Chicago gangster Ted Newberry says: "He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." Ted was rubbed out on January 7, 1933

Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

Meet Kiki

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It was a dark and boring day at work...

It's 10:47am, you don't want to do what you're supposed to, what you really want to do is read old pulp stories from the golden age of pulpdom. Well, here's your chance. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One door's open slay

T'was just about 6:00a.m. on this date back in 1927 when Richard Lubey crossed the threshold into his apartment after a long night of managing his speakeasy. At the ripe old age of six and twenty years Lubey had many a crime attributed to him, crimes like gun possession, robbery and counterfeiting.

Anywho-ville, his wife who slumbered in the next room, heard him enter and begin to disrobe. First his coat and then his vest. But before anymore articles of clothing could be removed there was a rapping, some might say a gentle tapping, a tapping at the apartment door. "Tis some gangster," Lubey muttered, "tapping at my apartment door. Only this and nothing more."

Mrs. Lubey heard him answer the door but paid no attention to the conversation he had with the early morning visitor. Ah, but she would from here on remember what happened next in that bleak December, when from the underworld came forth a member who came to settle a bootlegging score. A bullet lodged above her bed which first passed through her husband's head, her husband who now lay dead, dead upon the foyer floor.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Four, make that three Fierce Flanagans

Eighty-eight years ago today Tom Flanagan, one of the four fierce Flanagans - a quartet of gun wielding law breaking brothers- gave up the ghost after somebody pumped a bullet into his chest at Yumpsy Cunningham's saloon. His pals, being the good guys that they were, placed him in a cab and sent him to his fathers apartment. Pop Flanagan, being of sounder mind thought that a hospital would probably be a better place. He fetched a cop who saw that Tom made it to Bellevue without further ado.

Inside the hospital Tom was questioned about the shooting but, having memorized the Official Rules of the Underworld Volumes I-IV, he refused to say anything about it and passed out of this life at the ripe old age of thirty.

If you wanna know more about Tom and the other Flanagan brothers you can read all about it, as the newsies would say, in Bad Seeds in the Big Apple

Monday, November 22, 2010

This here's an arrest.

Word has it that the paperback edition of Gangster City is sold out. Whats out there is whats left. The DGIS Institute has been advised however that it is on the short list to be republished in early 2011. Will let you know when it is back.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program. Remember these guys? Of course you do. Well after six months of fun they got caught seventy-six years ago today. Unfortunately some intern misplaced the file so we can't tell you, at this time, exactly how the arrests went down. If memory serves correctly, after the heist they high tailed it to Florida for some fun in the sun. While they were laying beneath the palms playing ukuleles the cops somehow, (damn interns!!) picked up their trail and got 'em when they came back to town to plan more mayhem.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bye bye Barney

Barney Solomon immigrated to the USA from England around 1908 and became a boxer under the moniker of Barney Smith. Following his career in the ring he became a starker, hiring out goons to bust heads during clothing strikes.

Rival gangsters wanted Solomon out of the way and gave him a beating as a warning. Being a boxer Solomon had received his fair share of beatings and was undeterred in his gooning affairs. Their first warning unheeded Solomon's rivals decided that Barney should go the way of the dinosaur.

After a night of drinking Barney was found on a lower east side curb ninety-two years ago this morning suffering from gun shot wounds. He was taken to the hospital but through in the towel during surgery. Solomon Goons was out of business.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The over looked Lepke murder

This afternoon I was enjoying a Balinese foot massage(Yes, there are some new interns here at the DGIS Institute) and Since I had a few moments I watched most of a documentary on Lepke Buchalter.

Perhaps they mentioned it and I missed it, but if not, for anyone interested one murder they never seem to talk about in these made for cable docs is that of Verne Miller. VM was one of the most desperate of the mid-west desperadoes of the early 1930's. A bank robber and machine gun aficionado, he was also friends with Lepke until the Kansas City Massacre made Miller persona non grata in the American underworld.

If you want to know more about Verne Miller and Lepke I strongly suggest reading Lawman to Outlaw: Verne Miller and the Kansas City Massacre by Brad Smith. You may be able to find it here. Verne Miller is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting of the Public Enemies. A former sheriff and straight arrow who for some reason picked up a Thompson and blasted his way into infamy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Early birds get the $500 and gold watch

We here at the DGIS institute realize that post have been scarce as of late but it is only because we have been hard at work on the Legs Diamond book. (and had to fire a number of interns; a 30 minute lunch? C'mon how long does it take to eat a sandwich? Floors need to be swept, desk need to be dusted and highballs need to be mixed.)

So please bare with us these next couple of months. Hopefully you will soon be able to slide into a pair of slippers, pack your pipe full of tobacco and sit back and read all about Herr Diamond.

In the meantime....

It was exactly one hundred and ten years ago today in Brooklyn that two men, one about 20-years old the other around 40, walked into the clothing shop of Michael Minisman. The store was at 60 Myrtle Avenue. It was 7:00am when the duo walked in. The younger of the two approached Minisman. "I was in here last week and bought a suit of clothes. You remember me don't you?" The proprietor answered in the affirmative. "Well, I was very pleased with the clothes and have recommended you to my friend here. He wants to buy a suit."

Minisman was obviously tickled by the compliment had happy to have another sale so he started to show the older guy some suits on the tables near the front window. Being rush hour numerous people were walking past the store. Not good for what the duo had planned.

"Haven't you got something nice in rough goods, something like what you sold me?" the younger fellow asked, "You got it off a table in the back part of the store there." he added referring to a part of the store nobody passing the front window could see.

Not realizing he was being set up, Minisman lead the yeggs to the rear portion of the store. As he was reaching for a suit one of the guys bashed him over the head with a black jack. Minisman stumbled and the other guy whapped him across the skull twice more knocking him out.

When the clothier woke up about five minutes later he found his gold watch and five hundred in cash missing. The yeggs were last seen by the storekeeper next door, who was unaware of the crime, calmly boarding a street car.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's all in the name

He didn't have an underworld moniker that invoked fear but let us mark the passing of James "Pinhead" Cauley who was extinguished from gangland in 1927. Pinhead had just finished serving five years for robbery and was working as a boss stevedore on a west side pier. How does one walk out of prison and become a boss stevedore? Connections my friends connections.

Shortly after 9:00pm on this date Pinhead was making the rounds on his beloved west side when somebody came up and pumped three bullets into him. Why? Well the coppers say it was because he was vying for leadership of a bootleg gang. But to this day there are some grisly old dock workers with gnarled hands who spend their days hoisting shells of cheap beer and eating pickled eggs who swear that back in their day when Irish gangsters had nick names like "Killer", "Mad Dog" and "Peg Leg" they simply couldn't be embarrassed with a mug named "Pinhead".

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A boxer gets his

Eighty years ago this morning a milk man was making his rounds in Queens when he came up on the the corpse of Felix Lopresti. The 25-year old ex-boxer had been garroted with a sash chord and had his throat slit.

Police believed that Felix was lured into a car in Manhattan and strangled. His killers then drove to Queens and to dump the body but slit his throat first to ensure death. the knife was found a short distance away in a vacant lot.

Judging by his shabby clothes it appears that Felix was down on his luck at the time of the murder. In addition to boxing the dead man was also known as a gambler and crook. He had been arrested three times in the past three years for robbery, assault and felonious assault but was acquitted in each case. At a loss for a reason behind Lopresti's murder, the authorities wrote down a handful of motives and put them into the chief of detectives hat. The slip of paper chosen said, "Killed for welching on a gambling debt." Everyone agreed that that sounded like a good choice so they went with that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Remembering Rick Mattix

If you knew Rick than you already know the story. There is really nothing I can say about him that others haven't said better so I'll let him speak for himself. Here's an interview he did for the blog back in November of 2008.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lock and down load

Got an ereader? Looking for something new? Check out Discount Noir. DGIS friend and host of the popular Nobody Move! John DuMond has contributed a story to this anthology.

