Rogue’s Gallery: Sophie Levy, alias Lyons
Pickpocket and Blackmailer
Thirty-six years old in 1886. Born in the United States. Married. Medium build. Height 5 feet 2 inches. Weight 115 pounds. Brown hair, gray eyes, light complexion. Has four children, two boys (thieves) and two girls, who were brought up in a convent in Canada, and are an exception to the rest of the family.
Sophie Lyons, or Levy, is a notorious shoplifter, pickpocket and blackmailer. She has appeared before the public of late years as an adventuress, and has blackmailed scores of business men throughout the country. She is the wife of Edward Lyons, better known as Ned Lyons, the bank burglar and is well know all over the United States.
Sophie was arrested in New York City, and sentenced to five years in Stste prison on October 9, 1971, for grand larceny. She escaped from Sing Sing prison, with the assistance of her husband and others on December 19, 1872.
She went to Boston where she made her debut as a blackmailer, accompanied by Kate Leary, alias “Red Kate”, wife of the notorious Red Leary. She went to one of the principle hotels, where she attracted the notice of a wealthy merchant, and lured him to her room.
She secured his clothing and threatened him with exposure if he did not comply with her demands. He surrendered, filled out a check for $10,000, which was handed to her confederate, Kate, who went straight away to the bank.
It happened that his account fell short of the amount required, and Kate being questioned, grew alarmed and made known the whereabouts of the merchant, when the policeman being sent to the hotel, the plot was exposed.
Sophie and Kate were arrested, but their intended victim refused to appear against them, so they were discharged. His money was saved, but his character was ruined, and the result was the breaking up of a happy home.
She continued blackmailing people until February 6, 1883, when she was convicted in Ann Harbor, Mich. and sentenced to three years in the Detroit House of Correction for larceny, in connection with one of her schemes.
From Professional Criminals of America by Thomas Byrnes (Public Domain)