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The Queen of Thieves’

New York’s First Female Crime Boss

During the Gilded Age, New York City’s first crime ring came into power under a leader who taught the city’s best criminals, bribed those in power, and made a fortune. Meet ‘Marm’ Mandelbaum.

She had the eyes of a sparrow, the neck of a bear and enough business acumen to build an empire as the “Queen of Fences.”

The press called her a “Queen Among Thieves” and the person who “first put crime in America on a syndicated basis.” In 1884, The New York Times named her “the nucleus and centre of the whole organization of crime in New York City.” During the Gilded Age, Fredericka Mandelbaum, a German-Jewish immigrant, rose to power as the country’s premier fence—seller of stolen goods. Described as “a huge woman weighing more than two hundred and fifty pounds” with “extraordinarily fat cheeks,” Mandelbaum was the head of one of the first organized crime rings and a driving force behind New York City’s underworld for more than twenty-five years.

Mandelbaum was better known as Marm, and a mother is exactly what she was. She set up shop in New York City sometime around 1864, and for 20 years she built up a reputable gang of thieves, pickpockets, and bandits—who all trusted her to pay them fairly for what they stole. It’s estimated that she and her gang handled merchandise that would today be worth somewhere around around a quarter of a billion dollars when adjusted for inflation. Part of Mandelbaum’s success was due to the way she treated her network of thieves. She stood by her own, and always kept a law firm on retainer for any of her gang who got caught. She was famous for handing out bribes to police and judges, encouraging them to look the other way. Unlike most of the other street gangs, a large number of Mandelbaum’s crew were women.

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This is one reason why many have lost all respect for the Herald

Here we have a story where two ratbag teenagers stole a car, were chased by police and crashed into an oncoming vehicle, which resulted in them being given a Darwin award.

However, to read it you would wonder if the thieves were innocent victims in the oncoming car such was the crim-hugging nature of the article’s first part.

Tributes are flowing on social media for a teenage girl who died today when a stolen car crashed into another vehicle following an early-morning police pursuit.

The 16-year-old, who died at the scene in Mangere, South Auckland, has yet to be publicly identified.

“Deepest condolences to the … family,” said one friend. “Still can’t believe you are gone. Such a humble soul?Why did it have to be you in the car?”

The victim’s cousin shared her sadness at the loss of a “beautiful soul, gone too young?”

The 15-year-old female driver of the car was taken to Middlemore Hospital, but was later transferred to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition.   Read more »


Beast of Napier in the making

Looks like we have a real scumbag before the courts in Napier right now.

A Napier teenager faces 40 charges after more than two years of alleged torture of a young woman, including claims of rape, detaining her in a room with an aggressive dog and burning her with a hot wire brand and cigarettes.

The 19-year-old appeared before a JP in Hastings District Court on Saturday, when there was no application for bail and he was remanded in custody without pleas until his next appearance early next month.

Offences are alleged to have happened between April 2013 and September last year.   Read more »


Extension wanted for Clean Slate Act


There are calls for an extension to current Clean Slate legislation:

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders have had convictions concealed under the Clean Slate Act and experts want the legislation extended to more offenders.

Ministry of Justice data showed 220,598 people had been eligible to have convictions concealed since the act was introduced in 2004.

The Clean Slate Act was designed to allow people with less serious convictions to put their pasts behind them if they had been conviction-free for at least seven years, had not been sentenced to imprisonment and met other criteria.

The Clean Slate Act applies to employment and any other situations where an individual is asked about their criminal record.

Steve Treloar, manager of the Prisoners’ Aid and Rehabilitation Society in Whanganui, said the Clean Slate legislation had worked extremely well.

He said he would like the initiative extended to people with more serious convictions. He suggested those sentenced to less than two years in prison have convictions concealed after 10 years.

He said a lot had offended when they were young.   Read more »


Learning to swim is good, The mumbo jumbo – Not so much

Maori kids, gang kids even, are being taught how to swim.

In Maori culture, water is an energy called Tangaroa. It can be calm and life-giving, or dangerous and life-taking.

A man who lost his son to suicide says connecting with Tangaroa is a good way to teach water safety.

“The aim for this camp is to build resilient young people, connected young people, confident young people, thrown in with a bit of leadership.”

Zack Makoare formed Te Taitimu Trust after in a bid to help young people and boost water safety skills. At this year’s camp they’re rafting down the Mohaka River, inland and north of Napier.

Fifteen-15-year-old Isabella Ngahuia-Love has been with the trust for eight years.

“I think it’s important to learn about water safety because as Maori we’ve got a larger death toll because the water’s a part of our culture, so you have to learn how to be safe in it,” she says.

Royal Timu’s father, Rex Timu, is president of the Hastings Mongrel Mob chapter. He says understanding the water can help in more ways than one. Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Carl Panzram

Carl Panzram

Diary of a Monster

Warning, Some Parts of this Story are Disturbing.

When Carl Panzram was born in 1891, people still had comparatively primitive ideas of what separated a bad person from a good person. People were born either bad or good, and no matter what, they would stay that way. Panzram, on the other hand, seemed to have been a challenge to that idea. Though he committed his first crime, a theft, at age 12, it cannot be denied that the insane brutality he suffered throughout his early life had something to do with the rage that eventually filled him and the crimes he committed thereafter.