From the Publisher:

If you thought standing in line at your local warehouse store was murder, then you haven't been to Megamart. These flash fiction tales of superstore madness and mayhem will make you think twice the next time you hear, "Clean up in aisle 13".
Having shopped at Costco I'm looking forward to living vicariously through someone with a high powered weapon... In a good way that is.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

We got trouble

That starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for billiards.

One hundred years ago this morning, just after midnight actually, a group of lower Eastside fellers were hanging out in a pool hall when suddenly a couple pistol shots were heard. Moments later two men, Phil Gerber and Lewis Litovski staggered from the establishment. The former had a bullet in the groin the latter in the right thigh. Everyone else in the joint skedaddled out the back sans overcoats.

Blood squirting from their wounds Gerber and Litovski did what anyone with bullets in the groin and thigh would do. They dragged themselves to the nearest saloon. The boys in blue showed up just as Gerber passed out. The only thing Litovski would say about the melee was, "I know who shot me, but I won't tell. I'll get him."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I tell ya those cops were waiting for us!

At 11:00pm on this date back in 1922. Four young gunmen entered the area of Morris Avenue in the Bronx known as the chicken market. The gunmen, lets call them Mr. Pink, Mr. White, Mr. Brown and Mr. Blue pulled up by the Kowalsky Brothers poultry shop located at no. 465. Leaving the engine running, they hopped out with their caps pulled down over their eyes and entered the shop.

Little did the gunmen know but half a dozen detectives were watching them. Somehow they got word that there was going to be a robbery in the poultry market so took up positions in doorways around the area.

As the bandits entered the store they each pulled a black mask over their face and pulled out guns. The Kowalskys raised their hands and were herded to the rear of the store while Mr. Pink grabbed 900 clams from the register then yelled, "Beat it".

Confident that they made a successful heist the foursome sauntered out of the store and made their way to their sedan. Just before they got to the doors however the detectives closed in on them and fired a few shots yelling for them to halt.

The bandits threw themselves against the car and opened fire on the detectives who, out numbering the hoodlums, rained some heavy lead down them. After some exchanges Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown were on the sidewalk and a couple of the detectives were wounded. The lawmen, fearing that they would shoot each other, stopped firing. In the lull Mr. Pink jumped in the car and peeled out, taking the corner on two wheels as the detectives fired a volley in his direction. Taking advantage of the diversion Mr. White ran into the crowd and escaped on foot.

Messrs. Brown and Blue were taken to Fordham hospital where it was stated they probably would die...and now time for some K-Billy...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maybe he just lost his key?

Ah, the good old days, infections could mean death, "Hotel Detective" was an actual occupation and the Waldorf-Astoria was located on 34th Street where one now finds the Empire State building.

Speaking of the old W/A and hotel detectives seems that in October of 1921 a buglar had broken into a fourth floor room of the former and one of the latters, Joseph Smith, figured he'd be back again so staked out the fire escape on the 33rd street side of the building.

Sure enough at 4:00am on this date in 1921, perched in his fourth floor window, Smith saw a man slinking down the street along the shadows. The man grabbed the fire escape and started his ascent. Smith pulled out his automatic and turned off the safety. (if they had safety back then I'm just using my dramatic license before it expires.)

When the burglar, 18-year old Peter Hermando, reached the fourth story Smith jabbed his pistol at him and yelled "Grab a cloud!" (more dramatic license) Hermando however pointed something "shiny" at the detective and threatened to, "Blow his head off." (no dramatic license).

Smith fired at the burlars hand (so he said) but the bullet missed and plowed into Hermando's chest. His mojo taken away the burglar scampered down the fire escape to the best of his ability into the waiting arms of another hotel detective. Though he had a bullet lodged in his upper torso he reportedly "Fought like a tiger." (no dramatic license) before finally being subdued. Oh, the shiny thing in Hermando's hand was a flashlight.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bars for Barz

Ninety-eight years ago today lose lips did in fact sink John Barz and possibly Jack Gormley’s ships. The former was a highway man, I suspect one of the last since you don’t really hear that term much later in the 20th Century. The latter was a master burglar and associate of Big Jack Zelig, the gang leader who was rubbed out a mere two weeks before our story takes place.

Both Barz and Gormley were locked up in the Queens County jail and the previous week the warden got word that Gormley was going to try to bust out so the burglar was moved to a new cell. Nobody knew at the time however that Barz had three hacksaw blades, which he hid in a false bottom of his slop pail, and was sawing his way through his bars at night.

On about the seventeenth Barz was visited by his girlfriend. She sat outside his cell and the duo chatted quietly for a long time. The warden happened to be down the corridor and around the corner out of sight but close enough to hear the couple saying good bye. The girl was crying and Barz tried to make her feel better by saying, “Never mind dear, I’ll soon be out of here, and we can go away together.” This struck the warden as odd seeing that Barz wasn’t scheduled to go anywhere.

Soooo, just after midnight on this date the warden and some guards paid a visit to Barz’ cell. Barz was called to the bars and when he approached, the Warden grabbed him by the throat and held him while the guards went in to search. The found the pail with the blades, a 45-foot rope made out of a blanket and a good bye note under his covers. Searching the bars of the cell they also found a portion that he had sawed through that allowed enough room for him to crawl out.

The window at the end of the hall had been loosened and the outside bars also cut. (it was a 40-foot drop from there, hence the blanket rope) A subsequent search of Gormley turned up $200. It was surmised that the two were going to bust out together and head south on Gormley’s roll.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beer with a machine gun chaser

The DGIS autumnal recess is over and what a joy it was. We took the interns out for some pumpkin picking (nothing over six pounds; we don't want to anger the shareholders) a hayride and of course they got to split up into pairs and share a cup of apple cider. But now it is back to business.

Our welcome back story is that of John Kelly and Francis Smith. Seventy seven years ago this evening both men, the former, acting boss of some West side stevedores, were in a West side tavern hoisting a few West side pints. As the young men were enjoying their suds two men entered the establishment and stood guard by the door as a third man entered cradling a Thompson in his arms.

Kelly's intuition told him that he was to be the recipient of the .45 caliber telegram that was about to be delivered so he bolted for the rear door. Just in time as three bullets plowed into Smith's chest. Kelly ran through the swinging doors just as the gunner sent a burst in his direction. The blast splintered the door and one of the shots hit the saloon keeper in the side and one found a home in Kelly's arm.

The hit squad took a powder and an ambulance was called for the two wounded men, Kelly was dead. The cops pumped Kelly for info about the gunner: "Gee, he was a lousy shot." was all he gave them.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The bookie's number came up

At some point seventy-six years ago today John Amenbola stumbled out the back door of a tenement building and dropped dead with three bullets in his body. Though only twenty-three years old he was a hardened criminal with a record dating back to 1926.

Amenbola served a term in Sing Sing for robbery and was paroled in 1930. He went back in in March of 1934 for parole violation and was released a short time before his demise. The janitor of the building found him at 11:00pm and reported his grisly find to the police who subsequently found a plethora of policy tickets on and around Amenbola's body. It appears that his post Sing Sing employment was that of a policy man. Perhaps he didn't have permission to be doing so which led to the bang bang.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Checking out in front of the Harding Hotel

Tony Marlow was a bootlegger who lived in mid-town next door to the Harding Hotel eighty-two years ago. On this date he was standing in front of the hotel smoking a cigarette at 10:30pm apparently waiting for some one.

William White, a real estate salesman, who knew Marlow from the neighborhood saw him loitering and walked over. “Hello Tony!” White said offering his hand. As the two men were shaking hands, two more guys appeared from behind a parked car, one tall and slim and the other short and stout. Before anyone knew what was what they opened fire hitting Marlow five times before he had a chance to pull out his own gun.

