Two Great-Grand “Gamblers & Thieves”

Allegedly both of my paternal great-grandfathers were gamblers and thieves!

Lawrence Ambrose Reilly worked in the finance industry as a clerk as a young husband and father.  On 21 November 1925, two articles were published with the following headlines:

Brokers’ Clerk Held

Reilly Accused of $10,000 Theft

The first article is a short two sentence bit that states that Lawrence while working as a clerk at Carden, Green & Co., is accused of taking $10,000 from the firm to play the cotton market.  The second article provides a little bit more information, explaining that he was arraigned in the Tombs Court in New York City on a charge of grand larceny.  He had been arrested by Detective Jesse Upham, after a firm higher-up told the police that Lawrence had stolen the money through forged endorsements that looked like the funds had been given to the firm’s clients. (Full Newspaper Page – column 2 towards the bottom of the page & Full Newspaper Page – column 6 mid-page)



I’ve been unable to locate any additional articles that follow up on these stories about Lawrence.  It worked later in life as an accountant, so it’s hard to imagine that he ended up being convicted of a crime, given he kept working in the financial industry, but without additional information, it’s hard to say how this story actually ended.

In 1928, my great-grandfather, Gerald Thomas, was a postman in Brooklyn, New York.  He was married with two young daughters at home – my grandmother Marion was only two years old at the time.  According to an article in the Brooklyn Standard Union on 8 September 1928, “Postum Under Arrest On Mail Theft Charge”.

Brooklyn NY Standard Union 1928 a - 1033


According to the article, he stole a “test” letter that was sent through the mail as part of an investigation into mail theft.  He also had another letter with $2 in it.  Allegedly, the thefts were a response to losses he suffered while betting on the ponies.  (Full newspaper page – the article is at the bottom of the 2nd column)

In follow-up articles in both the Brooklyn Union and The Daily News, it turns out that Gerald was a part of a ring of postal thieves.  According to the article, there were a total of five thieves arrested, one of whom was a woman.  Gerald was one of three out of the five who pled guilty, and was sentenced to one year in the Federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Full newspaper page – the article is at the bottom of the 4th column & Full Newspaper page – 1st column)

Brooklyn NY Standard Union 1928 a - 1251.jpg


After he was released from prison in Atlanta, Gerald moved the family from Brooklyn to Queens.

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