Lena Kleinschmidt

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Lena Kleinschmidt
Lena kleinschmidt.jpg
Born 1835
Nationality German-American
Occupation Criminal
Known for New York jewel thief, shoplifter and confidence woman.

"Black" Lena Kleinschmidt (1835 – after 1886) was a German-born New York criminal who, as a prominent jewel thief during the late 19th century, was an associate of fence Fredericka "Marm" Mandelbaum and Adam Worth.[1] Among others in Mandelbaum's "clique", she and con artist Sophie Lyons served as protégés early in their careers of shoplifting and pick pocketing.

She was eventually arrested after being caught with Christene "Kid Glove Rosey" Mayer attempting to steal two pieces of silk containing 108 yards with a value of $250 from the McCreery & Co. store at the corner of 11th Street and Broadway on April 9, 1880. During their arrest, police found in their possession property recently stolen from Le Boutillier Brothers on 14th Street.

Convicted and sentenced to five years at Blackwell's Island on April 30, Kleinschmidt fled while out on a $500 bail. She was soon rearrested and returned to New York, where she was convicted after pleading guilty and sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment along with Mayer on April 30. She was released after her sentence expired on September 30, 1883.

Lena eventually moved to Hackensack, New Jersey, and, while posing as the wealthy widow of a South American mining tycoon, became known as a local hostess giving elaborate dinner parties in the style of Mandelbaum. Although having no visible means of support during this time, twice a week she would visit New York "replenishing her coffers". Her charade ended when a guest allegedly recognized a jeweled (or emerald) ring which she had worn during one of her dinner parties which had been previously stolen.


  1. ^ Geringer, Joseph. "Adam Worth: The World in his Pocket". Cops & Other Characters. CrimeLibrary.com. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Asbury, Herbert. All around the town: The Sequel to the Gangs of New York. New York: Alfred A. Knoff, 1929. ISBN 1-56025-521-8
  • Eldridge, Benjamin P. Our Rival, the Rascal: A Faithful Portrayal of the Conflict Between the Criminals of This Age and The Police. Kessinger Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-4179-5952-5
  • O'Kane, James M. The Crooked Ladder: Gangsters, Ethnicity and the American Dream. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 1994. ISBN 0-7658-0994-X