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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not Everyone was Wild About Harry

With his neat clothes, spectacles and mild disposition Harry Veasey appeared more like an accountant than a gangster and killer but as the saying goes, looks can be deceiving, and in the case of Veasey they were. Known to police and hoodlums alike as “The giant killer” (who he slew to get that moniker is unknown) Veasey had been arrested four times for murder as well as having arrests for felonious assault and grand larceny. The latter was the only offense he was found guilty of and for that he received a suspended sentence.
Though he lived in Woodside, Queens he was active in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn where as a member of the Jacob’s gang he worked at bootlegging, bookmaking, car and jewelry thefts and labor racketeering. Attesting to his stature in the Brooklyn underworld, when Frankie Uale was killed in 1928, the New York Herald stated that Veasey was now the biggest gangster in that Borough.
Looking like an accountant didn’t save Veasey from a gangster death however. On January 9, he got into his sedan and left Greenpoint. The following morning, seventy-eight years ago today, two Hoboken, New Jersey police officers were walking their beat and came upon his car. They peered inside and there dead in the back seat was the mild mannered gangster with his head resting on his overcoat.
Police could tell by the condition of his body and clothes that “the Giant Killer” had fought hard before being killed. His face and head were battered and bloody from some implement before a bullet was fired into his shoulder and two more were deposited into his head. Since he wasn’t wearing his coat at the time it appears that he was killed inside then carried out to his car, which was then driven to Hoboken and dumped. The best motive the police could come up with for the murder was that Veasey was encroaching on Hoboken territory with his beer and the local gangsters dealt with him appropriately. Another thought was that he was put out of the way by rival New York gangsters who killed him in New York and dumped him in Jersey. Ten days prior to his murder Veasey was arrested in Brooklyn for interfering with labor elections so perhaps it was a Brooklyn gang involved in the same affair that wanted him out of the way.

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