"Any time you need me, I’ll be here. It takes me only 10 minutes by cape."

Chicago police officer Arthur Novit, who died July 8, 2012 at age 89, nabbed would-be robbers while working as a decoy in the subway, according to a news obituary written by Maureen O'Donnell for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Novit disguised himself as a vagrant or country bumpkin to attract robbers, and even donned a Superman costume to arrest those who tried to victimize other police decoys. This earned him the nickname: "Superman of the Subway."

When the would-be thieves pounced, wrote O'Donnell, "Novit burst out in full superhero regalia, knocking the closet’s steel door to the ground as if it were made of cardboard. (He and other officers had loosened the hinges so they could slip in and out.)"

A fellow policeman thanked “Superman” for helping the officers. Novit replied, "Any time you need me, I’ll be here. It takes me only 10 minutes by cape."

Later when asked in court who brought them in, one of the robbers said, "Superman arrested me," reported O'Donnell. "The judge sent him to see a court psychiatrist."

Novit received many commendations from the Chicago Police Department. "He was a natural police officer who had a sixth sense about the street," said his former partner.

"His best disguise was Superman. . . .I trusted him more than I trusted anyone else I worked with. He would never back down to anyone and always had everybody's back."


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.