A beat cop heard the shooting, ran to the scene and started after the gunmen. After a short chase the killers escaped. Returning to the Harding Hotel the officer loaded Marlow into a cab and took him to the hospital where the gangster was questioned about the shooting. When asked who shot him, Marlow responded in typical gangland fashion, “I’ll take care of them myself when I get well.” But his slayers needn’t of worried because he died the next the day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shot in the Dark

Just around midnight on this date in 1920 sixty-year old John Tollard, the watchman over at the National Aniline and Chemical Works in Canarsie was standing guard in the counting room where hundreds of pay envelopes were ready for the night crew to pick up. Suddenly the lights went out.

Assuming correctly that lights out meant trouble Tollard drew his pistol and hid behind a counter. Sure enough three gunmen entered the room and demanded the dough. Tollard answered with lead. It wasn’t a one way conversation however and the bandits responded threefold. Pieces of counter and wall plaster rained down upon the watchman and then he emptied his piece. The bandits continued to fire until some workers came up to investigate what all the fuss was about.

When members of the night shift arrived the gunmen hightailed it outta there sans the ten grand they came in for. Later cops learned that half an hour after the failed raid some cops from another precinct found a seriously wounded guy on the sidewalk and took him to the hospital. Thinking that the watchman’s bullets may have hit home they went and questioned him about the botched robbery but the wounded man denied involvement. Go figure.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is the Law? No spill blood. (not without syndicate approval anyways.)

Joey Amberg, a semi-big racketeering feller in Brooklyn decided that a hoodlum named Hy Kasner had to be killed, so together with two henchmen named Jack Elliot and Frankie Teitlebaum they set out to get Kasner. The latter was snatched, killed, stuffed in a sack and dropped into a sewer. Business as usual for Brownsviller back in the 1930's.

Amberg was hoping that the sack would be washed out to sea and Hy's disappearance would be but a mystery, but unfortunately for Amberg it popped up near shore and what was left of Hy was fished out. Soon the names of Kasner’s killers traveled the underworld grapevine. Problematic for Amberg was that Kasner was an associate of both Albert Anastasia and Louis Capone the director and assistant director of Murder Inc and, to paraphrase Bumpy Johnson from the film Cotton Club, "If you have Murder Inc. on your ass, you truly have somebody on your ass."*

A Syndicate hearing was called. Anastasia and Capone argued that Amberg and his murdering cohorts should themselves be put on the spot for taking syndicate law into their own hands by killing Kasner without mob approval while Joe Adonis and Bugsy Siegel argued for Amberg’s clemency.

Adonis and Siegel were overruled and a contract was put out on Joey A. Chosen for the job was “Happy” Maione, Phil Mangano,(brother of Vincent Mangano the patriarch of the Mangano crime family) and another man known as “Red” Pulvino. The location chosen for the hit was the Brownsville garage, which was partially owned by “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss, where Joey Amberg parked his car.

On this day in 1935 Amberg’s sedan, chauffeured by Manny Kessler, pulled into the garage and as the men were stepping out, the killers, two dressed in khaki overalls and the third dressed in blue overalls, ran up with guns drawn and forced them to line up against the wall. As Amberg turned to face the wall he saw Maione’s face and began to say, “It’s - -” but before he could get anything else out he and Kessler were cut down by a blast from a shotgun. Once Amberg and Kessler were on the ground one of the killers ran up and shot each man in the head with a pistol. Justice, Murder Inc. style, had been served

*Johnson was actually referring to Owney Madden in the film. But you already knew that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Room to let

Fred Kautz heard a loud noise coming from the rooming house next door (Paper thin walls you know) at 6:20 pm on this date back in 1922 so, being a good neighbor, he went next door and told Joe Epst the rooming house keeper.

Epst went up stairs and opened the door to the room in question and there found two bodies on the floor. One belonging to burglar and Sing Sing alumnus Benny “Big Nose Mannie” Rosner and a twenty-two year old sweety named Lillian Schmidt known as “the Polish Queen”. Both had been shot through the head. The fact that a bureau had been over turned (the noise Kautz heard) and some clothes and other articles had been tossed about the room lead police to believe there was a struggle before the murders.

Oddly, though the over turning of the bureau was heard no shots were. The pistol probably had a silencer. Word went out to pick up a John Farone who was renting the room. (they didn’t find him though they found a box of shells in one of his coats) As to why the murders took place. I’m open to suggestions…

Friday, September 24, 2010

Murder on the NY Central Express

In 1931 the New York Central Rail Road had an elevated train that ran up Park Avenue. On this date as the 6:15 was passing overhead Harlem pedestrians were shocked to see a man fall from tracks.

At first it was considered a freak accident until the Doctor performing the autopsy discovered that the dead man, David Mazzer, had actually been shot behind the left ear, the bullet exiting through his right cheek. For the first time in gangland history someone had been taken for a “train ride”.

Once the police learned that the death was actually a murder Mazzer’s fingerprints were taken and it was found that the dead man had quite an extensive record. Mazzer spent a large amount of his adulthood behind bars. He was arrested in 1912 for robbery and sent to Sing Sing for seven years. Upon his release he was arrested for burglary and sent back for another two years. This sentence was followed by another four year stretch for another burglary charge and then he went back yet again for another two years in 1926 for attempted burglary.

Amazingly Mazzer’s bad luck with the law doesn’t stop there. He was arrested again in 1928 for illegal entry and larceny but this time jumped bail and was next arrested in Philadelphia for cracking a safe but again he jumped bail. He remained free until he was picked up again in New York on October 11, 1930.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who says Subway is healthy?

One hundred years ago this morning just after midnight, Edward Gallagher was inside his subway cashier’s kiosk at the Worth Street station waiting to accept nickels from any night owls looking to train uptown. He had just started his shift and completed his first task; Counting the money from the previous shift and putting it into a bag for the subway collection man who would come around 2:00am to pick it up.

Moments later a masked man appeared at his window and pushed the nozzle of a pistol through the grate and ordered him to open the door of his booth. Three other masked men stood behind the first. Gallagher opened the door to the cage and the first of the bandits ran in at him. The clerk put his hands up to defend himself and felt the butt of a pistol come down on his head. Then he felt no more…twenty minutes later he woke up in a pool of his own blood and called the dispatchers office to report the crime. After a minute of explaining Gallagher knew he was about to go unconscious again and told the dispatcher to send the down town man over - the “down town man” was the clerk selling fairs for the down town train. His kiosk was across the tracks and down around a curve. He didn’t see anything. – he then passed out again.

The down town man and some custodians showed up and brought Gallagher around with some cold water to the face. He told them what happened and passed out again. The bag of money and anything Gallagher had collecting during his shift was gone. The clerk was taken to the hospital with a broken nose and five scalp wounds. He apparently took a beating after the first blow.

The bandits, obviously aware that Gallagher had a bag of money at the beginning of each shift and also knew nobody would see the robbery, got away. Gallagher was fired for not putting up a better fight. Ok, not really.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bell tolls for Bell

Twenty-two year old Brooklyn gangster Benjamin “The Bell” Meyerson was walking with his girlfriend in Brownsville on this date back in 1931. When the couple reached the corner a car pulled up to the curb, two men jumped out and began firing at “The Bell”. Two bullets slammed into his head and he dropped dead as the gunmen escaped.

The Bell had recently served a prison term for burglary and was currently out on $10,000 bail for shooting and wounding a hood named Max “Coco” Prince at Coney Island. As for motives this killing took place less than a week after Brownsville big shot Meyer Shapiro was bumped off by the future Murder Inc. boys. Perhaps the Bell was a Shapiro gang alumnus and was sent packing along with Meyer. Or maybe it was some of Coco's boys evening the score.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Late to the party

As Prohibition was winding down Edward Patterson, called a “Petty and ambitious beer runner” with a long list of arrest dating back to 1920 for assault, unlawful entry, robbery and drug use, decided that he would try to break into the business by muscling into the south Brooklyn beer racket. He started dropping in on speakeasy owners and tried forcing his beer on them, which caused the established bootleggers in the region to take action.

