Thief catcher

Maker: unknown
Date: 1650-1750
Object number: 064
Materials: cast iron, wood, iron
Dimensions: 68 cm by 229 cm
Currently on display in the Stockzolder

Wooden pole mounted with a two-pronged collar, for use as a clamp. The pole is painted black.

Standing at a safe distance, and holding the long pole, the civic guard clamped the collar around the villain's neck. Smaller versions were also used to capture villains by the arm. It was pointless for the captive to try to escape - the hooks on the instrument would cause nasty injuries. The thief catcher enabled the police to 'collar' villains in a literal as well as a figurative sense.