“In my lifetime I have broken every law that was ever made by both man and God. If either had made any more, I should very cheerfully have broken them also.”

Panzram is one of the strangest, most horrific and most compelling serial killers in history. He burned churches and escaped more prisons than most people knew existed. He was driven by an incredible hate for humanity, which included himself. He was arrested on burglary charges and dropped a dime on himself, satisfied to be getting the death penalty.

In his final years he wrote a memoir, one that is shockingly articulate, intriguing and – most of all – completely self-aware.

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More government action needed on outlaw gangs


THE GOVERNMENT is facing renewed calls to take on outlaw gangs as a first step in making a dent in the burgeoning billion-dollar methamphetamine trade.

National’s multi-agency approach involving intelligence gathering, enhanced law enforcement, prevention and intervention has done little to stem the tide of methamphetamine in New Zealand’s largest city.

According to criminologist Greg Newbold, much of that trade is controlled by the gangs, which have organised networks in place for production and distribution of the drug.

And the Sensible Sentencing Trust says that won’t change until the Government steps in and smashes the gangs.

It is calling for gangs and all gang paraphernalia to be outlawed – a move, it claims, that is long overdue.

Spokesman Scott Guthrie says gang members are nothing more than “murdering rapists” who indulge in the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs to children and the wider community.

They did so using extortion and “everyday run-of-the-mill crime and thuggery”.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

The Diamond Center's vault after the robbery.

The Diamond Center’s vault after the robbery.

The Antwerp Diamond Centre Robbery

The Antwerp Diamond Heist, dubbed the “heist of the century,” was the largest diamond heist in history. The thieves stole loose diamonds, gold, and other jewellery valued at more than $100 million. The heist took place in the Antwerp Diamond Centre, located in the centre of the gem district in Antwerp, Belgium.

On February 18th, a group of thieves drove out of a Brussels airport with millions of dollars worth of diamonds and gems. The investigation is ongoing, but this isn’t the first time that the federal authorities in Belgium have had to track down a team of highly sophisticated jewel thieves.

During the weekend in February,  2003, a team of professional thieves carried off what was one of the largest diamond heist of all time. The vault beneath the Antwerp Diamond Centre was left open, diamonds and other items of worth scattered along the floor, as it was discovered when the Centre opened for business on Monday morning.

What made this heist so improbable, and so fascinating, was the layers of security measures the thieves had to overcome. For starters, the vaults were two stories beneath the ground, limiting the ways in and out of the area. The Diamond Centre had its own team of security personnel monitoring the area. As they moved closer to the vault, they had to find a way past a lock with more than a million possible combinations, infrared heat detectors, doppler radar, seismic sensors, and a magnetic field wired to sound an alarm if it was disturbed. The vaults should have been impenetrable, so how did the team of thieves walk away with $100 million worth of diamond, cash, and loose gems?

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Another Labour voter coming home soon, Kelvin will be off to give him cuddles

Labour’s election strategy seems to be to find the missing million, one criminal at a time.

Kelvin Davis has taken crim-hugging to extremes, travelling to Christmas Island and other Aussie detention centres to give them the support of the Labour Party.

Another soon-to-be ex-expat Kiwi will no doubt be counted on by the Labour Party for support:

A former Waikato man who took a teenager’s Chiefs rugby jersey at knifepoint because he believed he had no right to be wearing it has been jailed in Australia for three years.

Adam Paul was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria in December 2015 after pleading guilty to robbing 17-year-old Jackson Jensen in Melbourne in March.

The judge found that Jensen had been at the gym and was wearing a Chiefs jersey when he walked to catch a bus.

Paul stopped him and asked him where he was from.

“Upon learning that he was from Christchurch, you criticised him for wearing the rugby jersey and told him you had a right to it as you were from Waikato,” the judge said in her sentencing.

“You swore at him and said you wanted to fight him.”

Jensen boarded a bus, and Paul followed, telling him to take the jersey off or he would “bash” him.   Read more »

Scumbag rapist loses compo bid in Court of Appeal

A CONVICTED rapist has failed to overturn a court ruling denying him $1.7 million compensation for being locked up for four days without running water or proper toilet facilities.

A Court of Appeal decision released this week finally brings to an end a protracted legal battle between the Corrections Department and inmate Paki Toia that has cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and court time.

Toia is one of New Zealand’s most difficult inmates.

In 2013 he filed a lawsuit against Corrections for $1.7 million over the conditions he was subjected over a two-year period while he was in the maximum-security wing at Paremoremo Prison.

Toia is currently serving a sentence of preventative detention for kidnapping, threatening to kill and the brutal rape of a teenage girl back in 2004.

Last year the High Court upheld some aspects of Toia’s complaint but refused to pay compensation, saying the breaches only warranted a declaration of wrongdoing.

The allegations related to the conditions Toia was subjected to during his time in the At Risk Unit at Paremoremo. He was moved there after repeatedly ignoring instructions not to cover his B-block cell-front with a blanket.

While in the At Risk Unit, Toia was housed in the ‘Round Room’ because none of the regular cells were available. He had a cardboard pan for a toilet and was not allowed the use of cutlery for his meals, which were served through feeding slots in the door.   Read more »