On September 3, Patterson was put on the spot in a speakeasy but the gunmen only managed to wound him while accidentally killing the bartender. There were no mistakes on this date back in 1932 however when he exited his second floor room at a Brooklyn boarding house and someone fired two shots into the back of his head, then judging by the powder burns, the gunman placed the pistol against “the petty and ambitious beer runner’s” skull and fired twice more. Patterson Beer Distribution was officially out of business

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You say Hello, we say Goodbye.

Forty year old Nicolo Gruppuso, described by police as a “small time gangster”, was seated at a table in a Bowery eatery on this date back in 1935 enjoying a cup of coffee and a cigarette while waiting for some companions.

Around 11:00pm two men entered the crowded establishment. Nicolo saw them enter and put his cigarette and coffee to the side before standing up and extending a hand to greet them. One of the new comers took Nicolo's hand and the other drew a pistol and shot the “Small time gangster” directly in the face.

Mission completed the gunman dropped his weapon and hurried out of the restaurant. His accomplice however casually picked up the weapon and fired four more shots into the prostrate gangster before making his exit. (Seems to have been a wee bit personal)

An off duty cop was summoned and gave a futile chase as the two killers escaped.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you're doing time hey Mickey

One hundred and three years ago there was a feud on between Whitey Brennan’s dock gang and that of Micky Nesty. You remember them don’t you? Of course you do. Any hoo the opposing hoodlums had previously rumbled on the East 32nd Street docks but nothing was settled.

So on this date back in ’07 (1900 that is) the hoodlums met on 32nd Street between First & Second Aves and went at it again. The brouhaha brought a couple thousand spectators out of the tenements to watch the carnage. After some battling, the two gangs parted to opposite sides of the street.

As the gangs were deciding on how best to carry on someone whipped out a shooting iron and let it bark. Another scallywag answered by pulling out his noisemaker and let 'er rip. Bullets flew and people ran helter skelter. Two young girls were wounded in the melee as well as Micky Nesty himself who was arrested at Bellevue whilst having a bullet wound attended too. He may or may not of had blisters on his fingers. Oh, another cat named Charlie Grimm was arrested an hour or so later when police found him with a bandaged head, because as we all know a bandaged head = gang banger.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Big Ben's time runs out

Big Benny Befanti was a Bronx big shot who, in addition to being a delegate of the barbers union, “held considerable sway in the Italian colony in Fordham”. The forty-one year old sway holder had converted his basement into a club house and was having a card game with eight men on this date in 1926. at 9:00 pm another man, Frank Mazzola, showed up and got into the game.

The men drank wine, played cards and bad mouthed the Irish* until about midnight when everyone got up to leave. After five men had left Mazzola approached Befanti and asked, “What have you against me?” “Not a thing.” Big Benny replied. At that Mazzola drew a pistol and fired a single fatal shot into Befanti's head.

Mazzola turned the gun on the remaining three players and threatened to kill them if they tried to stop him. Mazzola then climbed hrough a window and escaped down the alley.

A search of the alley produced a fully loaded pistol and police believed that it was dropped by an accomplice of Mazzola’s who was on hand to help him escape. Mazzola was picked up later.

*This is pure paranoid speculation, they may have been drinking something else.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bugs is out

James Donovan, known around town as Bugs, was part owner in some New Jersey breweries. A lucrative business back in 1929. Rumor has it that NYC gangster Waxey Gordon was attempting to monopolize the Jersey beer racket and couldn't work out a monetary deal with Bugs and his confederates so resorted to bulletary deal.

Donovan had a sweety in Manhattan's Chelsea district and could be found at her digs quite often. The men assigned to kill him found this out so waited outside her apartment. Eighty-one years ago tonight Bugs kissed his honey goodbye and went out to his car. As he was starting it a sedan pulled up and ... well, you know.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Was some dirty cowards killed Mr. Howard

It was the third of September.
That date I’ll always remember.
Cause that was the day that Moe Howard died. (No that one)
It happened way back in 1930 and the facts are few
So Mama I’m depending on you to tell us the truth.

But Mama just hung her head and said,
“Moe Howard got tossed out of a car
Enough slugs in him to fill a baby food jar
They found some cocaine,
perhaps that’s why he was slain.”

Hey Mama some people say that Moe wasn’t big on thinking
Stole booze meant for somebody else’s selling and drinking.
And Mama, bad talk going around town
Saying that Moe got arrested and threatened with life so ratted on his friends
And that ain’t right.
Heard some talk about a payroll heist and Moe holding out on his gang and that they were the ones in the car when the pistols went bang.

Mama we’re depending on you to tell us the truth.

Mama looked up with a tear in her eye and said,
“Moe Howard got tossed from a car, my sons
Enough slugs in him to fill a baby food jar.
They found some cocaine
Perhaps that’s why he was slain.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Frankie and Johnny

Twenty-four year old Frank Napolitani was sitting in the front seat of sedan with fellow mobster John Gagnese, twenty-five and in the back seat was Angelo Eterni. At about 12:30am on this date back in 1934 another car pulled up to them and a series of shots rang out. Both Napolitani and Gagnese slumped over dead with bullets through their heads.

A cop who happened to be nearby saw Eterni jump out of the car and run away, throwing something into an empty lot as he ran, while the car with the killers sped off. The officer caught Eterni and a subsequent sweep of the lot turned up two guns. The car in which the two men were killed belonged to Frank Perez, who happened to be a block away at a “political meeting” when the killings took place. Mr. Perez denied knowing either of victims and had no idea what they were doing in his car.

Both Napolitani and Gagnese had police records. The former had been arrested numerous times for assault and the latter had only been out of jail for a week when killed. According to Mob informer Ernest “The Hawk” Rupolo the double murder was ordered by Frank Costello, Mike Miranda and Vito Genovese.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We were already robbed today what else could possibly go wrong?

Hours after it had been robbed of $4,000 on this date back in 1928 John’s Lunchroom, which doubled as a saloon, was busy with about twenty patrons. One of those was James “Lefty” Doyle.

While Doyle enjoyed his food and drink a man wearing a gray suit and brown slouch hat entered. He calmly surveyed the lunchroom and when he spotted Lefty he pulled out a gun and started to fire.

Everyone ran for cover as Lefty was brought down with a bullet in the back. Though frightened, the other patrons had nothing to worry about as the gunman was a crack shot. His next bullet also hit Doyle in the body and this was followed up with two more shots to the head.

His job complete, the killer placed the gun in his pocket and looked about the room before calmly walking out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't do the crime if you can't get shot numerous times. (Don't do it)

Today marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the pass of Frank Dolak and Benny Holinksy. Who were they you ask? Well they were part of a gang of Bronx kidnappers who thought they would make some quick dough by kidnapping a bookie named Bart Salvo and ransoming him back to his outfit. Unfortunately for they gang they either didn’t know or care that Salvo was a connected mob guy.

To make a long story short, Salvo was snatched and ransomed then it was retribution time. Flush with cash the gang was planning their next move. Dolak and Holinsky picked up a third member of the gang named Miller and they went for a ride. Holinsky at the wheel, Miller riding shotgun and Dolak in the rear.

After a bit Holinksy announced that they were being tailed by whom he thought were cops but were in fact gun toting gangsters sent to kill them. Holinksy pulled over to see if the cops were indeed following them.

Seizing the opportunity the gangster car pulled up alongside and three men, armed with pistols, jumped out. Miller saw what was happening right away and jumped out his door and rolled on the sidewalk, got up and took off as one of the gunmen fired some shots in his direction. Holinsky and Dolak were trapped on the other hand were trapped and the two remaining gunmen pumped bullet after bullet into their bodies. They lingered in the hospital a few hours before expiring.

The full story behind the kidnapping and other depredations of Holinksy & Dolak’s gang can be found in Bad Seeds in the Big Apple.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I ain't afraid of no ghost...Ok maybe this one.

Saturday night 8/28 at 10:00pm
tune in to the Biography Channel's
Find out where Mad Dog Coll can currently be found hanging out.
A unique story we assure you.
Our blogfather Pat Downey supplied the show's producers with some back ground info on the subject's living years which can be found in Gangster City. He may also be seen on the show as a dollar bill slinging club patron along with this guy (providing that they didn't end up on the cutting room floor.)

