Another Victim of the horrid gang of Thief-takers
The cases of the wretched men who fell victims to the horrid plots of the thief-takers already mentioned, shew how many arts had been practised in seeking the innocent blood of their fellow-creatures.
The fate of Woodland, however, is deserving of much less pity than that of Kidden; the former consented to join in a burglary, which, though a trap laid for him, it proved that he was a man, ready to join any hardened gang of robbers.
They thus practised upon Woodland. Berry, the head of the gang, hired a single room of one Mr Eveness, on Saffron-hill, ostensibly for James Egan, another of the gang. They put into this room some mean articles of furniture, and thus made the place suited to their purpose. Then Berry, M'Daniel, Egan, and Mary Jones, who had now become associated with them, ordered Blee to procure a victim, who might join some of them in robbing this room.
Blee, ever the drudge of the gang, pitched upon a half-witted fellow, the immediate subject of the present enquiry.
Egan, who had been a shoemaker, took possession of the room, and hammered upon his lapstone; not to mend soles, but to make souls arise from the bodies of his victims. Blee intoxicated Woodland, and then proposed what he called a plan to ensure the road to wealth. The sot, delighted with the offer, readily joined him in breaking into the shoe-maker's room, where he was assured a large booty might be obtained.
Woodland committed the burglary, and was followed by Blee. He seized some bundles of clothes, placed there for the purpose, and was advised by his deceitful companion, to offer them for sale to Mary Jones. The gang rushed into her apartment, seized Woodland, but permitted Blee to escape. They took him before a justice of the peace, swore to the burglary, and consequently he was committed to Newgate.
As he did not appear to be an old offender, no other offence being laid to his charge, the capital part of the indictment, the burglary, was not pressed; and he was found guilty alone of stealing.
This disappointed the gang of their reward, as he was sentenced to transportation only, and was sent to America.