Crime and Police
High-School Sleuths Run Scientific Detective Agency (Jul, 1939)

I love this question from one of the tests they made up:
“Define the following: Slander, libel, arson, jury, defendant, alias, accomplice, mutiny, oath, malice, search warrant.”

Mutiny? Doesn’t quite fit with the other words, does it? It sounds like some of the other kids decided that they wanted to take over the T.C.D.A and their coup was put down. Now everyone has to take a loyalty pledge to the bossman.

High-School Sleuths Run Scientific Detective Agency


“I WILL always obey my superiors. I will never steal. I will never tell a lie. I will obey all the laws of my country, my state, and my city. I will always respect the Tri-State Detective Agency and protect it.”

Thus runs the “Code of Conduct” of one of the most interesting and unusual organizations on earth, a boys’ detective agency with headquarters in the basement of a West Hartford, Conn., home and branches in various parts of the United States and Canada. Started a few years ago by four schoolboys, led by sixteen-year-old Roy D. Bassette, Jr., the organization now has an amazingly complete scientific crime-detection laboratory, a printing plant, a squad car, and an extensive library of criminological books and magazines. More than eighty-five boy detectives are members of the affiliated agencies.


A new weapon for the protection of motorists and shopkeepers not only subdues the most vicious thug, but also brands him for identification in case he should escape. When he is struck with the club-shaped weapon, an airtight membrane breaks, releasing a chemical similar to tear gas and also a spray of aniline dye that indelibly stains, his face, hands, and clothing, thus identifying him.



To test an autogiro in a motor bandit chase, a driverless car recently was sent speeding across a field near Bryn Athyn, Pa. A windmill plane took off in pursuit, carrying Chief of Police Theodore Hollowell. Using a sub-machine gun, as at left, he peppered the car until a direct hit disabled it. Tracer bullets set the car afire. The end of the chase is shown below, with the autogiro about to land.

X-Rays of Criminals’ Skulls May Replace Fingerprints (May, 1934)

X-Rays of Criminals’ Skulls May Replace Fingerprints

SCIENTISTS have worked out a sure means of identification of people that may some day replace fingerprinting. Scotland Yard and the U. S. Secret Service have shown interest in the method.

Already a number of instances are known where criminals have mutilated their fingertips.

According to Dr. Thomas A. Poole of Washington, the frontal sinuses of each individual, located just above the nose, are different. X-ray plate shows up these individual peculiarities.

Electricity Frisks Mattress (Apr, 1938)

Electricity Frisks Mattress
IF PRISONERS in the Joliet and Stateville, Ill., penitentiaries should hide pistols, knives or saws in their mattresses, this machine will detect them. It is wheeled around the prison, and every mattress is subjected to its scrutiny once a day.

Auto Stealing Now $50,000,000-a-Year RACKET (Jan, 1933)

Auto Stealing Now $50,000,000-a-Year RACKET

By Edwin Teale

A BLUE roadster, traveling at high speed, rounded a curve outside a New Jersey town and apparently vanished into thin air.

Five minutes later, two motorcycle cops, flattened against whizzing machines, raced around the corner, flashed past a lumbering furniture van and headed after the stolen car. Without knowing it, they had already passed it. Snugly housed within the big van, the roadster was already the center of attention of a corps of experts. License plates were being shifted; wire wheels were being substituted for wooden ones; gray, quick-drying paint was being applied to hood and body.

A hundred miles away, across the state line, the van stopped, A light steel runway slid to the ground from the rear of the truck and a gray roadster, with wire wheels and Pennsylvania license plates, rolled to the pavement ready for sale to an unsuspecting buyer. The latest trick of a motor-stealing mob had worked and the police were baffld.

Rare-Stamp Racketeers Thwarted by Black Light (Sep, 1933)

Rare-Stamp Racketeers Thwarted by Black Light

By Edwin Teak

IN THE palm of his hand, not long ago, an eastern dealer held two carmine and blue postage stamps. One was worth 50,000 times its weight in gold. The other was worth no more than a scrap of paper. Yet, even under a high-powered magnifying glass, he could detect no difference. Only rays of black light, coming from a quartz lamp in his laboratory, had disclosed an amazingly delicate operation performed by stamp surgeons of the underworld.

The original was a rare 1918 twenty-four-cent airmail stamp with an inverted center. Less than one hundredth the size of this page, it was worth $3,300. An ordinary stamp of the issue, with center right-side-up, can be purchased for as little as a dollar and a quarter. Rare-stamp racketeers had bought two ordinary stamps and had combined them to produce a fake stamp with an inverted center.

Steel Shield for Policemen is Bullet-Proof (Apr, 1933)

Steel Shield for Policemen is Bullet-Proof

Bullets crashed and ricocheted recently in an exciting test of a new shield for policemen at Chicago, Ill. Mounted on casters, the four-foot shield of specially hardened metal affords protection for one police officer in storming barricades or entering besieged houses in the face of gangster fire. As he pushes the shield forward on its casters, the policeman can look ahead through a slot in the metal and tire through a small loophole beneath it. The shield guards against machine guns.

No Job Too Tough for Minute-Men Cops (May, 1933)

No Job Too Tough for Minute-Men Cops

Emergency Division of Police Trained to Handle Tragedies and Freak Accidents of a Great City

By Thomas M. Johnson

A NEW building was going up. Before it stood a big concrete mixer. To chew up stone, gravel, and sand, its vat-like interior had strong teeth, powerful flanges, and cogwheels. To keep these fed, was the job of one man who stood on a running-board and watched those teeth grind concrete. Suddenly the man slipped. Frantically, vainly clutching for safety, he toppled into the mixer’s jaws. Bruised, half-smothered in liquid concrete, he was shocked by violent pain. His leg had been caught in the cogs. Those crunching teeth were tearing flesh and breaking bones. His screams of pain and terror brought men on the run.

Flying Police Outwit Crooks of the Air (Aug, 1933)

I story about the criminal of using a homing pigeon to get extortion money. The victims were supposed to attach the money to the pigeon and let it fly away. The cops painted it orange and then followed it by plane. Poor little orange pigeon.

Flying Police Outwit Crooks of the Air
HURLED into the pounding surf, a thousand yards from shore, seven members of the crew of the navy blimp, J-3, were righting for their lives. It was the morning after the loss of the U. S. Navy dirigible Akron. This second tragedy had occurred as the blimp returned to Beach Haven, N. J., after an unsuccessful search for survivors. A forty-five-mile an hour gale had caught the lighter-than-air craft, driven it out to sea, and sent it crashing into the water with ripped bag and disabled engine.

Spectators crowded the shore. They knew the men would be smothered by the gale-lashed waters long before a boat could reach them. Suddenly, overhead there was the high whine of an aerial motor. A silver-winged amphibian was scudding under the low, black clouds, heading for the wreck. It swooped, landed like a seagull on the tossing ridges of water, and the two occupants began dragging the floundering men to safety within the craft’s cockpit.