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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rosario expires in his cario

Rosario Riggio was an ex-convict and racketeer who was paroled in May of 1934 after serving a ten year sentence in the Atlanta penitentiary for counterfeiting. Back in New York he opened a grocery store supposedly as a front for illegal activities.
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

5 comments:

cb said...
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cb said...
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Stella K. said...
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Jenny W. said...

I recently stumbled upon this page of you blog and I believe the aforementioned Rosario Riggio is my great-grandfather. As the subject is somewhat taboo to the older generations of my family, I've never had that many details on his mob connections. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got the information written in this post. Thanks!

Pat Downey said...

Greetings, info came from the newspaper. I forget which one. If you live in NYC you can go to the library and look at numerous papers from the era that would have covered the story. Happy hunting!