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

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reading is fudimetal (or something like dat)

Looking for a summer read? Well there is this new book out:

However if you think there has already been to much written on Luciano perhaps you would prefer this:

Maybe New York isn't your thing maybe you're more of a Chicago person then there is always this:

I haven't read any of them so can't say "yeah" or "nay" if you want to learn more about them they are on that Amazon thingy above.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gopher it!

95 years ago today Owney Madden was sitting in a courtroom listening to a former bed partner, 19-year old Frieda Horner, give damning testimony in his murder trial for Patsy Doyle.

"I used to go around with Patsy Doyle until three days before he was shot. At that time I met Madden at a racket in Tammany Hall. I was with Madden for two nights after that. On the night Doyle was killed I was in a Tenth ave. lunchroom with the Madden crowd. I told them Doyle had said they were a bunch of bums."

They used Frieda to get Doyle on the phone and then headed over to a saloon to kill him.

Frieda went on to say that Madden had planned the murder for weeks. She also stated that she ran into her friend Margret Everdeane who was also privy to the murder and the latter had stated that Owney had told her that he would, "throw her in the river if she didn't stick with [him].

In a previous trial for one of Madden's gunmen Frieda lied to protect Owney. Why the change of heart? Since then she spoke with a priest and decided to come clean.

Will Frieda's confession have an effect on the trial's outcome? Will Owney Madden walk away a free man? Will Bob Hoskins ever play him in a movie? Tune in tomorrow, or possibly a next day to find out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Every other day, every other day of the week is fine. Yeah.

Just as they did every Monday, Monday at about 5:00pm Sam Adelman, Joseph Velsor and Abraham Stern left the Jefferson Bank at Clinton and East Houston to transport money to the main bank at Canal and Forsythe.

Every Monday, Monday it was the same routine take First Street to the Second Avenue El and ride it down to Canal St and this particular Monday, Monday one hundred and two years ago today, the three bank employees – Adelman and Stern messengers and Velsor a bookkeeper- were carrying $43,000, a cool million in today’s dollars. Adelman carried the lions share in large valise. Oh, and they were unarmed.

You could set your watch by the Adelman trio's weekly trip and Casimo Riccobono and two others did so and were waiting in ambush. As the trio of bank employees passed 83 First Street. Riccobono and his confederates attacked. First they threw pepper into eyes of the messengers and then Riccobono and an accomplice started to beat Adelman with black jacks. The third bandit fought with Stern and Velsor while his companions worked on their buddy who, though blind and beaten, refused to give up his bag.

The street was crowded with rush hour traffic but nobody intervened until a young woman ran out of her building and began to wrestle with Riccobono. Getting desperate one of the bandits pulled out a knife and began sawing through Adelman’s wrist but he still held on to the bag. Meanwhile Riccobono, pulled out a clasp knife, opened it with his teeth, while fighting with the girl and started to stab Adelman.

At this point men who had been watching jumped in and started to fight the marauders causing them to flee without any coin.

Riccobono headed to First Avenue and went up an turned onto Second Street. A cop who was on the corner of Third saw him, his clothes covered in Adelman’s blood, and a group of boys following him. The officer approached him and asked what the trouble was.

Riccobono told the officer he had been in a fight and wanted to go home. The patrol turned him around and said he wanted to investigate the fight. Then one of the boys said, “He just killed three men over in First Street.”

Riccobono was returned to the scene of the crime and identified as one of the bandits. His confederates escaped. The boy was wrong however, nobody had been killed. Adelman and his partners were all treated for their wounds and lived to transport large sums of money without protection another day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Barren gets shot down.

Known as "The man with the big bankroll" fifty-seven year old Barren D. Wilkins, owner of the Exclusive Club, was the most powerful man in what the Times called Harlem's "Black belt". Since he was an easy touch for anyone in need he was quite popular in the neighborhood.

Wilkins arrived in Harlem back in 1903 and began to prosper with a cabaret that his brother owned. In addition to New York City clubs he was the financial backer of resorts in Atlantic City and was also active in the sporting world where he financed heavy weight champion Jack Johnson as well as all the teams in New York’s Negro League.

Though apolitical, Wilkins became important in elections swaying votes to either the Democrats or Republicans, his influence supporting the party whose victory would best serve Wilkins and though his cabaret ran without a license and survived raid after raid he maintained that he did not pay for Police protection.

