opportunity makes a thief

c 1220 Hali Meidenhad (EETS) 23 Man seith that eise maketh theof.

1387 J. TREVISA tr. Higden’s Polychronicon (1879) VII. 379 At the laste the bischop seide to hym, ‘Me thenke that opportunitie makethe a thefe’.

1623 W. CAMDEN Remains concerning Britain (ed. 3) 275 Opportunity makes the thief.

1670 J. RAY English Proverbs 129 Opportunity makes the thief... Therefore, masters..ought to secure their moneys and goods under lock and key, that they do not give..a temptation to steal.

1835 SOUTHEY Doctor III. cv. Opportunity, which makes thieves, makes lovers also.

1979 Daedalus Summer 107 A child steals from the sleeping woman’s pocket, acting out the proverb ‘Opportunity makes a thief.’

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