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1682 ca1725, May 24
a London underworld figure notable for operating on both sides of the law, posing as a public-spirited crimefighter entitled the "Thief-Taker General". Wild was exploiting a strong public demand for action during a major London crime wave in the absence of any effective police force. As a powerful gang-leader himself, he became a master manipulator of legal systems, collecting the rewards offered for valuables which he had stolen himself, bribing prison-guards to release his colleagues, and blackmailing any who crossed him. He was responsible for the arrest and execution of Jack Sheppard, a petty thief and burglar who had won the public's affection as a lovable rogue.
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