In 1850 Baltimore, a clever thief figured out a way to gain entrance to a home.

It happened one evening in November when “a lad, of rather respectable appearance, rang for entrance” at Mr. Courtney’s home on Saratoga Street in Baltimore and claimed that a “mischievous person had thrown his cap in the second story, the window of the apartment being open, and that he desired to go up stairs and obtain it.”

With no reason to doubt this, he was allowed to enter and given a lamp to go upstairs and retrieve it. Instead, “[t]he young rascal … entered the apartment and stole an excellent gold watch, which was laid upon a table.”

Was this a crime of opportunity or an ingenious way to take advantage of a person’s kindness? We will probably never know.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, November 28, 1850