During the first half of the 20th century, policewomen in America often worked undercover, on so-called “women’s beats.” “They are called upon regularly to trail or trap mashers, shoplifters, pickpockets and fortune-tellers; to impersonate drug addicts and hardened convicts, to expose criminal medical practice, find lost persons, guide girls in trouble, break up fake matrimonial bureaus and perform special detective duty,” wrote the New York Times.
For most of her career, Mary would be assigned to the NYPD pickpocket squad. By the time of her retirement in 1957, she would be a first grade detective, with over 1,000 arrests under her belt.
Sometimes, the policewoman would take her niece to work with her: “I would be a decoy for her. She didn’t look like a detective looking for a pickpocket, she was a mother out with her daughter.”
Why isn’t this a TV show that’s in my eyeballs RIGHT NOW?
Meet ‘Deadshot Mary,’ a 1930s Undercover Cop Superstar
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