Happy Days

The summer of 1930 was rich with gangland murder. One of the wars going on at that time was fought in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn between the Shapiro Brothers and what would become Murder Inc.

During the war a Shapiro man named Joey Silvers tried unsuccessfully to kill Harry “Happy” Maione. Maione however squared things with Silvers on this date eighty-years ago. Silvers had just pulled his car out into traffic when Maione and three other men ran up and jumped on his running boards, “You’re the guy who was gonna put me on the spot for Meyer Shapiro and now I’m gonna give it to you.” Maione was heard to yell. Then he gave it to him, a .45 slug in the chest. The gunmen jumped off of Silver’s car and got into a getaway car, which was driving along side, and disappeared.

As AAA will tell you, driving with a .45 slug in the chest is not safe. Silvers careened into some parked cars. An ambulance was called and Silvers was rushed to a hospital where he lingered on long enough to break the underworld code of silence. When asked who shot him the dying gangster replied, “Hap. A guy named Happy.” Of course it took more than the word of an expiring hood to send a guy to jail so Maione remained a free man

Want more about the Shapiro-Murder Inc. war? Check out Gangster City

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wong did it wrong

During the summer of 1921 there was a notorious case in which some Black Handers kidnapped a young boy named Giuseppi Varotta and killed him after his father didn’t pay the ransom.

In Chinatown a twenty-one year old ship’s steward named Hong Wong followed the story and got the idea that black handing shouldn’t be simply an Italian enterprise so got himself some paper and a pen.

Wong however didn’t really understand the intricacies of black mailing; the three or so anonymous letters telling where to drop the money etc. Instead he wrote a note saying, in effect, “Give Hong Wong $350 or meet instant death.” and hand delivered the note to Kong Chong Wing an importer.

Wing read the note while Wong stood by waiting for the payoff. Wing, not doubt perplexed, didn’t do anything right away so Wong whipped out a knife and started slashing away. Luckily for Wing a cop was nearby and subdued the would be black hander.

On this date back in the summer of ’21 Wong pleaded guilty to felonious assault and was shipped off to Sing Sing for 2.5-5 years.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Only Moe knows

In the past twenty-six year old Moe Schwartz was involved in a number of transportation companies and was currently half owner of sight seeing business. On this date back in 1923 Moe told his partner that he had to meet some people on the lower eastside at 9:00pm.

While Moe was waiting at the designated spot two men slipped up behind him and fired three bullets into his back. Schwartz fell face down on the sidewalk as the two gunmen escaped in the pandemonium that followed.

Two cops who happened to be near by took him to the station and then thought it might be prudent to take a man with three bullets in his back to the hospital. Moe cashed in before making it or saying anything about the shooting.

Authorities were perplexed by the shooting because Schwartz didn’t have a police record and was known as an upstanding citizen. Other than the fact that Moe told him that he had a “business engagement” his partner couldn’t (or wouldn’t) shed any light on the murder. Like a lot of the murders on the lower eastside that summer this one was chalked up to Kid Dropper although no motive was given.

Seeing that his killers knew exactly where he was going to be at a certain time it is obvious that he was set up. Perhaps he was a legitimate businessman and was bucking The Dropper’s attempts at extortion or even though he had a clean record, maybe Moe was involved in some dirty dealings after all he kept mum till the end.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Five to one, baby

In the old Whitehand territory of Brooklyn known as Irishtown, now called Dumbo, thirty-four year old Felix Deegan was drunk and arguing with five guys at 10:30pm on this date back in 1924.*

A beat cop came along and shooed away the five guys and told Deegan to go home. An hour later the same officer responded to four gunshots and found Deegan sprawled on the sidewalk with two bullets in his head and two in his chest. Seeing the five men escaping in a taxi the cop commandeered another and gave chase but, alas, the gangsters escaped.

Deegan died during the ambulance ride to the hospital. Even though a .38 was found on his body and his family admitted that he was most likely killed in a gang feud, they denied he was a gangster. In fact he had just passed examinations and was awaiting an appointment in either the police or fire department.

*I have to doubt this portion of the story. Who ever heard of Irish guys getting drunk and arguing?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wrong place wrong time

New York had their very own version of the St. Valentines Day Massacre when three men were kidnapped from a dance club, driven to a remote area, lined up against a wall and mowed down with machine guns. Wow! A mini-massacre. How come we never heard of that before. Well, cause it didn’t really happen that way, but the editors of the daily rags thought it sounded good and, really when you think about it, why bother with facts. However, when only one of the victims died it was learned that .38’s were used and not machine guns so the public was un-impressed and the story was quickly forgotten…til now.

Anthony Ferrara stepped out of a Brooklyn Dance with friends Angelo Ciurrani and Murray Leonardi and he was jumped by two men and dragged to a sedan and tossed into the rear tonneau where gang leader Barney Wolfson and two others waited.

Wolfson informed the two kidnappers that they grabbed the wrong guy, it was Ciurrani that he wanted not Ferrara. You see Wolfson lead a gang of desperadoes that did some robbin’ and supposedly some killin’ and Ciurrani was a former member of a Wolfson mob who had “failed to connect” on a couple of jobs and to make matters worse was now bad mouthing Wolfson. So, with pistols drawn the two men went back and got Ciurrani and Leonardi and forced them into the car at gun point. They only wanted one but since there were three and dead men tell no yarns…

The three amigos were taken to a lumberyard in a secluded part of Brooklyn and lined up against the wall. Unfortunately for Ferrara, Wolfson an ex-marine with much gun experience, stood behind him while Ciurrani and Leonordi had average gun-toting schmoes behind them. The signal was given and Ferrara dropped with a bullet in the head while Ciurrani and Leonardi’s would be executioners missed completely and the duo made a run for it. However, Wolfson managed to bring both down with two shots a piece before they got far.

The killers drove away while Ciurrani and Leonardi, both still alive, began to crawl to safety. Luckily for the wounded men the night watchman from the slaughterhouse across the street heard the shooting and called the authorities who arrived in minutes. Although unconscious when the ambulance arrived, Ciurrani came to in the hospital and told the police what happened.

Five days later police got a tip that a group of gangsters were holing up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn . With upwards of thirty officers armed with shotguns, riot guns and tear gas the authorities surrounded the building. Three detectives made their way to the second story apartment and, hearing voices inside, knocked on the door. No one responded to the knock so the detectives proceeded to blow the lock off the door with a shotgun.

Inside they found seven members of the gang, one, Harry Liebowitz, on the floor screaming over a superficial wound. The others, including Wolfson, were all found hidden around the apartment and gave up without a fight. In addition to a number of robberies and two murders, the police tried to blame the lumber yard shooting on them and after nineteen hours of "questioning" the gang admitted to the shooting.

Twenty-four year old Ferrara, although killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, was a member of the underworld. He had a record dating back to 1922 when he was arrested as a juvenile delinquent. He was arrested again on November 27, 1929 for assault and robbery but discharged only to be arrested a month later with Leonardi for robbery for which both young men were sent to Elmira.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Great Chase

Eighty-nine years ago today at about 5:15 pm thirty-three year old James Savarino came barreling around the corner of Hester Street and starting running up Christie, knocking down whoever got in his way. A few seconds later another man holding a gun turned the corner. He paused for a moment then catching sight of Savarino began the chase anew.

To the witnesses it appeared that Savarino was going to get away but then a Packard touring sedan turned the corner and proceeded to speed the wrong way up the one way street, dodging the on coming cars. As the Packard reached the gunman he fired off one shot to no effect and then jumped on the running board. Savarino was quickly approaching the next corner when the Packard pulled along side him and, as it continued to weave in an out of traffic, the gunman blasted away at the running man.

The first shot from the car hit a woman in the chest causing what doctors considered to be a fatal injury. Two more innocent bystanders were hit before the final shot caught Savarino in the right breast bringing him down.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Murder in da Bronx

In the Bronx back on this date in 1922 twenty-one year old Daniel DeManna was arguing with a couple of other Italian fellers at the intersection of Arthur Avenue and 183rd Street a little before 8:00pm.

