Overseer of Carpenters, employed at the Lyceum Theatre, transported, October Sessions, 1811, for embezzling Timber, and making False Charges to his Employer
MR ARNOLD, one of the proprietors of the Lyceum Theatre, having been informed that the foreman of the carpenters employed at the theatre was in the habit of purloining wood, canvas, etc., and having the same made into articles of furniture for his own use by several of the men belonging to the theatre, an inquiry took place, when it appeared that the foreman, a man named William Rogers, had long been in the practice of employing men to make him articles of household furniture, and packing-cases to convey scenes to the West Indies for the Barbados Company, out of the stock belonging to the proprietors. It was also discovered that he had made charges, as overseer, of more money paid to carpenters under his orders than they had received or were entitled to. For these frauds he was indicted at the Westminster Sessions in October, 1811, being charged with having defrauded, by means of false pretences, Messrs Thomas Sheridan and William Arnold, the proprietors of the Lyceum Theatre, of the sum of nine shillings, by falsely pretending that in his capacity of overseer of the carpenters he had paid so much money to a man of the name of William Crawford, for night work done at such theatre, whereas he did not pay him such sum of nine shillings.
Mr Gurney stated to the Court and the jury that the defendant had been employed in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and after in the Lyceum -- altogether upwards of twenty years; that on Saturday the 12th inst. he came to the treasurer, Mr Peake, and, as was his custom, tendered him a list of workmen, and the work which they had done during the week, in which list was the name of William Crawford, to which was affixed the sum of one pound, fifteen shillings -- namely, twenty-six shillings for day and nine shillings for night work, as done by him during that week -- and the money was accordingly given to him, that he should pay it over to Crawford. It was, however, soon discovered that Crawford had not done the night work, as charged by the defendant, and, upon investigation, other circumstances occurred which led Mr Peake and the proprietors to entertain the worst opinion of the defendant. He was ultimately apprehended, and this prosecution instituted.
Mr Arnold proved the proprietorship of the theatre to be invested in Mr Thomas Sheridan and himself, and he proved other collateral matter relative to the subject more immediately in question.
Mr Peake proved that the defendant had tendered to him the list of workmen above mentioned, wherein was charged thirty-five shillings for W. Crawford, nine shillings of which was for night work.
W. Crawford was the last called, and he proved that all the defendant had paid him for that week's work was twentysix shillings, and he further proved, to the satisfaction of the Court, that in that week so charged he had not done any night work whatsoever.
Here ended the case in support of the prosecution.
The jury brought in a verdict of guilty.
The defendant was tried upon a second indictment, accusing him with a like fraud in charging for a young man, of the name of Franklin, the sum of forty shillings, whereas he had paid him no more than twenty-five shillings, thereby defrauding the proprietors of fifteen shillings. On this he was also found guilty.
There was a third indictment against him, but Mr Gurney declined proceeding upon it. He then signified that the defendant had been guilty of like practices two years ago; but, in consideration of his family, and his apparent repentance, he was then forgiven. He was sentenced to be transported for seven years.