Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

La Barbera La Bootlegger

Eighty-seven years ago today forty-year old Ignacio La Barbera was walking down his street with another man about a block away from where mafia boss Umberto Valenti was killed the month before. As the duo strolled along two men fell into step behind them. When the two trailing men got close enough they each pulled out a pistol and fired into La Barbera’s neck and back. Mortally wounded La Barbera fell to the sidewalk. The man who was with La Barbera ran away as did the gunmen.
The police found a key on La Barbera and used it to open the store over which he lived and found a large copper still and thirty-nine five-gallon jugs filled with alchohol. Since La Barbera lived and died in the same proximity as Umberto Valenti, let's start a rumor that he was bumped off on orders from Joe Masseria as well.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

That's for taking my cab!

Way, way back in 1921, on a day very much like today, ok, actually it was the same date. A cab pulled up in front of the house of a young Irish feller named Vincenzo Verducci*. Inside the cab were three of Verducci's friends, one of whom was toting a bottle of champagne. Verducci climbed into the cab to join his partying compadres when suddenly a man darted out of a nearby doorway, jumped onto the cab's running board and fired two shots. One hit Verducci in the cheek, and even worse, the other blew apart the bottle of bubbly. The gunman and everyone else without a bullet hole in their face jumped from the taxi and ran away leaving the driver to transport Vincenzo to the hospital. Apparently the only fatality was the Champagne, sniff sniff.

* I don't know if he really was Irish, I was just judging by the name.