Thursday, February 28, 2008
Although they claimed he was a racketeer, police refused to say what racket he was involved in. His brother Joseph had been involved in the ice racket prior to being killed, possibly a victim in the Castellemmarese War, on March 19, 1930.*
Police said that fearing for his life, Riggio, who also feared violating his parole, took to using twenty-six year old Alfred Seru as a "gun-toter". It was Seru's job to be near his boss and supply him with a gun should the need arise. On January 31, an adversary of Riggio's dropped into the grocery store and Seru fired on him but unfortunately killed a young woman who was in the store shopping and was then hauled off to jail leaving his boss defenseless.
On this day in 1935, Riggio went to a house down the block from his store supposedly to inspect some art he was thinking about buying. At about 4:00pm he left the premises and as he walked up to his car, two men, both carrying pistols, quickly walked up behind him and fired simultaneously. Hit three times in the right side of the head and once in the neck, Riggio managed to stumble into his car before falling over the steering wheel dead.
One explanation for Riggio's murder is that it was an insurance hit. Perhaps the killers of his brother Joseph feared that he might make an attempt at retribution and so knocked him off just in case.
* For more on the Castellemmarese War read Gangster City
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The tourist thought they were watching the filming of a movie and didn't realize that Marone was actually hurt but a pedestrian who knew better went and fetched a cop. At first Marone's leg wound appeared superficial and he was taken to Bellevue hospital where he was arrested. But at midnight the police received word from the hospital that he had died.
During his interrogation Marone kept his mouth shut and said nothing about his affairs or the men who shot him but police believed he was part of a burglary gang and double crossed the other members with the divvying up of spoils. The police also said that Marone knew he was a marked man and only left his house in the daytime. The killers, they speculated had been staking out his house and that's how they got him.
Friday, February 22, 2008
For the full story on the Wagners check Gangster City
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Greg is based in L.A. and took a few minutes to answer a few questions.
Q: How exactly are you related to Paolo Vacarelli and when did you first become aware that he was actually the infamous Paul Kelly?
A: Uncle Paolo is my great uncle. We always knew that there was a connection but we never really talked about it. Mostly because my dad didn't talk about much of anything.
Q) There is a slight mispelling in your names. Why is that? Any idea if this was done a hundred or so years ago by your family to disassociate yourselves from Uncle Pauley?
A) The misspelling is simply a mistake made at Ellis Island. The correct spelling is 'Vaccariello'. Most of my relatives use that spelling. I don't think there was ever a desire to disassociate from Uncle Paulo at all. I get the impression that back in those days it was kind of an honor to have someone in that line of work in your family. My understanding is that although my family worked hard to make a living, it didn't hurt to drop a name or two in case of anything...if you know what I mean.
Q) When speaking with gangster descendants I find that two or three generations have to go by before anyone is willing to discuss said gangster. Is that the way it was with your family or was he discussed openly? If the latter were any family stories handed down?
A) We never really discussed Uncle Paolo. I don't think there was any reason for that other than the fact that my dad wasn't close to many people in his family. My dad was a cop so maybe that was part of the reason too.
Q) Were there any other Vaccarelli's involved in organized crime or would answering that guarantee us both a free trip to the bottom of the East river?
A) The East River is very very cold this time of year. But seriously, I don't think so. As far as I know it stopped with Uncle Paolo. As a matter of fact, my family has gone legit. At least that's what we're telling everyone. Some of my relatives have become quite successful, having careers in medicine, politics (both NY City and NY State), sports, on Broadway and as entrepreneurs. I think I'm actually the white trash of my family. One of my relatives was a professional boxer and was mentioned in Raging Bull, but as far as I know the name was changed to 'Baccariello' in the movie. I'm not sure why they changed it but I heard a rumor that they were 'asked' to. Another relative was the sanitation commissioner under Mayor Koch and later worked for the governor on NYS.
Q) Do mobophiles ever see your name in the paper and approach you at your shows for some gangster talk?
A) A few times over the years I've had people come up to me after shows and asked if I was related to Uncle Paolo. That's a weird situation. I usually respond with 'And you are?' The last thing I need is for someone to say''And this is for Monk and then blast away, especially after I just had a great show and didn't get a chance to sell my CDs. It's only happened a few times but I really think they were just descendants of business associates of my uncle. Curiosity more than anything. I did have one guy come up to me in Vegas and say, 'If you ever need anything, ANYTHING, call me.' Nice guy.
Q) Speaking of Monk, do you ever have an inexplicable urge to beat up anyone named Eastman?
A) Eastman, no. Downey, yes.
