During the 1930s in New Zealand, it was not unusual for a newspaper headline to read “Slippery Sam at it again”.
The prolific burglar was often blamed for house break-ins in Auckland and, let's be honest, it is a great name.
But was anyone ever properly identified as the high profile criminal?
Who was Slippery Sam? Was there a group of burglars? One daring man (or woman). Or was it all just a myth?
Police believed all of those at one point or another.
Some of the first headlines from November 1931 saw a burglar active in Dominion Road, Auckland, but police were not sure it was Slippery Sam.
Then in 1932, a store on Karangahape Road was burgled and several pairs of shoes were stolen.
Notes from the burglar, left for police on a desk, read: “Slippery Sam trying a new racket” and “Thanks for the sneakers (canvas shoes) I will be back again.”
After a short period of inactivity, police thought he might be in prison.
Then in 1934 Sam hit several houses in Kingsland getting small amounts of money and making a narrow escape from one house.
Sam is believed to have hit a Grafton Road boarding house and searched three rooms, pocketing a small amount of money while the residents were sleeping. But one resident awoke to find a man standing at the foot of the bed. With an out cry residents chased him off down Moehau Street with three boarders in pyjamas in tow - but he escaped.
At one point Sam burgled six houses in Kingsland in 90 minutes.
Then a series of houses in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, slipping into the houses silently while residents slept, to search for cash.
A man wearing a hat pulled down over his eyes was seen nearby and ran when a woman yelled, making off through the grounds of Sacred Heart College.
At one point in 1934 Sam was even believed to be a she after a milkman saw a woman wandering nearby in the early hours of a morning.
By 1935 Sam was believed to have been a myth - or more than one person.
Any description was vague. The arrest of a man that year was thought to be a breakthrough in the case, but another outbreak of house burglaries occurred while that suspect was in custody.
Several people - believed to be the notorious burglar were caught by the police and imprisoned - only for more burglaries of the same type to happen.
Slippery Sam had a modus operandi. He wore quiet rubber shoes and did not work on Sundays. He often got in to a house then opened a back door to allow him a quick escape and was known to be especially agile.
Then in 1936 a man who newspapers thought might be Slippery Sam ended up in the courts. Victor Royden Curline pleaded guilty to 36 charges of breaking and entering and theft along with possession of an unregistered revolver.
But there was no evidence that Curline was actually Slippery Sam other than the fact he was charged with a lot of burglaries. In a different city. Over a thousand kilometres away.
Curline died in 1970 - and was buried in Dunedin.
And the real identity of Slippery Sam is still unknown