The Thirty-Nine Wolves are an all-female gang that formed in Sistu, and has been around for at least forty years. Their current name was inspired by the Thirty-Nine Thieves of Lidaidi, the first true organized street gang in Veshiri, although the Wolves have long outlived their namesakes. The Wolves specialize in shoplifting and extortion, though they also dabble in a variety of other crimes. They are particularly noted for avoiding the scrutiny of the police - those few that have been caught have often been let off with little more than a slap on the wrist, and prison sentences rarely exceed three years, and are almost never of hard labor.
MethodsThe shoplifters wear a variety of modified female garments that include hidden pockets. Coats, hats, corsets, cumberbunds, skirts, bloomers, muffs, parasols, and other articles can all serve as a place to squirrel away items both large and small. As the gang hit it big, the higher members began to invest in magically expanded pockets for their top shoplifters - a considerable expense even in the most cosmopolitan of Veshiri cities. Female customers are often left in privacy by the store staff, to preserve their modesty, creating numerous opportunities for enterprising thieves. However, many stores, especially in the hardest hit areas, have started employing a cadre of female staff members and even security guards, requiring an increasing talent in sleight of hand from the Wolves' members. The Wolves primarily target upscale stores, especially those selling jewelry and clothing - items that are often lightweight, easily hidden, and high-value. Stores in poorer neighborhoods are used only as practice by the young ladies and urchins looking to hone their skills before gaining acceptance into the Wolves. While shoplifting remains the Wolves' primary source of income, they also have a variety of sidelines. They demand tribute from smaller gangs in the area. Members have been known to use false reference letters to pose as maids, and then ransack the houses of Sistu's wealthiest. A few have begun seducing marks into torrid affairs - and then blackmailing them with the threat of a reveal. Stores can buy expensive 'protection' guaranteeing no theft for a year (and guaranteeing a practical emptying of the shelves if refused). Successful members can easily steal thousands of crowns worth of merchandise over a year, enough to pay their dues to the Wolves and still support a family in lavish style. The gang has become increasingly territorial in recent years, even as they've expanded operations into more and more cities. Any shoplifters operating without a membership must pay a tithe, and risk beatings and kidnappings if they refuse.
LifestyleWhile the first Wolves kept their earnings a careful secret, recent girls have started openly living more lavish styles, joining the high bohemian newly rich and socialites in throwing extravagant galas, frequenting upscale restaurants and clubs, hosting art shows, and touring the city and countryside in expensive automobiles and airships. One particularly successful Wolf founded her own music night club, the Calico Club. Their leader lives in one of Sistu's most upscale neighborhoods, surrounding herself with the trappings of wealth she never enjoyed as an outlaw on the frontier - richly upholstered furniture, exotic magical appliances, famous paintings. Many of the other girls have started emulating her home as much as they can, at the least in the rooms others will see - the front and back parlors, the later of which is often repurposed as a space for planning raids or simply indulging in certain illegal habits.
- Illicit, Gang
- Alternative Names
- The crinoline crooks, as one lurid tabloid dubbed them
- Thirty-Niner, Wolf
- Diamond Divea
- Notable Members