1900: Stole For His Nerves

New York, Aug. 14.–In Recorder Stanton’s Court, in Hoboken, Peter Simmering, of Middletown, Conn., was charged with stealing articles worth $39 from his boarding house and pawning them. When questioned he admitted the theft, but said:

“I did not mean to steal, but my nervous disposition is such that I cannot help it. I have been an inmate of an insane asylum and since I have been released I cannot help taking things. I don’t mean to do wrong, but I have an inclination to take things, and unless I do I become nervous. I find that although I am haunted with fear that I shall do wrong, my nerves are better after I have stolen. I cannot explain it at all. It’s my nerves.”

From the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona), Wednesday, August 15, 1900.
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