The quarrel ended with the two guys issuing threats to DeManna. As the latter went his way they twosome followed him on the other side of the street. Just before they reached Hughes Avenue the two men drew pistols and started banging away at DeManna, who in turn pulled out a .45 and returned the fire.

During the exchange of led DeManna caught a slug under the heart and staggered a few feet before dropping. His assailants fled.

DeManna was taken to the hospital where the police charged him violation of the Sullivan law. They also told him he was probably gonna die and that he should name the guys who perforated him. “I don’t know what it was all about.” He told the detective. He escaped the mandatory jail term for the gun law by dying the next day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gone in 240 seconds

Way back in the days of old one of the Starbucks of the era was the United Cigar Store. You couldn't swing a dead cat in NYC without hitting one. Since nearly everyone smoked back then they did a thriving business and were a constant target of bandits.

During evening rush hour on this date back in 1921 Victor Milch was behind the counter at the shop located at 2095 Eighth Ave. at 113th Street when three young men "correct in their dress and manner" entered.

One of the trio asked for a specific brand of cigarette and when Milch bent over to get them the guy stepped around the counter with a gun. His confederates drew their irons as well. "Get into the back room." Milch was ordered. On the way one of the bandits tripped him and they all jumped on him. One stuffed a gag in his mouth while the other two tied his hands and feet with clothesline.

Once Milch was on the floor the bandits helped themselves to the $45 in the register and sauntered out. Fifteen bucks per man for a possible prison term of fifteen years for armed robbery...Not sure that was worth it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Graveyard shift

At about 3:00 am, on this date back in 1919, police responded to shots heard in a vacant lot that was previously part of a cemetery. There they found a prostrate twenty-eight year old man who identified himself as Tony Santino.

Though shot five times, Tony was still drawing air when police arrived. He gave a brief description of his assailants before yielding up the ghost. Down at the morgue police took his fingerprints and his picture was located in the Rogue’s Gallery under the name of Tony Contino. He had served a sentence in 1916 at Elmira for robbery.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wild wild west

You got your saloon.
You got your swinging doors
You got your six shooter.

But you ain’t got your cowboys. You got New York boys, literally.

On today’s date, a century plus two years ago, eighteen year old Billy Clayborn was standing at the bar of Cohen’s saloon at 103rd & Madison. He was chewing the rag with his pal Harry Weinreid when the swinging doors opened and a pistol popped into view.

A shot was fired and the mirror behind the bar shattered (shadooby). The second one hit Clayborn in the gut. The bartender ran to the doors but was unable to see the shooter. Weinreid hoisted his buddy up and took him to Harlem Hospital where he got all patched up and lived to gang bang another day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Snack attack

Twas this day back in 1921 it twas, that 29-year old nogoodnik Frank Lorrella (probably an alias) was rubbed out in a park job. A park job is kind of like ride job but the car is parked when the victim is killed.

Lorella pulled up to a deli for a sandwich and coffee. After making his purchase he got back in his auto and released the break. As he did so a “squat, swarthy man” appeared and opened fire with a .25 automatic pistol. The first shot missed and Lorella ducked down in the car.

Pedestrians started going bananas but the gunman ignored the mayhem going on around him and walked up to the car and fired four more times hitting Lorella in the throat, arm, side and heart. Frank was done.His mission complete, the killer then escaped through a nearby tenement.

According to his police record Lorella, who had been arrested about ten times over the years, did a ten-month stretch starting on October10, 1910 and got another two years on July 30, 1913. He was last in police custody the previous April 16, when he was arrested for carrying a gun.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tough break for Tough Tony

With a bullet near his heart, "Tough" Tony Bove dropped to the sidewalk eighty-nine years ago today. Some said it was an affair of the heart that lead to the lead. Others, including Tony himself, figured it was the result of another gangland shooting from earlier in the week that resulted in three guys approaching him on the corner of James Street and New Bowery and giving him the bang.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Spaniard Gets the Works

On this fig wee back in 19019 when the sideruns were walked by gangstars. Johnny Lenn- er Spinach was meeting the Yoko for din but before he had a chance to conjoin with the misses Lad Dripper and the moondogs aroached him.

Spinach and Dripper spoke like the wheels they were until one of the moondogs slipped behind Spinach and gave him a couple of fatal kisses.

Spinach wilted and Dripper collected the honey from then on.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends

Turns out all the movies are right. Young men shouldn’t play with guns. They should talk things out instead of…well you know. One who didn’t know or care was twenty-three year old Ed Dempsey.

Ninety-seven years ago this morning at around 1:00a.m. Ed and some of his street gang brethren started banging away at some Eye-talian fellers. Word on the street was that some of Paul Kelly’s old gang were messing around in Gopher territory.

Anyhoo, a gun battle erupted and after a series of shots were fired a cop came running down 41st and between Eighth and Ninth Avenue he saw a couple of the Kelly boys, Jim Monico and Jim Scaraco, limping along. The officer ran up with his gun out and yelled for the two to halt which they did. “They winged us.” Monico said, grabbing his leg. Scaraco appeared to be more than simply winged as his blood leaked through the bottom of his coat onto the sidewalk.

As the policeman questioned the wounded gangsters bullets began to ricochet around them. Someone was firing directly from above. Crazy Irish. Another cop came running up and ran past the trio on the stoop and headed into the dark building. As he approached the stairs the officer saw a flash from a pistol shot and felt a bullet fly past his ear. He fired in the direction of the flash and heard a thump. Then from further down the second floor hall he heard, “Did they get you Eddie?” Indeed. Eddie was got. Asking about Eddie’s well being was his pal Charlie Smith who was captured moments later and forced to carry his buddy outside.

Eddie was deposited in front of the building along with Monico and Scaraco. The latter were asked if Eddie was the guy who shot them. “Never saw him before.” Was the reply. (The cops knew that would be the answer but had to ask)

Before long the whole neighborhood was out and trying to get a close look at the wounded gunmen. A couple dozen cops were called out to keep the mob at bay and they were forced to form a circle around the gangsters until an “auto-ambulance” arrived on the scene. The drive shined the headlights on the trio of wounded guys so the doctor could administer aid. Once he prepped them for the trip they were loaded up and sent to the hospital where Dempsey checked out a short time later.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bad Luck Chuck

Ninety-eight years ago today Chinatown was rocked by another Tong murder when…ok, it didn’t really rock it. Murders were pretty frequent back then I was just trying to jazz things up…anyways thirty year old Hip Sing member Chuck Jow was sitting in the rear of the restaurant he worked at peeling potatoes. (and you thought gang life wasn’t glamorous).

Jow sat near a window working his peeler while a guy with a rifle took aim from the roof of the building across the back lot. Five times the trigger was pulled and two bullets went into Chuck’s neck and another in his head. Taters were off the menu.

Why would anyone want to kill a spud stud? Turns out that Jow was formerly a member of the On Leong who switched allegiances. Not saying that’s why he was killed but just throwing it out there.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Don't talk, don't talk to strangers.

Almost seven weeks after his brother was found nearly decapitated at Coney Island, thirty-four year old Sylvio Melchiorre, who told police he had no idea why anyone would want to kill his brother, was shot down outside his Venetian café in Little Italy on this date back in 1921.

According to witnesses, of whom there were many since the murder took place at noon on a Saturday, Sylvio was outside his café conducting business with the iceman. After having a youth point him out, a stranger went up to the intended victim and attempted a conversation.

Melchiorre waved him off and continued talking with the iceman but then the stranger said something that made Melchiorre angry because the two men began to argue. During the heated debate the stranger made sure that Melchiorre continued to face him so he wouldn’t notice the gunman coming up from behind.

As the café owner waved his arms about yelling at the stranger the gunman crept up, drew his pistol and fired five times. Each bullet found it’s mark and Melchiorre fell to the sidewalk dead. The gunman returned his gun to his holster while the first man spoke to him. Both men split up and escaped in different directions.