One of the people who often hit Wilkins up for a hand out was a gambler and drug addict named Julius “Yellow Charleston” Miller and on this date in 1924, Miller was shooting dice with five other men. “Yellow Charleston” went broke and tried to hit another player, John Parker, up for a loan but Parker refused and informed “Yellow Charleston” that if he was out of money he was out of the game. "Yellow" responded by drawing a gun and shooting Parker in the stomach.

After shooting Parker, “Yellow Charleston” ran out of the basement and up the street to the Exclusive Club where Wilkins was standing out front speaking with a guy named Benny “Yum Yum”. (Editors note: I believe it was law back then to have a cool nick name)

“Yellow Charleston” ran up to Wilkins and said, “I just shot a guy and need a hundred dollars for a get away.” “I haven’t got that much money.” Wilkins replied. An answer that “Yellow Charleston” found unacceptable. Desperate, "Yellow Charleston"drew his gun and sent three bullets into, as he would be subsquently described by his fellow Harlemites, “The finest man who ever lived”.

As Wilkins dropped to the ground “Yellow Charleston” stuck his gun in “Yum Yum’s” face and pulled the trigger but lady luck smiled on “Yum Yum” and the gun did not go off. “Yellow Charleston” forced a taxi to stop at gunpoint and made the driver take him to Jersey City.

Wilkins and Parker were taken to the hospital where the former succumbed to his wounds. As word of the shooting spread a large mob of Wilkins friends, supporters and those he helped over the years congregated at the Exclusive Club and for blocks around. Amidst the sobbing and wailing folks extolled the memory of Wilkins and his generosity. Then the got angry.

A rumor spread that “Yellow Charleston” was still in Harlem so vigilante groups began searching the streets for the man who was actually walking about Jersey City wondering what his next move would be. The following day, fearing that he would be lynched by the vengeance seeking residents of Harlem, “Yellow Charleston” came back to the city and surrendered to the police.

Though spared a lynching "Yellow Charleston" paid the price for murdering Wilkins by copping a squat in Sing Sing's hot seat on September 17, 1925.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday, in the park, I think it was the 22nd of May

Ah, yes a leisurely stroll through the Brooklyn woods, some wild flowers over there, quick look! Was that a pheasant? I believe it was. What a nice way to spend May 22, in 1910 Flatbush. Let’s check the DGIS Map app to see where we are exactly…hmm Paedergat Avenue and 41st street, doesn’t look like this area exist anymore. I see a Paedergat park which I suspect is what remains of this bucolic setting.

Birds are singing, children are playing, young lovers are wishing society wasn’t so uptight about premarital s- But wait, this is Brooklyn, and we’re on a DGIS expedition, I bet if we look around a bit…uh, huh just as I suspected there it is over there amongst those trees. A dead guy. Appears to be Italian. Wow they sure did a number on him with a knife.

Let’s count the wounds. I’ll start with the belly you do his chest and head. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Seven. How many did you count? That makes a total of fifteen. Judging by the fact that they also cut off his nose, right cheek and half of his right year I’d say his killers were pretty mad, or didn’t want anyone to identify him. The long slit in his left hand and the fact that part of his right hand is cut off leads me to believe that this unfortunate fellow put up quite a struggle before yielding up the ghost.

What’s that? Good observation! No excess blood, he was dumped here after death. There is an Italian neighborhood just north of here, they call it “Pig town”, now that’s not very pc, what an odd time, you can call an ethnic neighborhood “Pig town” but you have to wear a three piece suit when you go swimming. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah the Italian neighborhood we could go see if anyone there noticed anything but experience tells me it would just be a waste of time. So let’s go to Coney!!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Today marks the 110th anniversary of Constantine Steiger alias Fritz Meyer, saddling up and riding the lightning at Sing Sing.

Three years previously Steiger was in the process of robbing the poor box in the Church of the Holy Redeemer on Third Street between aves. A & B when he set off and alarm. Two priest called for the police and two cops came to investigate. One of them, Patrolman Fred Smith walked in on him and Steiger, who was already wanted for the murder of a bell ringer (When's the last time you saw that on a resume?) for the Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Williamsburg Brooklyn, shot and killed the officer.

Officer Smith’s partner saw Steiger trying to escape by window and yelled to some pedestrians who captured him. Along the walk to the precinct house Steiger suffered many abrasions and contusions from neighborhood folk as well as, no doubt, from the boys in blue who just lost a pal.

