On May 9, 1671, Col. Thomas Blood stole the British Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Blood had posed as a preacher in order to win the confidence of Talbot Edwards, the 77-year-old keeper of the Crown Jewels. On the morning of the heist, Blood showed up at the Tower with three friends and somehow talked Talbot into letting them see the Crown Jewels. Once he did, they bound and gagged the old man, and stuck an iron hook in his nose for good measure. As he kept struggling, they conked him on the head with a mallet and stabbed him in the stomach.
Blood used the mallet to flatten out St. Edward’s Crown, and stuck it inside his preacher’s cloak. He and his pals stuck as many jewels in their pockets as they could and fled. Somehow, Talbot got ungagged and cried out. Blood shot one pursuer, and the frightened drawbridge guard let the crooks go out. Blood was chased and caught by a Captain Beckman, after a “robustious struggle.” He and the other thieves, also nabbed, were held prisoners in the Tower. Blood refused to talk to anyone but the king himself, and during an audience granted by that august personage, the silver-tongued Blood wangled not only a royal pardon, but a pension of 500 pounds a year.