A 'WATCH-SNEAK' AND SONNETEER
A Paris jeweller (M. Saint-Joannes) has just had a peculiar adventure with an organised gang of watch purloiners. M. Saint-Joannes was alone in his shop when a well-dressed person walked in and asked to see some of the stock. The stranger selected a gold watch and chain worth about £18, and told the jeweller that be was a merchant and would send one of his clerks round for the articles. The sham clerk, who gave his name as Greffin, came in about an hour afterwards, and put an apparently well-filled purse, from which bank notes were protruding, on the counter. The jeweller glanced at the purse, and was internally satisfied. Greffin then asked for the watch, and compared its number with that which was on a card previously given to sham master by the jeweller. M. Saint-Joannes duly held the chain while the watch was being inspected, when suddenly Greffin pulled the articles away from him and bolted. Out into the street rushed the jeweller, crying "Stop thief!" with all his might, but he was coolly arrested as the delinquent by two impromptu detectives, who were probably accomplices of the real rogue. These officious and self-elected guardians of the law marched the unfortunate jeweller to a police station, and left him there. Shortly afterwards, however, M. Saint-Joannes had the satisfaction of seeing two bona-fide policemen bring in the veritable purloiner, in whose pocket the watch and chain were found, together with some sonnets of a Schopenhauer character, about the troubles of life, which had been fabricated by the enterprising Greffin. The "watch-sneak" and sonneteer refused to give any particulars respecting his accomplice or accomplices, and has been condemned to three years' imprisonment.
Source: South Wales Echo - 4th January 1889