When time came for the final walk Steiger received no sacraments from the church, not because they were bad sports simply because he was an atheist . He didn’t however object to being escorted to the chair by a priest. And it was to him that Steiger spoke his last simple words. “Good bye father Sander.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Yegg Heads

Now I did a few things during my college years that in retrospect probably weren’t to smart. I suspect most of us have but getting shot in the head by cop because of my own stupid actions wasn’t one of them. Anyone else who can say that please step forward. Not so fast Edgar Cook.

On this date way back in aught eight (of the previous century that is) eighteen year old Edgar Cook and his pal, twenty-one year old Howard Cole, both students of Columbia University decided that some collegiate nonsense was in order. So instead of getting drunk and paddling each others asses or going on a panty raid they figured it would be funsies to break into a small sundries booth that sold soda, tobacco and candy located at 123rd Street and Riverside Drive.

So there the brainiacs were trying to break into this kiosk when a cop, officer Hurton, shows up. They see him and run off. Hurton fires shot into the air and Cole freezes. Hearing the shot another cop runs up and grabs Cole while Hurton chases Cook. Hurton fires another warning shot. College boy continues to run. Hurton fires another shot and ends both the chase and Cook’s semester by drilling him in the back of the head behind the left ear.

“It’s my fault,” Cook admitted while laying in his own blood. “I was a blamed fool to run.”

Yes you were Cook. As any hoodlum worth his salt would have told you. Cops back then would just as well shoot you as chase you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And we're back

Tan, rested and ready. So without any further ado- On this date back in 1930 Twenty-five year old Jack Valenti was found in a vacant lot in Brooklyn where four bullets had, “…ripped holes in his face and head…” Though they did not elaborate, police said that Valenti had plans to kill another gangster who had killed one of Valenti’s gangster relatives and that he “Talked out of turn” before he was able to do the job. He had a record of four arrests since 1926 one of which, in August of 1929 for felonious assault, led to a conviction but he was able to get the charge reduced to disorderly conduct and got off with only paying a $100 fine.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Twisting the night away

Ah, spring. Time for the first long weekend of the warm season. The DGIS staff believes they get a four day weekend because I'm a generous dictator but they won't realize it's unpaid until the next pay cycle...ha ha ha suckers!

Anyways, we'll sign off with another chap who was enjoying his first spring outing 102 years ago today. 'Ol Kid Twist Zweifach himself went out to Coney Island for opening day with his pal Cyclone Louie. In tow were a couple of gals who worked as singers in the Coney Island resorts. The girl with Kid Twist was the former twist for an Italian hood named Louie the Lump.

To make a short story shorter Louie caught up with Kid Twist on the boardwalk and perforated both him and Cyclone Louie but good. For more in depth coverage you can read about this spring time bloodbath in Gangster City, Gangs of NY and the Starker. All fine books that can be found on this site.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lire, lire pants on fire

Banking clerk rule #1- Never invite shabbily dressed men behind the partition. Why? Well I'll let Sylvio Allocco the manager/cashier of Anthony Sassa & Son bank located at 64th Street and 14th ave in Lefferts Park, Brooklyn answer that.

It was a day not unlike today, in fact it was this very day in 1921

There I was behind the counter when two roughly dressed men entered the bank and told me that they were returning to Italy and wanted to exchange their American currency for lire. I told them to figure out how much they wanted and they sat by themselves for ten minutes. One of the men then said, "We can't figure this out. We wish you would do that for us."

Happy to help my fellow countrymen I invited them behind the counter. As I sat to help them out one of the men bashed me over the head with something heavy knocking me down with a big bleeding gash. I yelled for help but one of them stuffed a handkerchief in my mouth and then they dragged me across the floor and tied me to a radiator.

The shabbily dressed men then helped themselves to $7,000 in coin and paper before fleeing out the back of the bank.

"Yes Mickey."
"How do you call for help?"
"Come here help!"
"And if no one answers?"
"Oh, help."
"And if no one still doesn't answer?"
"I kick the phone off my desk and shout 'Thieves! Robbers!' until help arrives.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sloane slain

Today marks the seventy-ninth anniversary of the murder of Roy Sloane. Roy was a college educated guy who found joy in making his living by breaking the law as opposed to breaking his ass and turning himself into something.

