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Handbag thieves

Join this Vicfix campaign to arrest errors in historic articles on handbag thieves

Vicfix is improving the searchability of digitised newspaper articles and making the hidden details of Victoria's rich history available for everyone.

About handbag thieves

Handbag thieves struck across suburban Melbourne in the early years of the 20th century, then again between the wars. On dark streets from Coburg to Kew and in crowded city department stores, unescorted women were prey to opportunistic handbag snatchers. Thefts in city stores were so prevalent in 1940 that police issued a warning to shoppers. 

Historic newspaper articles detailed the thieves' modus operandi, invariably including a getaway vehicle; described the contents of the stolen bags – often paltry, but occasionally yielding a diamond ring, an antique brooch or a winning race ticket; and reported on police plans to form a 'flying squad of motor and cycle patrols' to run handbag thieves to ground.

Contribute to this Vicfix campaign – it's easy!

  • Choose an article listed below and click through to correct it on Trove (see our How-to guide).
  • Add our tag 'vicfix-done' once the whole article is fixed.
  • Share what you've fixed with friends and family.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our enewsletter for Vicfix and other Library news.

Correct articles from one of our other Vicfix correction campaigns.

Isabella McWilliams, criminally assaulted by David Gorey, print by Richard Egan Lee, 28 April 1877

Handbag thieves

This Vicfix campaign is temporarily unavailable. We apologise for any incovenience - please return later to fix or browse this correction campaign.