Mugshot March: Fainting Bertha

Fainting Bertha Liebbeke was a notorious pickpocket living in Nebraska at the turn of the century. Her M.O. was to find a well-dressed man, move toward him as if she were going to walk past him, then faint into his arms. While he assisted her to her feet, she would assist him by relieving him of his pocket watch, tie pin, or any other valuable he happened to have within reach.

Bertha was known to law enforcement in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska and she used at least eight aliases. Her long career began with her first arrest in 1899, at age 20. For a full accounting of Bertha’s life, there’s an excellent article on the website Captured and Exposed.

Fainting Bertha

“Fainting Bertha” Liebbeke, the famous Nebraska pickpocket


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2 thoughts on “Mugshot March: Fainting Bertha

  1. What a sad, sad life Bertha lived. I read the article you posted, too. I guess at that time, they really didn’t know how to help her. She just seemed so pitiful.


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