Chocolate crimes weren’t just limited to London, England. They happened in North America too. All of the crimes listed here were reported in various newspapers and magazines during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, blackmail and theft. In 1881, a Canadian chocolate maker by the name of John Mott was blackmailed. The request? Chocolate or your life! No, not really. It was, “Hey chocolate man, give us $600 in gold coins or we will kill you.” Mott went to the police with the blackmail letter and the extortionists were trapped in a police scheme to follow through with the blackmail threat and were arrested. Mr. Mott was able to continue making chocolate.
During the Colonial period in America, a lot of chocolate theft was happening. It wasn’t just the finished chocolate bars either. It also involved chocolate making equipment and chocolate serving utensils. You have to remember that these serving utensils, primarily chocolate pots, were made of fine porcelain or sterling silver and were considered an art form themselves. They were worth a lot of money. What was really interesting is that rewards were put out for anyone who turned someone in and they were guilty.
Remember last week we learned about chocolate being branded? Well, it was branded in North America too. Not the smartest thing to steal. Between March and August of 1808, there were two chocolate burglaries reported. In one case, someone stole 24 pounds of chocolate branded by the Baker Chocolate Company on Long Wharf in Boston Harbor. A thief cannot lie about something that is clearly marked not theirs! Two robberies later that year for the same amount of chocolate resulted in a reward of $5.00 and $50. The $50 reward also included coffee and tea in the booty. I’m guessing if you add about the zero after that you can considered the reward in modern day equivalents. I guess it’s like stealing diamonds or gold today.
The most famous chocolate thief was Thomas Mount. He lived in New England and dabbled in every sort of crime. Mount’s life of crime eventually caught up with him and he was executed after admitting to stealing in order to sell what he stole for basic necessities to live. Mount said that he stole chocolate mostly from women. Ah, Mr. Mount! Probably would be the same case today!
Don’t miss the conclusion of chocolate crime next week!