London's Great Tooth Heist

By M@ Last edited 12 months ago
London's Great Tooth Heist

London has witnessed many famous heists over the years. Most thieves target money or jewels. But in December 1827, robbers made off with hundreds of teeth.

11 December 1827, the Annual Register

"The shop of Mr Canton, the dentist, of May's Buildings, St Martin's Lane, was a few nights ago entered by means of skeleton keys... The thieves opened the case, and took away all the teeth and palate they could find, and amongst the former a splendid double row which was just finished for a lady of distinction who was to have had them home the following Saturday preparatory to a grand dinner at the house of one of the foreign ambassadors..."

May's Buildings, in 1870. The location is just north of where the Coliseum now stands.

Although the gnashers might have been sold on the black market, the robbers were primarily after the gold used to mount the teeth. Our corrupt tooth fairy had a guilty conscience and soon returned the less lucrative part of his haul...

"The robbery had not been long discovered when to Mr Canton's great surprise, a man called at his shop, and handed to him a large paper parcel and a letter of which the following is a copy."

Sir, You will receive those here grinders what you lost, as they may be of great service to you, and my grinders is good enough for all the wittels I gets. And to sell them for a trifle would be a pity, although I want a trifle bad enough and no mistake. Please excuse my taking the gould of. From Yours, dear Sir. Sm. Plug.

Whoever brings you the grinders home, act like a gentleman to him as he is a stranger to the party.

The barer was given a sovereign for the trouble of delivering the parcel, which contained the teeth but not the gold.

We're not sure if the perpetrator was ever captured. One wonders if, on trial, he'd have sworn to tell the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.

Last Updated 10 January 2018