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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ice Man cometh and Findeth a Deadeth Guy

We close out July with a visit to Chicago where on this date in 1928 an ice man making a delivery to a saloon found the body of Benny Zion half buried under some trash in the alley outside the saloon. He'd been shot inside but his assassins deemed it only right to clean up after themselves and drag him out to the garbage bins.

Why would somebody want to kill Benny? Well we don't know for sure but the cops said it might have to do with the fact that Benny was out of custody on bonds adding up to about $100,000 for his part in the killing of Octavius Granady, a guy running for councilman in the 20th ward. Seems that somebody was afraid that Benny might start talking once the investigation heated up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Two out of three ain't bad

Twas on this day in 1929 it was when on Chicago's west side Sgt. Murrin, a cop, was walking to work and came across three guys banging away at each other in Madison Street. As he ran up one of the guys staggered into a car with a woman at the wheel and sped off.  Left at the scene were  bootlegger James "Bozo" Shupe and his partner George Riggins, proprietor of the cigar shop out front of which the shooting took place. Both men had been hit. George collapsed on the riding board of a parked car and Bozo simply collapsed.

The cop took the wounded gangsters to the hospital where a short time later a woman pulled up and dropped off Thomas "Big Six" McNichols, also said to be in the beer business. Big Six said he was standing on a corner when some guy whom he didn't know shot him. When asked about Bozo and George he snarled and said "Don't bother me".

Bozo was the first go followed a few hour later by Big Six. Before the latter gave up the ghost he told his mother that he had two grand in cash and a $3000 ring. She brought this up with the Police who told her that he had nothing of the sort when he got to the hospital.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Elmhurst Beanfield War

Bean farmer Louis Cornell of Elmhurst, Illinois was enjoying a quiet evening at home eighty-four years ago this evening when the solitude that only a bean farm can offer was shattered by gunfire. Louis got on the horn and called the police who came out and, after a search of the area, reported that nothing was amiss. Satisfied that he did his civic duty, Louis settled down for a summer slumber.

The following morning Louis went about his bean farm chores when he came across another Louis. In this case it was Louis Falduto, we don't really know what he looked like because in addition to being shot his features had been turned to mush with a hatchet, or possibly a big knife.

Louis, the live one, called the police again. This time they not only found the dead guy but were also able to determine that he had jumped from a moving a car ( when he was still alive of course), Louis, the dead one, had apparently realized he was going for a one way ride and made a dash for it. The car pulled over and a number of men went after him on foot. Louis, the live one, heard the conclusion of the chase last night before calling the cops.

Although Louis Falduto, the dead Louis, had no rap sheet, police said that he was an alky cooker who ran into trouble with gangsters.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pulpy goodness

Who brings a zombie to a mummy fight?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chicken Ala Spot

Eighty-Six years ago this afternoon three St. Louis gangsters were keeping a rendezvous in what was called a "chicken yard" on the outskirts of the city in Wellston. The trio, James Russo, Mike Longo and Jack Griffin pulled into the yard at 2:00pm and waited. After a moment two cars pulled up and blocked the only way out.

The threesome seemed to realize they were on the spot and jumped from their car with their guns out and began firing at the cars. From inside a nearby chicken coop a Thompson went off. Longo dropped by the car dead. Russo and Griffin ran for cover. Russo caught a fatal dose of lead while heading for a tree and fell.  Griffin caught six bullets but managed to make it to a nearby house.

A witness described the machine gunner to a police artist:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the ice picks bite.

On this day back in 1931 Chicago bootlegger John Bakovatz took a nap. Bootlegging generally means long nights so we can see why John would snooze during the day. Little did John know that his nap would last an eternity.

Since the young kiddies were napping in the same room as pop, Mrs. Bakovatz took the opportunity to go visit the neighbors leaving a quiet house with no one to raise an alarm should somebody like, I don't know, an underworld hitman come by. One wonders what John may have been dreaming about. Perhaps visions of his ex partner Sherlock (yes Sherlock) Gasparino who had recently fled the country because he was afraid that he was going to be put on the spot danced in his head. By the way, as his name would imply, Sherlock was the smarter of the two for there was indeed danger afoot.

As John lay there sawing logs, into his room crept one of those fellows whom Sherlock feared. He approached the sleeping bootlegger and, wanting to do his deed in silence, plunged an ice-pick into John. Nothing wakes a man quicker than an ice pick in his person. Now that John was awake there was no need to be quiet so the killer pulled a gun and sent a bullet into John's throat. John went back to sleep.

The melee didn't wake the kiddies, anyone who has had small children knows that the tykes can sleep through anything. Not until John's brother in-law showed up did anyone know something was amiss.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Job opening

Phillip Plazza was said to be the top gangster of Chicago Heights with a couple of hundred guys on his payroll. He had "scores" of alky cookers working for him and in a raid on one of his "cafes" Prohibition agents uncovered one of the largest stills on record along with 10,000 gallons of hooch and another 1,000 gallons of wine.The wealthy gangster was also currently under indictment for his booze biz.

He also owned two roadhouses where he sold his goods, the Milano cafe and the Derby Inn. A month and half earlier a jeweler and his date were killed in a drive-by as they stepped out of the Derby. Police believed that the bullets were meant for Plazza.

On this date back in 1926 Plazza stepped outside of the Milano, which was only four short blocks from the police station. As he stood outside his cafe a sedan drove by and a number of guns went off. The next day the Chicago Heights help wanted section had an ad seeking a new underworld gang chief. Great pay but no job security.