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."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Double pierced Ear

Police called twenty-year old Leon Goldstein a "small time racketeer". His domain was the East New York section of Brooklyn where he extorted money from brothels, ran some smaller rackets and took part in a number of shootings. Since he was such a braggart his nickname around his neighborhood was "Ear bender" and he often boasted that he would kill anyone for $50. Speaking of ears Leon caught a bullet behind his left one seventy-six years ago today and was dumped in Queens. He also took one to the chest. Police suspected that the murder was revenge for the killing of another hoodlum from the previous fall.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hey chief guess what I found

At 4:30 am on this date in 1930, Patrolman Henry Steger came to the police box at Gardner and Meeker Avenues in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn to report in to his station. There waiting for him were the bodies of 26-year old Anthony Calderone and 29-year old Salvatore Tavolino piled one on top of the other. At first he thought they were victims of a hit and run but his flashlight soon showed the bullet holes in their backs and necks. There was no blood at the scene and both men were from Manhattan so police determined that they had been killed in the city and brought over to Brooklyn to be dumped. At some point prior to his murder Calderone had done some shooting himself because a gun was found on his person with three shots missing. One reason for the shooting may have been revenge. Calderone and Tavolino were involved with six other men in a robbery and both men were released while the others were convicted so they may have been put on the spot for possibly squealing

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hit and Run

Seventy-six years ago today James Alascia was walking on the lower Eastside while the street was teeming with people, including a large number of children who were playing in a vacant lot across the street. At 4:35pm a gunman dashed out of a tenement hallway and began blasting away at Alascia who dropped to the sidewalk wounded. The gunman, his job complete, ran back into the tenement and escaped leaving two innocent bystanders wounded on the street. Alascia was taken to the hospital where he died four hours later with out revealing any information.

For another gangland execution for this date owners of Gangster City can go to page 290

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sorry Ma'am your husband's dead. Oh and he was cheating on you.

Steve Spano was thirty-one years old, lived with his wife, three kids and his mother and was known as a leader of Italian voters. While walking down the street on this date in 1921 Spano was cut down by a blast from a sawed off double barrel shotgun. Two men ran from the building where the shots came from and there police found the weapon.
While searching Spano's affects the police came across a picture of a woman in his pocket watch but it was not Mrs. Spano. When confronted with the photo Mrs. Spano, who said she was unaware that her husband carried around another woman's picture, said, "There was no other woman. No, no. Steve was a good man. We were married fifteen years. We were happy oh, so happy."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mandonia! Mandonia! What make your big head so hard?

On this day in 1922 forty-four year old Salvatore Maida was standing outside his café talking with his younger brother and two other men when Rosido Mandonia came up and shot him at point blank range in the chest. Mandonia tried to run away but he ran right into two police officers who brought him back to the scene and despite his pleads of innocence witnesses shouted, "He is the fellow who did it."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

White, as a ghost

John White was the proprietor of a midtown speakeasy and a victim of his own door policy. When Harold Fullam, an elevator operator from a nearby hotel, tried to gain entrance into White's club on this date back in 1928 the proprietor stopped him at the door and refused him entry. According to the bartender, Fullam came back later and asked White to step outside for a few words. After White went outside the bartender heard a shot. An ambulance was called and White ended up dying on the operating table.

For two important Mafia murders for this date Gangster City book owners can check out pages 37 & 140

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Orlandoh!

Police had been searching for twenty-one year old Orlando Minichelli for over two months for his possible participation in a murder but either friends of the victim, or perhaps his own confederates who felt things would be safer if he was out of the way, caught up with him first. As the young hoodlum was walking in Harlem on May 7, 1935 he passed a store where a man stepped out and fired six bullets into him at point blank range. As Minichelli fell dead, the gunman tossed his .38, into a doorway and ran away

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Killo de Mayo

On May 3, 1903 strife hit the Cherry Hill section of Manhattan when William McMahon, known in gang circles as "Billy Argument" and other members of the Cherry Hill mob beat up a rival member of Monk Eastman's gang named Patrick "Paddy the snake" Shea.
The beating Shea received was bad enough to send him to the hospital where he was questioned by police about who did it. A consummate gangster, "Paddy the snake" told the police, "I ain't no squealer, not me. When I get out of the hospital I will attend to this matter myself and maybe I won't do a little six shooting."
Two days later Shea was out of the hospital and staking out McMahon's apartment and when the latter emerged "Paddy the snake" came up behind him and "blew the top of his head off."
After his round of "six shooting" Shea fled to Philadelphia where he was captured in late July and extradited back for trial. While on the stand Shea admitted to the murder but said it was self-defense claiming that if he didn't get "Billy Argument" first, Billy would have gotten him.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bad luck, Chuck

Charles Rosenhaus was 35 years old and had three arrests under his belt. He was currently a proprietor of a number of Bowery newsstands and part owner, with Albert Meyer, of a cabaret known as Green's Restaurant. Early in the morning on this day back in 1925, while his partner Meyer was across the street, Rosenhaus was approaching the cabaret when a man walked up to him and fired three shots into his chest. Charles dropped to the ground as his assailant got away. The police said that Rosenhaus knew his life was in danger and pointed out that he was wearing a holster equipped with a fully loaded revolver.