Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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Podcasting Since January 2008

Twins Switch Places

On Sunday, April 1, 1951, officer Carl Hamm pulled over a car at the corner of North Holton and East Vine Streets in Milwaukee, WI. Hamm asked the driver for his license, which identified him as Elmer Urban. The officer knew immediately that he was lying. He was certain the driver was not Elmer Urban, but instead his identical twin Alvin.

How could he be so certain? Someone had tipped off the police and mentioned that the only way to tell the two apart was that Alvin had a dark birthmark on the back of his neck. As soon as the officer spotted the birthmark, he placed Alvin under arrest.

Apparently, the two 24-year-old brothers had been playing this game of deceit with the police for years. Alvin had been arrested for drunk driving in both 1948 and 1949, which is why he didn’t have a driver’s license.

His brother Elmer had served two 60-day sentences concurrently for reckless driving. The state reissued Elmer’s license a few months before this incident occurred and that was the one that Alvin had been driving with when he was arrested.

Identical Twins from Roselle. NJ
Identical Twins from Roselle. NJ. Library of Congress image.
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