That thar is most likely a pic of Melchiorre at the top of the blog.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

G-Men get their man

We leave the safe confines of NYC of yesteryear to bring a special edition of DGIS

On this night in 1973 Warren Oates walked out of a movie theater with Pamela Sue Martin and Phyllis, the trio having just viewed The Hooker Cult Murders, and after taking a few steps G-Men, lead by SAC Lawrence Tierney, came up and began shooting at Oates.

History dictates that special agents Mark Harmon and John Depp were the men who brought the character actor down but gangster enthusiast tend to believe that it was in fact Oklahoma lawmen Scott Peters and Robert Conrad who actually fired the forty-seven fatal shots.

There are some that say Oates didn’t really die that night, that it was an Oates look-a-like and that the actor spent another ten years or so making movies before retiring to Mexico but there is little to support this theory.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

All for naught

Eighty-eight years ago today New York City was treated to a good old fashioned, though at the time modern, cops and robbers chase. At 1:00pm a truck containing Jacob Laux, VP of the Stutz Cigar Box Co. was riding in a truck along with a cash box containing the company's payroll of about $5200.

At the intersection of Broome and Columbia a car pulled up and three men jumped out. Two of them pointed pistols at the driver and told him to stop. The third man jumped into the truck with a crow bar and pried open the cash box and grabbed a sack containing the dough. The gunmen jumped back into their car and took off.

Laux ran to the nearest police station and reported the crime. Alarms went out to all bridge and tunnels. Back in them days each bridge and tunnel had stations with attendants. The Queensboro Bridge station called police officer Michael Neu in his booth and was giving him the details when he saw a speeding sedan approaching. “I think I’ve got them now.” He said and hung up the phone.

The bandits zipped by Neu at a breath taking 65mph and the officer jumped on the running board of a large touring car and told the driver to pursue the bandits. Both cars entered Long Island City and continued the chase. As they turned into Crescent street George Asher, a chauffeur for a police lieutenant, saw the chase and joined.

As the cars were racing through the streets Neu began firing at the bandits. The driver started to swerve to avoid being hit but ended up hitting a pile of sewer pipes and losing a tire. Sans rear wheel the bandits out flipped on its side and all the four occupants were thrown from the wreckage.

The driver and the guy riding shot gun got up and escaped through some empty lots. The two guys from the back seat ran in the opposite direction with Neu pursuing. One of them carried the loot and the other a pistol. He turned to fire at Neu who fired back until he was out of ammo.

In the meantime the Asher, the police chauffeur, drove around the lots and waited on the other side. Moments later the bandits came his way. The gunman fired his final shots at the chauffeur then tossed his gun aside. Asher then charged him and dropped him with a punch to the jaw. Neu closed in and got the yegg with the money pouch.

The two bandits were identified as Harry Cohen and Harry Walker and they went to the pokey without spilling the names of their confederates.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Personally, I think it was Elsie & Elmer

Twas ninety-years ago today that two bandits liberated nearly ten grand from the Borden Milk Company’s Westside operation which was located at 400 West 29th Street. As was custom the branch superintendent Bill Thieler went to the companies stables across the street and got a company buggy and brought it up to the Borden building. Once the buggy arrived company cashier Bill Fowler stepped out of the building with a tin box containing $9,853 in cash and another $600 in checks.

As Fowler approached the buggy a passing pedestrian suddenly grabbed him and placed his hand over his mouth and pushed the cashier up against a railing. The man then pushed a pistol in Fowler’s stomach. Simultaneously another man trained a pistol on Thieler and grabbed the cash box from the cashier’s hand.
The gunmen then ran a short distance down the street, waving their pistols at any would be heroes, and jumped into a Ford and made their getaway. The milk employees stood by helpless with their horse and buggy. Technology favors the criminal.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Clipped Wing(er)

Thirty-year old New York gangster Edward Winger had just gotten back from Philadelphia and registered at Lower Eastside bathhouse. There he hooked up with a man he knew only as “Louie”.

On this date back in 1929 Winger and “Louie” were walking together on the Lower eastside when a slow moving sedan pulled up and a gunmen shot Winger. “Louie” made a run for it. Winger was taken to the hospital where he refused to say anything other than he was with “Louie”. The police continued to question him but he remained mum until he died the following day.

Rumor had it that the gunmen were music fans from the future looking to prevent the birth of somebody named Kip Winger.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Off On

Fifty-five year old Chu On was a member of the Four Brothers Tong and Chinatown gossip had it that he was one of the men responsible for the infamous murder of actor and Chinese Theatre manager Ah Hong the previous year.

Since that killing On had been staying in Albany making periodic visits to the city. It was on one such visit exactly one hundred years ago today that he crossed the border from Pell Street over in to Mott Street, the territory of the rival On Leong tong, and was shot five times; twice in the chest, twice in the back and once in the wrist. A cop who was nearby caught the gunman after a short chase over some rooftops.

Chung Sam Lok, the head of Four Brothers Tong, assured the police that their would be no outbreak of war saying in effect that On got what he deserved for going onto Mott Street. “Chu On did wrong,” Said the Tong leader, “He knew he musn’t go on Mott Street. He knew he would get shot. He went there a few days ago. He got a warning, but he did not need a warning. He knew they would shoot him…This shooting today means nothing new. There is no new quarrel between the On Leongs and Four Brothers. It’s just the rule, On Leongs keep off Pell Street or get shot; Four Brothers Keep off Mott Street or get shot.”

On died the following day. Like the smoke from an opium pipe word spread through the narrow streets and alleys of Chinatown that the surviving On brothers, Dream, Get and Hold vowed to avenge their brother's murder but Chung Sam Lok had them exiled to the streets of San Francisco.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The episode of My Ghost Story with Vincent Coll will not be on this Saturday July 17. Other ghostly goodness but not the Mad Dog episode. When I find out the air date so will you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's no longer make believe

Dead Guys in Suits is now on Twitter.


Lets Gangster Twitty.

On the Waterfront

Ah the good old days, friends I'm talkin' back before gangsters wore fedoras and fancy coats with velvet collars, before they drove big six-cylinder cars and sprayed streets with Tommy-guns, before they made millions in booze and labor rackets. Yeah, brothers and sisters I’m talking about the hazy lazydays of yesteryear, when the clippity clop of horse hooves could be heard on cobblestone, when dames with parasols paraded up and down Fifth Ave., when a Westside mob known as the “Growler Gang” pilfered the docks for something that could be sold for beer money. The simplicity of it. Goons want beer but have no money. Goons go to docks and steal. Goons sell merchandise. Goons get beer. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

Who were the Growlers? Well they were the motley crew that replaced the “Slaughter House Gang” that’s who the Growlers were and that should be good enough for you. What did the Slaughter House gang do? They used to rob the captains of the many scows and barges that docked on the Westside for beer money. (See a pattern forming?)

So as I was saying 110 years ago today the Growlers were hanging out by the river when they saw a lumber scow stacked with, you guessed it, lumber, and jumped aboard. The Growlers grabbed a single board and attempted to make off with it. An employee of said scow tried to stop them and ended up going for a swim.

Seeing this, a number of barge captains charged the Growlers as they were making their way down the dock but ended up being turned back under a hail of rocks and anything else the Growlers could find to throw at them.

One of the would be heroes, Andrew Evensen, the captain of a Norwegian barge, drew a pistol and fired into the air. Loud noises only angered the Growlers however, and they chased Evensen back to his scow where the captain ran into his cabin. The Growlers tried to enter Evensen’s quarters and he fired a shot that hit one of the lead Growlers, Ed Shine, in the shoulder. Eager for beer money Shine informed his comrades that the captain was indeed only firing blanks and that they should continue with there Growlery. They continued their push forward and Evensen fired again hitting Growler, Bill Martin, in the leg. Bill wasn’t made of the same stuff as Shine and he went down without pushing the blanks charade.