For more info on Greg and to see if he is performing in your town soon check out:
Monday, February 18, 2008
Jason Clarke as John "Red" Hamilton (Dillinger gang)
Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd bankrobber
Saturday, February 16, 2008
In 1921 Respivo was arrested for robbery and sentenced to a term of eight to sixteen years but was released in 1927. He was also arrested in Chicago in 1931 for carrying a gun, an offense that cost him six months in jail and a $100 fine.
Back in New York, where he was wanted for violation of his 1927 parole, Restivo returned to the eastside and at 4 p.m. on this date in 1935 he was crossing the street when two men came up from behind and shot him in the back numerous times. The gunmen then tossed their guns (a .38 and a .45) in the street and ran in opposite directions.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
At the time of his death Kanter had been living in the Bronx and had been keeping away from the old neighborhood but for some reason he began revisiting his old haunts. On the last of these visits he was seen walking through Forsythe Street nervously smoking a cigarette and glancing side to side with his hands in his pockets. He stopped in front of a building that was used as a musicians lodge and listened to the music for a moment before continuing along. When he was in front of 79 Forsythe St. two men approached him and they began to talk. After a moment an argument broke out and Kanter stepped back just as a woman came up and said something to one of the men "Lefty" had been speaking with. That man, who had a gun up his coat sleeve, stepped forward and placed the gun against Kanter's chest and fired. "Lefty" staggered but before he dropped the gunman fired again hitting him in the neck. In the short time it had taken the police to arrive "Lefty" was dead. All the cops knew him on sight and felt that he was murdered in revenge for the death of Hymie Kellerman.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
DeMaria's had been shot three times and his body dumped on a road, where it was spotted by a bus driver. Oddly, earlier that day the car used for the murder was found just a hundred feet away, wrecked, with bloodstains and a pistol missing three shots. Apparently the killers tossed DeMaria's corpse out of the car and then crashed moments later. No one inspecting the car however, found the dead man.
Interestingly DeMaria's body was found amidst a number of newspaper clippings pertaining to the Coll murder. Police were unable to place the dead man in either Coll's or Dutch Schultz's gangs so were unable to say with any certainty whether his death was a result of the murder. Perhaps he was some how involved either as a spotter or as the mystery man who entered the London Chemist drug store with the "Mad Dog" only to walk out moments later when Coll's killer entered. If in fact DeMaria was involved with Coll then there are three motives for his murder.
One, he was a Coll guy who simply liked to carry around news clippings of his boss and was a natural target as all Coll guys were.
Two, if DeMaria was the mystery man then the remaining members of the Coll mob figured out that he was the double crosser who set up their leader and meted out their own justice.
Three, since DeMaria took to carrying around souvenirs of the murder chances are he was talking about it to anyone who would listen as well, perhaps bragging in his neighborhood to show that he was more than the petty racketeer the police considered him. If the killers of Coll did you use him in some capacity they probably decided that his loose tongue was liability and rubbed him out.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
At first it was thought that he was an innocent victim of the Black Hand until a search of his shop turned up a dynamite cartridge of the type used in some recent Black Hand explosions.
The NYPD's famous Mafia fight cop Lt. Petrosino put his entire sixteen man Italian Squad on the case and soon they learned that Randazzo was indeed a member of the Black Hand. He had come over from Palermo three years previously and worked as a plasterer before hooking up with a nefarious band of extortionist. With his profits he was able to open his butcher shop three months before being shot down.
During the investigation the Italian Squad learned through one of Randazzo's friends that the dead man had had a falling out with some of the members of his gang and he [Randazzo] intended to supply the police with information that would have resulted in their arrests but his confederates were faster and took care of him first.
Friday, February 8, 2008
For more info on Vince Coll, Owney Madden and other gangsters of New York check out:
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The police sent officers to all the hospitals in the area to see if anyone else showed up. Within the hour Brooklyn mobster Frankie Uale stumbled into one with a bullet wound to the lung. Uale said he just happened to be walking by the club when the shooting took place and had no idea what it was about. Police later asserted that they believe the Brooklyn Mafioso was the intended target and that Dimesci may have been an innocent bystander.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Noto supposedly turned states evidence and made a deal with the authorities where he would testify against the rest of the gang but the gang made sure that Noto didn’t live to see the trial date. Seventy-seven years ago today twenty-nine year old Noto left the house that he shared with his wife and four children and, with his hands in his pockets, began walking across a vacant lot. While still in the lot a packard sedan containing three men pulled up. Suddenly the neigborhood was reverberating with the sound of two shotguns firing and Noto fell forward dead
Friday, February 1, 2008
For more on the Schultz-Coll war check out Gangster City: The History of the New York Underworld 1900-1935