The Tramp and the Railroads

Another serious loss to the railroads is that involved in the disappearance of goods undergoing transportation, and in claims for personal injuries. Some tramps steal, and some do not, but every year considerable thefts are made from freight-cars, and tramps, or men posing as such, are generally the guilty parties. Professional thieves frequently become tramps for a time, both to minimize their guilt and to elude capture, and the probability is that the majority of the greater thefts are committed by them. Tramps proper are discouraged thieves, and I have seldom known them to steal anything more valuable than fruit from freight-cars and metal from idle engines. In a year's time, however, including all the thefts committed by both tramps and professional thieves, a very appreciable loss results to the railroads, and I can recall out of my observation robberies which have amounted to several thousand dollars.

Josiah Flynt
Tramping With Tramps, p. 307