We’ve grown accustomed to the fact that, for the most part, perpetrators are men. But female criminals are also a common occurrence. Below you will find some cases in point.
A co-founder of a radical organization called Red Army Fraction was the source of fascination and mystique in Germany that was her home country. She started with quite a harmless role of a journalist for a left-wing Konkretbut magazine.
After a while, Ulrike left the country and joined an armed revolutionary struggle against the German government that at that moment was one of the richest democracies in the world. That’s when this woman became one of the female criminals.
In May 1970, Meinhof helped the leader of the Red Army Fraction to escape from custody under the guise of interviewing him.
Later in 1970, this crazy female and the other members of RAF went to Jordan where they studied guerilla tactics, threw grenades and robbed banks.
Ulrike’s foster mother published an open letter, begging her to surrender, but in vain. In June 1972, Meinhof was arrested at her hiding place, and four years later she was found hanged.
Sonya “Golden Hand”
This representative of female criminals was born in the Warsaw district of the Russian Empire in 1846. There were preconditions for her future activity already in her childhood. Her father wasn’t a good role model. He was a tradesman, and his partners were mostly represented by forgers, smugglers and thieves. No wonder Sonya started to search for the easiest ways of getting rich from an early age.
In her youth, the girl hustled her gullible boyfriends, and then they were replaced by her lawful husbands. It was after her breakup with her first husband that she started her career as a perpetrator.
Sonya’s first spouse was a grocer. She took all the money from the cash register of her husband’s shop and her newborn daughter with her, ran out on him and changed her name.
She initially specialized in ripping off train passengers. Sonya came across as a well-brought-up and smart woman. That’s why she was able to charm her fellow travelers. And then she just drugged their drinks and took her trip companions to the cleaners when they fell asleep.
Nevertheless, primitive ways of thieving were not her cup of tea. As her expertise developed, her methods of stealing money became increasingly sophisticated. Sonya began to adopt creative approaches for the implementation of her dark deeds. Moreover, she carried out her tasks in a highly responsible manner without letting small stuff mess things up.
She called one of her most famous criminal schemes Guten Morgen. It was that Sonya entered an occupant’s room at a hotel in the small hours when they were having a good night’s sleep. If an occupant didn’t wake up, she just stole everything she could get her hands on. If a victim did wake up, the thief pretended she got the wrong room and was frightened by a strange man lying in her bed.
Sonya was first captured in 1880. Nevertheless, after she swelled the ranks of women criminals, she managed to escape from prison by enchanting her warden. Over the next 20 years, Sonya kept company to women in prison multiple times. In 1902, she died.
There are many gaps in the biography of one of the most successful female criminals of the nineteenth century. It’s rumored that she pulled her first job back in 1870.
A 14-year-old girl came to Woodstock where she opened a bank account by presenting a false document on inheritance from her uncle from Britain. And after that, she went shopping by writing checks, backed by nothing.
The young con artist was detained quickly that time, but she managed to stay out of prison. The criminal was released due to either her young age or made-up diminished responsibility.
The next step of her career plan was the role of a fortune-teller. Cassie moved from town to town, changed her names, husbands and ripped off naive Americans.
In 1891, the criminal changed her image. Using the name of a noble widow, she set up a brothel that she passed off as a boarding house for women. At that time, she met a rich widower who “opened the eyes” of his beloved to what the wild women of her boarding house were doing and “saved” his future bride from shame.
In 1897, during a visit to New York, Miss Chadwick asked her husband’s friend (who, according to some reports, was a bank officer) to accompany her during her visit to an acquaintance of hers.
Cassie brought the bewildered man to a steel magnate’s Andrew Carnegie mansion and pretended that she walked into the house.
In a few minutes, she came back to her companion, holding a promissory note for 2 million dollars signed by Carnegie himself.
Cassie confessed that she was an illegitimate daughter of the businessman.
The scheme worked. Word spread that the heiress of Carnegie’s fortune lived in New York, so banks began to make huge loans to her – they didn’t doubt her payment capacity.
Thus, the concept of prohibitions was alien to this woman. Cassie lived in luxury during the following 8 years, until one of her creditors uncovered the fraud.
In 1905, she was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, and was supposed to join inmates who had committed women crime. Chadwick died 2 years later in her cell.
Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Remy
This countess who ranked among the crazing female criminals of her time became famous due to the notorious case of the Queen’s necklace that played a dirty trick on the French monarchy.
After the death of Louis XV, French jewelers Boehmer and Bassange retained a diamond necklace made for the King’s favorite – Madame du Barry.
It was valued at 2 million livres – the exorbitant sum of money for those times.
But soon a woman named Jeanne de Valois came to the jewelers and introduced herself as the Queen’s close friend. She said that Marie Antoinette had changed her mind and wanted to buy the necklace unbeknownst to her husband.
She paid half by cash and the other half by promissory notes signed by the Queen.
Nevertheless, when the first payment was due to be returned, the jewelers found out that the signature had been forged. It turns out that Marie Antoinette knew nothing about such a strange woman as Jeanne and the purchase of the necklace, and she definitely wasn’t her friend.
When the scam was uncovered, the King was furious. Jeanne got flogged and put in jail for prostitutes. But she broke out of prison and went to Britain where she even published a book about the life and morals of Versailles.
Doris Payne (one of the most selfless female criminals)
The most famous diamond thief of the twentieth century and one of the most notorious black female criminals was born in a poor mining town in West Virginia. After leaving school, she got a job as a nurse’s aide at a nursing home. In the late 40s a black girl could hardly hope for a better job.
When Doris was young, she started to commit petty thefts.
And after the abolition of racial segregation in the late 1960s, Miss Payne put thefts on a stream.
It’s worth mentioning that she doesn’t fall within the category of cruel women, because she has never threatened anyone, never carried a gun. By pretending she was a wealthy lady, Doris showed up at jewelry stores, messed with sales clerks’ heads, telling lies and came out of there with diamonds in her pocket.
But soon Payne’s ambitions encouraged her to test the solidity of European jewelers. It was much easier to thieve in the Old World, since Europeans tolerated her skin color better than her compatriots.
Finally, in 1984, the American police managed to identify the thief. Policemen headed to her place and, upon entering the house, they couldn’t believe their eyes – the woman who had stolen jewelry worth hundreds of thousands of dollars lived on the breadline.
A portion of that money was spent on treating her mother’s cancer and rehabilitating her son who was addicted to drugs. The rest of the money Doris donated to a cancer hospital and local church.
She regularly got prosecuted, but walked away with short-term sentences. Payne’s attorneys always reminded the court that Doris had had a difficult childhood, and she didn’t belong to greedy women, since she gave the money to charity.
Nevertheless, in 2015 this representative of female criminals was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment at the age of 84.