Barbary Coast Pirates
In the 1860s, before the seawall was built, the northern coast of San Francisco's was a jumble of docks, piers, and ships, all jammed together. This tangle of unmapped wharves was home to 'Liverpool' Wilcox and his pirate gang of 24 thieves. Under cover of dark, Liverpool and his gang would silently pole under the the wharfs in their flat-bottomed punts, climb aboard ships and steal anything they could carry over the side. Liverpool's gang made their headquarters on two old barges that supported the abandoned Navy transport Aquila. A wharf had been built over the barges, completely hiding the pirate's lair.

Records show an average of one murder and a dozen robberies and assaults a night in the maze-like dock area. The criminals would simply vanish through a secret set of trap doors and rat holes on the wharf. Despite three nearby harbor police stations, officers rarely arrested anyone in the acres of piers and piles as they lacked the boats to chase the pirates.

Eventually the honest workboat owners joined forces and, after spotting some criminals absconding in their boats, chased the pirates into the Pacific Mail Docks near Mission Rock. Rather than enter the area, the police surrounded the area for three days until the starved gang gave themselves up and were arrested. In 1870 another large pirate camp was discovered and raided and by 1890 the last of the pirates had left the wharf area.
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