18th century con woman Barbara Erni, The Golden Boos
One of the most notorious con artists of the 18th century, Barbara Erni was born in Liechtenstein in 1743 and spent most of her life relieving people of their hard earned cash through trickery and downright thievery. She was often known as “The Golden Boos” because of her striking red-blonde hair. One of her most lucrative schemes was to travel around Europe with a large chest. Whenever she would rest at an inn, she requested that the chest be locked up with the inn’s valuables so that it would be safe. Little did the inn keeper know, hidden inside the chest was Erni’s assistant, a very small man. In the middle of the night, the man would come out of hiding and unlock the door from the inside, at which point him and Erni would clean out the room of cash and valuables, then disappear into the night.
Barbara Erni was caught in Eschen in 1784. She confessed to being the Golden Boos and confessed to 17 thefts using her scheme. She sentenced to death and executed by beheading, becoming the last person executed in Liechtenstein. The fate of her assistant is unknown.