Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Friday, May 23, 2008

A weeks worth...

Going on hiatus for a bit. Here's week's supply of DGIS for you to peruse all at once or a day at a time (insert own Schneider joke here).

May 23 –
Ok, so it wasn't all bang bang shoot shoot back in the good ol' days, there was some stab stab slit slit as well . Frank Chinari used a barbershop as a front for his blackhand activities. Every couple of months he moved to a new building in his upper eastside neighborhood and local residents wondered how he managed to stay in business without ever having any customers. His shop had plenty of visitors at all hours of the day and night but the men who went in never got a hair cut they just conversed with the "barber" for a while and then left.
Chinari got on somebody's bad side though, because when a fourteen-year old neighbor boy looked into the rear window of the barber shop on this date in 1914, he saw the proprietor laying face down. The cops were summoned and it was learned that Chinari had had his throat slit. The killer also made two four inch slashes on each side of the "barber's" mouth. Was he a squealer? A search of the shop produced six sticks of dynamite as well as other bomb making materials. Besides bloody footprints there were no other clues found so police chalked it up to a feud within his extortion gang.

May 24 –
George Keeler was a boss stevedore who worked on the Luckenback Steamship pier and on the evening of May 23, Keeler and his wife went to a local theater and watched a gangster film before retiring for the evening. At about 5:00 am, seventy-three years ago today, two men climbed in through a rear window of the Keeler's abode, cut the phone lines and without alerting anyone to their presence made their way through the house to Keeler's bedroom. Once inside the room the men, one armed with a .38 and the other a .45, approached George's side of the bed and fired a volley of shots into the sleeping stevedore. He was killed instantly taking a bullet to the head, chest, two in the stomach and three in the groin. Mrs. Keeler immediately woke up and for a brief moment thought she was still at the movies until she heard the gunmen's feet running out of the room and looking over saw her husband's bloody head.

May 25 –
Just before midnight on this date in 1913 a gunfight erupted in what police called a gang feud. A Patrolman walking the beat ran towards the shooting and captured Frank Miller known as "Huckle", as he was trying to escape. The officer handed "Huckle" over to another cop who just arrived and captured another man who was trying to escape named Tom Leone. Together the two cops took the two men back to the scene of the shooting and made there way through the crowds that were beginning to fall out from the two local amusement parlors. There on the street they found the body of Tom Leone's brother who was named Jim but went by the nickname "Curly". Neither Leone or Miller stated why the shooting had taken place.

May 26 –
On this date in 1932 a Bronx milk man was making his rounds and came upon the dead body of twenty-four year old Walter Schwall who had been shot through the back of the head. A neighbor said that he had heard a group of men arguing at about 3:00am and looking out saw that they were in a large dark sedan. After a few minutes he heard what he thought was either a gunshot or the car back firing. Either way he didn't care enough to check and Schwall, who was tossed out of the sedan, remained in the road until the milkman made his grisly discovery later that morning. The dead man's record showed that he had been arrested twice for grand larceny in connection with car theft but was discharged both times.

May 28 –
Eighty –two years ago today Harry Bender was picked up at the hotel he was living in and an hour later was found in an empty lot in Queens with two bullets in his body and one in his head. Miraculously he was still conscious when taken to the hospital but refused to help the police. Even when his wife knelt at his bedside and begged him to tell the cops who shot him he responded by saying, "Never mind that will be taken care off."

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