His passion was cars, he couldn't walk by a Nash without stealing it. His habits of course earned him a scholarship to the University of Sing Sing and while spending a good portion of the 1920's in the institution he continued to hit the books, legal and otherwise, and managed to argue his way out of prison.

This earned him about 7 1/2 minutes of fame as a boy turned around by his prison experience and now ready to make good with his life. Of course it was a sham and Roy received his second
7 1/2 minutes of fame about five months later when he stepped out of speakeasy and was erased by two shotgun blasts.

If you would like to learn more about Sloane the scholar I invite you to read Bad Seeds in the Big Apple.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Smoke this!

In the Brownsville section of Brooklyn there was a war going on between gangsters vying for control of the laundry racket. “Doggy” (Augie?) Ginsburg was the head of one of the factions fighting

On this date back in Nineteen Hundred and Twenty Five (I just can't get enough of that sweet stuff. Whoa, oh I, oh oh I) a “smoker” was held by the Durant Social club of East New York and “Doggy” Ginsburg was one of the two hundred men in attendance. As the show was about to get underway Ginsburg suddenly let out a groan and keeled over.

He had been shot in the head and left breast by a pistol equipped with a silencer. Nobody moved as three gunmen made their way to “Doggy”. As they stepped over him, one of the gunmen reached down and took something out of the dead mans pocket then the men exited the dining hall.

Before they got into their cars, Hyman Jacobson, a Ginsberg man, ran out after them and the gunmen fired a volley and a bullet smashed into Jacobson’s heart killing him.

When the police arrived they found Jacobson dead out front and “Doggy” inside. Fifteen men who had not run away were questioned and it was through them that the police got the news about the “wet wash war”.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rack 'em

Eighty-nine years ago today Hugh Smollen was hanging out at the pool hall he managed on the second floor of 1849 Broadway watching two guys shoot a game. During the play a young guy, who would subsequently be identified as nineteen year old Cornelius Brady came in and took a seat.

After the game the two players left and Brady pulled out a gun and ordered Smollen into the john. While the manager was inside he heard Brady opening the register. Not one to sit idly by while his place of business was being robbed Smollen came out of the bathroom and grabbed the first thing he could find, a billiard ball, and launched at the thief.
Brady ducked.
Smollen grabbed a pool cue and threw that.
Brady ducked.
Smolled kept up a steady fire of pool balls and cues.
Brady continued to duck but did return some balls.
After a couple of minutes Brady decided he had enough and ran from the joint. Smollen ran to the window and yelled down to a cop. The officer saw Brady run from the building and chased him for a few blocks and caught him at West 6oth. Brady was then hustled back to the police station. Get it, hustled...pool...hustle...Paul Newman....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This here's a stick up!

The Midwest wasn’t the only place plagued with bank robberies during the Public Enemy crime wave of 1933-1934.

On this date in the second year of the wave at exactly 2:20pm a blue sedan pulled up in front of the Prudential Savings Bank located at 1872 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn. Five men, each wearing sunglasses, got out and entered the bank.

This was the perfect time because as the bandits knew, the armed guard was out making a cash pick-up, the manager was out to lunch and the VP had left an hour earlier. Those on hand were four tellers and six customers.

Once inside each man pulled a tommy gun out from under his coat and got to work. The lead pulled a Dillinger and leapt over the tellers cage and stuck his muzzle in the tellers stomach and said, “Move or turn and I’ll put the gun through you.” He then ordered all the tellers to lie on the floor.

While this was happening three of the other gunmen pulled out their machine-guns and pointed them at the customers. “Line up against the wall.” One of them barked. “Keep your faces to the wall. If you turn , I’ll riddle you with bullets.” The fifth guy kept watch at the door sans machine-gun.

Once the patrons were against the wall and the tellers on the floor, two of the robbers joined the first behind the cages and started to fill pillowcases with cash. Next was the vault, which was closed. One of the tellers found a machine gun pointed at him and heard, “Get up and open that vault.”
Trying to by time he replied, “I don’t know the combination. That’s not m job.”
“You’ll open that vault or I’ll blow you to bits.”
After that exchange another bandit poked a different teller with his gun.
“Get up and open that vault.”
This teller had no intention of tempting fate and opened the safe with the gun pressed into his lower back.

Once the vault was opened two guys went in with the pillow cases and filled up. While this was taking place a customer tried to enter the bank but was stopped by the look out.
“If you’ll wait madam, for just a minute, I’ll be able to take care of you.” He said with a smile not letting her in. The woman walked off planning to return shortly.