Seeing that the captain meant business the remaining Growlers picked up Martin and beat a hasty retreat but left him to his fate when a cop came running up. Shine and Martin were sent to the hospital and Captain Evensen was tossed in jail. After all we can’t have any Norwegians shooting our beer deprived thugs now can we?

Monday, July 12, 2010

W'e're back

The fishing trip was a success. DGIS interns are currently gutting and cleaning everything that came within a 400 foot radius of the DGIS Nautilypso. But now it's time to get back to work, and by that we mean slack.

Some updates- Coming up this Saturday July 17, on A&E Biography at 10:00pm is a show titled My Ghost Story. The subject of this show is John Colasanti owner of who's club is haunted by Vincent Coll. John has a unique family history that DGIS readers will no doubt be interested in. We here at DGIS also assisted with some back ground info on the Mad Dog. So set your tivo or mark your calendars and tune in.

Also the Legs Diamond book is complete and waiting for a "Yay" or "Nay" from a prospective publisher. When we hear something so will you.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Marks X the spot

Murray Marks, a member of Waxey Gordon’s mob, got his on this date back in 1933. Originally from St. Louis Marks was involved in the narcotics side of the Gordon empire. He lived in the same Bronx apartment complex where Joe “The Boss” Masseria’s lieutenants Steve Ferrigno and Al Mineo were cut down by shotguns less than three years earlier during the Castellemarese War.

During the spring and summer of '33 while Gordon's herd was being thinned Marks exited a Bronx bus at the intersection of Pelham Parkway South and White Plains Avenue when a gunman ran up and fired five shots at him. Two bullets found their mark and proved fatal while the gunman jumped into a waiting sedan and sped off.

A search of Marks apartment turned up a pound of opium but more interestingly a search of an abandoned apartment across the courtyard turned up a high-powered rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. Not only did Marks live in the same complex where Mineo and Ferrigno were gunned down but he almost met the exact same fate.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just say no, again

Return with me if you will to Harlem's little Italy, more specifically East 107th Street eighty-five years ago today. This time the victim was Angelo Marino a bootlegger and drug dealer who had recently been released from Sing Sing.

It was a little after midnight and Marino had just conducted some business in a tenement there and when he got into his car as many as six men came up along the rear and opened fire. A number of bullets peppered the car and two of them struck Marino in the head killing him. Unfortunately there were pedestrians in the street at the time and as Marino slumped over his steering wheel, a woman was killed when a bullet entered the back of her head.

The police interviewed everyone in the tenement that Marino emerged from but nobody admitted having met with him. The police did however find a shoebox on the roof of the building containing $3,000 worth of drugs.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Murphy's law

John Murphy was a pretty sad gunman if you look at his record:
Arrested 1/16/02 for assault term one year
Thirteen months later arrested for burglary. Term one year
Fourteen months later arrested for shooting a guy. Term seven years released early for good behavior.
February 17, 1910 Murphy and his pal, Bill Duffy, enter a Bowery lodging house and hit up a guy named Fred Devlin for some booze money. Devlin gives them a dime, all the money he had, and they shoot him to death. Murphy flees the city for Middletown New York.

Murphy and his moll were either having a very late dinner or very early breakfast at a Middletown chop suey joint at 2:00am, one hundred years ago today, when a handful of cops walked in. They had received a description of Murphy from the NYPD and decided a guy who fit the bill had been hanging out in their town for awhile.

Seeing the law approach his table Murphy slurped his remaining noodles and made a run for it. He came to a stairwell and ran upstairs the officers close on his heals. On the landing he pulled out his gun but was unable to make it speak before the cops subdued him and dragged him off to jail.

Murphy was returned to NYC where he was placed on trial for the Devlin killing and found guilty of murder in the second degree.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Curtains for Curto

Eighty-one years ago tonight at around 10:15pm the still warm body of Gandolfo Curto was found in Queens with bullet wounds to the head and neck. Curto was known all along Broadway and in the underworld as Frankie Marlow.

He was a first rank gangster involved in bootlegging, night clubs, boxing and all those things that gangsters like to get involved with, especially showgirls. But seemingly he was always behind the eight ball and owed large amounts of money.

One of those he owed was Joe “The Boss” Masseria and by 1929 the Boss had had enough of Signore Curto. This night in 1929 found Marlow dining with some friends and a showgirl whom he had knocked up and was causing a fuss. While at the restaurant he received a phone call and said he had to go meet somebody. He walked over to the corner of Broadway & 52nd where a sedan pulled up and he got in. Forty-five minutes later he was in Queens in the previous mentioned condition.

For more on Marlowe you are invited to check out Gangster City.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Hal Roach studios

I’m pretty sure today’s entry was later used as a plot in a Laurel & Hardy short in the early Thirties. Here’s the rumpus- A milk man, Harry Wanders, testified against a robber named Tom Swain who received five years in Sing Sing as a result of said testimony. Swain’s pals let Wanders know that they were going to get him.

As a result of the threat Wanders went to police headquarters and asked permission to carry a gun. Whether it was granted or paper work took time was never explained but the milk man left for work the next day packing heat. Little did he know however, because the police didn’t tell him, two Detectives, lets call them Stan & Ollie were told to trail Swain and protect him from Swain's gang.

Eighty-eight years ago today as Wanders was pulling up for work he saw the detectives talking to another milk man and assumed that they were members of Swain’s gang and peeled out. Seeing Wanders speed off, Stan & Ollie assumed that he was a member of Swain’s gang and jumped in a car and went after him.

After a bit of driving Stan and/or Ollie started to shoot at Wanders, who, fearing for his life returned the fire. After a mile long car chase with guns a-barkin’ Wanders ran out of ammo and pulled over. Stan & Ollie pulled up and flipped their badges. “Oh, you’re detectives?!?!?! I thought…”

Detective Ollie then turned to Detective Stan and said, “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” To which Detective Stan replied, whilst scratching his head and fighting back tears, “I couldn’t help it. He sped and the gun…”

Oh, and the reason we can’t be sure if Wanders got permission to carry a pistol is because even though L&H were charged with protecting him, they arrested him for violation of the Sullivan law.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Standing on the corner watching all the girls go- BYE!

A feller identified as Charles Stattler a.k.a Stadter went the way of all gangster flesh on this date back in "Bloody '31" as I like to refer to it. Charles had been a member of Little Augie Orgen's gang until the gang leaders demise and was, up until his death working as a “muscler” in a beer gang run by a gangster known as “Spunky” Weiss.

At 5:40pm Stattler was standing on a corner -reportedly humming "Flowers on the wall"-waiting for someone as the rush hour traffic passed him. Four men, each carrying a pistol, advanced from behind and when they reached Stattler, they opened fire. The ex-Little Augie henchman dropped to the curb with three bullets in the back of his head. One of the shots went wild slightly wounding a young woman.

The four killers melted into the large crowd that gathered and made their escape. The police had two theories for the murder; one that Stattler was the victim of feud between Sing Sing prisoners of which he was one in 1928 and the other being that he was put on the spot by rival bootleggers for trying to muscle in on their territory. Take your pick, or better yet share one of your own.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Nothing to do to save his life, call his wife in...

Today marks the seventy-ninth anniversary of the killing of thirty-one year old John Saricelli described by the New York Herald as "a superintendent of a fleet of trucks used to transport Dutch Schultz’s beer into Harlem and Bronx speakeasies." Saricelli was a victim of the Schultz-Coll war that was raging in the summer of '31.

At 3:45 am two gunmen went to his house and rang his doorbell. Saricelli made his way downstairs and answered the door. Armed with a .45's, one of the men bid Saricelli, “Good morning.” Then both fired one shot each into the bootlegger’s chest.

The gunmen fled as Saricelli stumbled into his kitchen and had his wife light him a cigarette before allowing her to call an ambulance. Once in the "wagon" The police pumped him for information but Saricelli kept to the gangster code. “Get away. Don’t bother me. I know I’m dying but you get nothing from me.” And they didn't. Sometimes a day job doesn't seem all that bad.