullards and Kitty went on their honeymoon, Adam ransacked the gold pawn shops and kept them each when they got back!
In 1871, the three of them went to Paris. They started a bar and restaurant there called American Bar. It started with a bar and restaurant on the ground floor and a casino on the upper floor. Gambling was illegal at that time. A buzzer system was introduced to notify when a police ride is coming.
Adam formed a new gang with his old colleagues in New York. Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, visited the American Bar in 1873. Recognized Adam Allen.
After several police raids, Adam and the Bullards decided to leave the American Bar. Adam, the Bullards and Kitty end up hooking up with a diamond merchant and moving to London!
Adam Worth and his friends bought Westen Lodge, a beautiful villa on Clapham Common. Along with that, he rented an apartment in Mayfair and made connections with the elite of the society. Later he formed a gang and started engaging in big crimes. Those working with Adam were not supposed to know his real name! Adam was determined not to take the path of aggression towards those working under him! Scott Land Yard knew about Adam’s activities but they couldn’t prove anything against Adam! Inspector John Shore took Adam’s capture as his personal business.
But it didn’t take long for things to change. Adam’s brother went to Paris to cash a forged check and was caught. John was exiled to England. He was taken into the custody of Inspector John Shore. But with the help of good lawyers, Adam John was acquitted and sent to America.
On another occasion, four of Adam’s trusted companions were caught spending fake credit notes in Turkey. They were sentenced to 7 years of hard labour. But Adam bribed Udyogastar and freed them before the Pinkerton Agency captured them and deported them to the United States.
In 1785 the painter Thomas Gainsborough painted a portrait of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.
But it was lost from Chatsworth House. It was found in the house of an old school mistress in 1830. In 1841 she sold it to an art dealer for £56. He passed it on to art collector Win Ellis. In 1876, after Ellis’s death, the painting was sold by world-renowned auctioneer Christie’s in London.
Bond Street art dealer William Agnew bought the painting for 10,000 guineas. It was the highest price ever paid for a painting at auction. After 3 weeks it was sold by the London gallery Thomas Agnew & Sons. Emotionally attracted to the picture, Adam decided to steal it.
Adam acquired that famous painting with the help of Jack Junka Philip and Little Joe Elliott! Adam told them that he would sell the film in a few months. But Adam was not interested in selling that picture. As days passed, Junka became impatient with Philip and Elliott.
It got to the point where Janka once told the story of that salvation to a policeman in a bar. Adam flipped a table onto Janka’s head. Adam did not contact Janka after that. Adam told America to pay Little Joe Elliott. In America, Little Joe Elliott was captured in an attempted robbery at the Union Trust Company. Little Joe opened up to the Pinkerton Agency. Pinkerton informed Scotland Yard about Adat. But the Scott Land Yard did not get enough evidence to trap Adam!
Adam continued his journey in search of new pastures. He had that painting with him. Later, Adam traveled to Africa. After stealing 5 lakh dollars worth of diamonds from him, Adam came back to London and founded Wynert & Company and started a shop selling diamonds at low prices! In 1880 Louis married Margaret Boljean as Henri Raymond. They had a son, Henry, and a daughter, Beatrice. Adam’s wife still did not know Adam’s true face.
Adam smuggled to America as a painting expert! In 1892 Adam moved to Belgium. Bullard was imprisoned there. There Adam began his routine with Max Shinborn! They were caught by the police. Adam learned that Bullard had recently died.
On October 5, 1892, with the help of an American bank robber, Johnny Curtin, and a Dutchman, Alonso Henne, Adam planned to rob a vehicle carrying cash. But Adam was caught. The other two escaped. Adam did not confess his crimes or reveal his name!
Belgian police traced Adam to Europe and the United States. The NYPD and Scott Landyard identified him as Adam Vartan. But the Pinkerton Agency remained silent! But Max Shinbon, who was in jail, revealed everything he knew about Adat! Adam knew nothing of his family in London in prison.
Adam receives a letter from Kitty Flynn offering to finance legal aid.
Adam’s trial began on March 20, 1893. The prosecutor revealed all the facts he knew against Adam. Adam claimed that the accusations by the American and British police were just hearsay and that the source of his money came from gambling! At the end of the trial, Adam Leuven was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
During his early years in prison, Shinbon hired other inmates to attack Adat inside the prison! Poor Adam also learned that Johnny Curtin had taken over his wife’s custody in prison. Adam also learned that Johnny Curtin had seduced her, used her sexually, and then committed her to a psychiatric hospital.
Adam’s children grew up in America under the care of Adam’s brother. In 1897, Adam was released from jail for good behavior. Adam decided to move to America where his children would grow up. Adam stole £4,000 worth of diamonds from a diamond dealer in London to finance it! Adam visited his wife. They shook Adam’s head back or something. Adam was afraid of being prosecuted for his past crimes in America. But he still had a trump card in his hand. It was a picture of the Duchess of Devonshire that had been kept secret for 20 years!
Adam visited his children in America. Later decided to meet William Pinkerton. Adam reveals everything in his life to Pinkerton! (Pinkerton’s manuscript is still preserved today in the archives of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Van Nuys, California!)
Adam offered to return the Duchess of Devonshire, stolen from Thomas Agnew & Sons by Pinkerton, for $25,000. Adam was assured that he would not be prosecuted. Both parties agreed to the terms. Adam lived in London with his children for the rest of his life. Adam died on January 8, 1902.
Adam was buried under the name Henry J. Raymond next to the grave of Karl Marx in High Gate Cemetery, London. Adam Worth’s son Henry later took charge as a detective at the Pinkerton Detective Agency!. Adam Worth still lives in the minds of people in Europe and America as a legend.