How was the first bank thief in American history caught?

The band of two thieves had a perfect plan to get the money, but the plan to spend the money was a bit unintelligent.

At the end of the summer of 1798, when the deadly yellow fever swept through Philadelphia, people abandoned the city, but there were still individuals who were forced to stay here. So there are already about 1,300 people who will die a death that will be very quick, but very terrible.

One of the lucky ones to escape Philadelphia was blacksmith Patrick Lyon and his 19-year-old apprentice. Together they left the city on a ship bound for Cape Henlopen. When they reached Lewistown, Delaware (now Lewes), the young apprentice fell ill, and died after two days.

That wasn’t the only bad news Patrick Lyon received. In addition to the news of the raging epidemic, people also heard about the amazing bank robbery in Philadelphia.

How was the first bank thief in American history caught?
The painting “Pat Lyon at the Forge”, the origin of which will be talked about at the end of the article.

Someone stole 2,821 from the Bank of Pennsylvania safe, located in the Carpenter’s Lobby. The theft could only take place on the evening of Saturday, August 31, or the morning of Sunday, September 1, 1798.

Mr. Patrick Lyon is very interested in this case, not because it is the first bank robbery in history, but because before leaving the city because of the epidemic, he received a contract that could make him involved in the robbery. He was the one who changed the locks for two safes at the Bank of Pennsylvania .

The money theft was clearly a helping hand, there was no sign of a break-in. Mr. Lyon knew he was not involved, and immediately became suspicious of carpenter Samuel Robinson – who had been hired by the bank to oversee the move of headquarters into the Carpenter’s Lobby. Before the theft happened, Robinson also led a stranger to Lyon’s blacksmith shop, while Mr. Lyon was working on reinforcing the safe.

How was the first bank thief in American history caught?
Illustration: a 19th century safe door.

Not long after, a friend of Mr. Lyon’s arrived in Lewistown and through this old friend/landlord, Mr. Lyon learned that he was the number one suspect in America’s first bank robbery. Just when two old friends were discussing the robbery, the police had been searching everywhere to find the red-haired blacksmith who was “hiding”.

Patrick Lyon returned to Philadelphia to clarify the case and report the suspicious actions of Samuel Robinson , but before he could do anything, Mr. Lyon was arrested. Authorities did not believe Mr. Lyon’s story, alleging that he had minted an extra set of keys while working on the bank’s door. They imprisoned Patrick Lyon, who had come from far away to try to clear his name.

As Patrick Lyon had predicted, the thief was the stranger who accompanied Robinson to the smithy to meet him. His name is Isaac Davis , a member of the Carpenter Company. He and another accomplice – who died just days after the robbery took place due to the yellow fever epidemic – planned this neat and cheeky bank robbery. Davis’ accomplice was banker Thomas Cunningham, who slept in the Carpenter’s Hall the night of the theft.

How was the first bank thief in American history caught?
Patrick was the one who changed the locks for two safes at the Bank of Pennsylvania.

The two crooks had a perfect heist. But unfortunately the way they handle the huge amount of property they have stolen is too 7 … less intelligent, worthy of being immortalized in the list of ignorant people: Isaac Davis brought the stolen money to the bank itself. goods he had stolen, to avoid suspicion, he divided a part to deposit it in several other banks, all located in the city of Philadelphia.

The authorities suspected this property, just conducted interrogation, and Davis immediately confessed to the crime and pledged to return the full amount. Local authorities promised to acquit Isaac Davis. He did not spend a single day in prison.

But the blacksmith Patrick Lyon was still in prison for the crime of being an accomplice, 3 months in prison made Mr. Lyon thin and full of beard, his friends abandoned him. “I read until I was tired, walked around the cell until my legs were tired,” reads from a book Mr. Lyon wrote when he was released. The book was called “The Story from Patrick Lyon who spent three months in the Philadelphia Jail on a vague suspicion regarding the theft of money from the Bank of Pennsylvania and the events that followed” . the feeling that the title of the book is Patrick Lyon’s prison feeling: long.

How was the first bank thief in American history caught?
Wallnut Street Prison, where Patrick Lyon was held for 3 months.

The process of his release from prison was also not easy, so the book he wrote attracted a lot of attention. The most talented lawyers at that time faced each other in a lawsuit between Patrick Lyon and the authorities.

According to the book “name is too long, please do not repeat” , as soon as he received the news that the bank was stolen, Lyon took a boat and walked a distance of 240 km to report it. Isaac Davis’s act of carefully examining the door was extremely suspicious, Lyon assumed that people would believe him and then investigate the case. But Supreme Governor John Haines quickly charged Patrick Lyon with a ,000 reward.

“I have been in the hands of apparently unintelligent individuals,” Lyon wrote bitterly. The judge jailed Mr. Lyon, setting a bail of 0,000. After Davis confessed, Lyon’s bail was reduced to ,000. He was cleared of all charges by the supreme judge in early January 1799.

How was the first bank thief in American history caught?
Davis confessed, but Patrick was still wrongfully imprisoned for 3 months.

From a book written by Mr. Lyon, a lawsuit was formed, with superstar lawyers for both sides. Plaintiffs’ attorneys focused on how the defendant acted maliciously, attempting to imprison Mr. Lyon. “Instead of freeing Mr. Lyon and apologizing for what he had done, they executed him – not for robbery but in the name of an accomplice,” said attorney Joseph Hopkinson, one of the names. the brightest legal profession in the US at that time.

After a long consideration, the trial panel announced the compensation of $ 12,000 for Mr. Patrick Lyon. The defendant asked the court to reconsider in March 1807, before the trial took place, the two sides negotiated the compensation down to ,000.

It’s still not a small amount. Patrick Lyon lived the rest of his life in abundance. He hired the famous painter John Neagle to paint a portrait of himself, titled “Pat Lyon at the Forge” . The painting is currently hanging at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

At that time, only people with money would hire painters to paint their own portraits, and they would wear the most beautiful and flashy clothes. Patrick Lyon is not like that, he wears a cloth apron, hammer in hand, ready to hit the anvil placed in front of him. A picture says many things.