Whether you’ve seen Starsky and Hutch or not you might be interested to know that these two cops are the basis for the show. The two NYC cops, Lou Telano and John Sepe, were known to go undercover in the 1960’s and 70’s in order to watch and catch criminals in the act. They had an entire range of costumes and identities to pick from and were a pair that didn’t mind getting into the act in order to catch criminals on their streets. Sepe and Telano might not have been allowed to operate in such a manner now but back then they filled a niche that was sorely needed since the average cop had become so disillusioned with their job that the crime rate in New York had skyrocketed to almost epidemic levels.
Their most infamous busts came when they were in full costume, such as when they dressed up as Hasidic Jews to bust a group of teens that tried to hold them up. A rabbi was consulted to make the outfits look authentic enough to pass muster, and the teens were honestly shocked out of their minds when they figured out that the men they were trying to hold up were cops.
There was another time when they dressed up as garbage men in order to keep their eyes on a drug dealer, who had no idea that they were in disguise. He realized it after the fact obviously, but Sepe and Telano were so good at their job that they made one bust after another without anyone being the wiser. In fact the only time that it kind of backfired on them was when they were strolling along arm in arm, acting as a gay couple in order to bust a group of thieves that were terrorizing gay men. A woman that Sepe had gone to school with recognized him and outed him very quickly, speaking at the top of her lungs to anyone that would listen just who he was. It’s easy to assume that he wasn’t too happy with that particular assignment.
They even managed to get into women’s clothing that they borrowed from their families in order to stage a setup for criminals that had been holding up nurses outside of a hospital in the 70’s. They had a few qualms about this since they couldn’t go into a store and pick out clothing for women that would fit them. That kind of thing just wasn’t done back then after all. Now it might not draw any unwanted attention but back then they had to make do with what they had and what could be obtained from a more reputable source.
They were two of the best detectives that the NYPD had ever produced and they were daring in a time when criminals weren’t expecting it. Cops today are still seen to perform this same act, but they’re obviously not quite as good as these two were back in the day.
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