A round-up of some the most colorful women ever to steal precious gems
Throughout time, there have been a bejeweled handful of lady swindlers who pulled enough fast ones on jewelry shops to get reputations as notorious thieves. From solo operators who started and ended their careers in their 20s, to women who were pulling fast ones on jewelry stories until their 80s, to still others who joined up with the guys to get the job done, history has seen some tenacious and tricky lady jewel thieves.
The Forty Elephants
A true girl gang, the Forty Elephants ruled London’s West End for about 200 years, beginning in the 1800s. The all female group of robbers, burglars, and shoplifters was comprised mostly of lower class women who would also sometimes commit random violent acts. The Forty Elephants derived their name from the neighborhood they terrorized for so many years, the Elephant and Castle. One of the gang’s leaders, Margaret Hughes (AKA Maggie Hill AKA “Baby-Faced Maggie”) finally got arrested and sent to the clink in 1923, when she was busted carrying a tray of 34 diamond rings out of a jeweler’s shop. In a twist of pretty rotten luck, Maggie ran right into a police officer who arrested her on the spot.