History's Greatest Crime Sprees
History’s Greatest Crime Sprees

History’s Greatest Crime Sprees

Khalid Elhassan - April 15, 2021

History’s Greatest Crime Sprees
Harold Cole in disguise. Daily Mail

1. This Crime Bird Betrayed the Resistance by Joining the Nazis, then Betrayed the Nazis by Helping the US Army Hunt Them Down

On the run from the French Resistance, Harold Cole turned himself in to the Germans. He gave them 30 pages of Resistance member names and addresses and became an agent of the SS’ Sicherheitdienst, or SD. In the ensuing roundup, over 150 Resistance members were arrested, of whom at least 50 were executed. Cole was present during the interrogation and torture of many of his former colleagues. When the war turned against the Germans and Allied armies neared Paris in 1944, Cole fled in a Gestapo uniform. In June 1945, he turned up in southern Germany, where he claimed to be a British undercover agent and offered his services to the American occupation forces.

History’s Greatest Crime Sprees
Harold Cole mugshots. Daily Mail

Triple crossing, he turned against the Nazis, hunted and flushed them out of hiding, and murdered at least one of them. The British discovered Cole whereabouts and arrested him, but he escaped his military prison and headed to France. There, French police received a tip revealing his whereabouts in a central Paris apartment. On January 8th, 1946, they crept up a staircase to seize him. However, the cops’ heavy tread gave them away, and Cole met them at the doorway, pistol in hand. He was killed in the ensuing shootout after he was hit multiple times and bled to death.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

American Weekend, October 23rd, 1998 – Frontier Serial Killers: The Harpes

Bondeson, Jan – Queen Victoria’s Stalker: The Strange Story of the Boy Jones (2012)

Botting, Douglas – The Pirates (1978)

Cracked – 7 ‘Whaaat’ Crimes You Won’t Believe Are True

Daily Mail, June 30th, 2017 – The Worst Traitor of All: How an East End Jailbird Lied and Cheated His Way Across France, Joined the Nazis and Condemned 150 Resistance Fighters to Death

Duggan Christopher – Fascism and the Mafia (1989)

Gigantino, Anthony, La Salle University Digital Commons, The Histories, Volume 4, Issue 1, Article 3 – Il Duce and the Mafia: Mussolini’s Hatred of the Mafia and the American Alliance With Organized Crime

Guardian, The, December 11th, 2003 – Keely’s Trickster Engine

History Collection – Criminal Schemes You Won’t Believe Actually Happened

Legends of America – The Vicious Harpes: First American Serial Killers

Lock Haven University – The Keely Motor Hoax

Murderpedia – Harpe Brothers

Murderpedia – Sada Abe

Murphy, Brendan – Turncoat: The Strange Case of British Sergeant Harold Cole, the Worst Traitor of the War (1987)

Museum of Hoaxes – Keely Motor Company

Republic of Pirates – Stede Bonnet Biography

Smithsonian Magazine, July 31st, 2007 – The Gentleman Pirate

Smithsonian Magazine, June 30th, 2014 – The Amazing (if True) of the Submarine Mechanic Who Blew Himself Up Then Surfaced as a Secret Agent for Queen Victoria

Timeline – This Teen Stalker Stole Queen Victoria’s Panties and Lived in Buckingham Palace Chimneys For a Year

True West Magazine, October 11th, 2016 – October Was Black Bart’s Favorite

Wikipedia – Harpe Brothers

Wikipedia – Sada Abe