After about five minutes it was time to go. “You stay right on that floor.” The lead said to the tellers. “We’re keeping you covered.” The bandits slipped out and into a blue sedan which wheeled them to a clean getaway(or did they?)
The take, just $61 dollars shy of $23K.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dead guys in Derbies

After numerous early morning meetings (thanks for eating all the donuts AV guys) we here at the DGIS studios decided that it would be fun to infuse new blood into the operation and have a guest blogger. We know that there are rumors circulating that this is simply a way to get out of work because we're all hung over from our annual seis de mayo party but thats only half true. So without any further ado please welcome our friend from Nobody Move John DuMond. John is a top notch true-crime researcher and his work is always a joy to read.


On this day in 1896, Dr. Herman Mudgett (aka Dr. H.H. Holmes) was well hung. No, that's not quite right. Hung well? No. He was really hung? No, still wrong. How about hung by the neck until dead? Yeah, that'll do.

Mudgett, a pioneer in the field of serial killing (committing the crimes, not solving them), was one of this country's first identified serial killers. The total number of his victims remains unknown to this day. He confessed to twenty-seven, but estimates have been as high as two hundred.

Mudgett got his start mutilating corpses he stole from his alma mater's medical school laboratory. He later progressed to live victims, eventually opening a hotel in Chicago during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition that he turned into a house of horrors. The hotel, later dubbed the "Murder Castle" by the press, contained secret rooms where Mudgett would torture and kill his victims. Many of Mudgett's victims were his employees, who, as a condition of employment, took out life insurance policies naming Mudgett as beneficiary. Apparently the good doctor believed in mixing business with pleasure.

After the World's Fair ended, Mudgett left Chicago for greener pastures--or at least pastures where he wouldn't be hounded by creditors. He traveled the U.S. and Canada, perpetrating various scams and murdering when he got the chance. He was eventually arrested in Boston after a former accomplice in one of his scams ratted him out. It seems the accomplice was unhappy about not being paid his share of the loot.

Mudgett was transported to Philadelphia, where he was a suspect in the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, who was an accomplice in one of his scams.

While Mudgett was in custody in the City of Brotherly Love, police in Chicago took an interest in the Hotel that Mudgett had opened there. A custodian informed them that he had never been allowed to clean certain areas of the hotel. A search of the forbidden rooms turned up evidence of Mudgett's murderous hobby.

Mudgett was tried and convicted for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel. He eventually confessed to 27 murders and a half dozen attempted murders. He was sentenced to death by hanging and executed on May 7, 1896. The execution took over 15 minutes, as Mudgett's neck didn't snap when he dropped through the trap door. Per his request, he was buried in concrete so his body could not be exhumed and dissected.

Even though Mudgett was more prolific than Jack the Ripper, he never achieved Jack's level of notoriety. I guess he could have used a good publicist.

Further reading:
Herman Mudgett article at Crime Library
Herman Mudgett article at Wikipedia
Philadelphia Weekly article

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Two Gun saga conclusion

Tomorrow marks the 79th anniversary Two- Gun Crowley being taken out of circulation. After the murder of Hirsh Crowley and Helen returned to New York City and went to the apartment that Crowley had been sharing with his now ex-girl friend Billie Dunne. Crowley informed Billie that he and Helen were together and that she could either go with Duringer or get lost.

You’d think the most wanted gunman in NYC would be a little more careful but Crowley was never accused of being to smart. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned the old cliché tells us and Billie, who worked at the Primrose dance hall like the late Virginia Brannen, didn’t take the news so well.

Either through Billie or another Primrose dancer (Police didn’t name tipster and Billie told anyone who would listen to her that Crowley was at her apartment) the police learned that Crowley and Duringer were at 303 West 90th Street. (Helen was also there but cops didn’t know it at the time.)

Detectives Caso and Mara were sent out to investigate and learned that that tip was true so called for back up. Over the course of about an hour or so police surrounded the apartment house with gunmen on adjoining roofs, and in small room down the hall from Crowley’s flat.

While some officers were in the buildings stairwell someone came up to the building and pressed the buzzer for Crowley’s apartment. The hoodlum stepped into the hall with an automatic saw a couple of cops and started to blast away at them. Thus began one of the most dramatic police sieges in NYC history.

Believing the fight was outside their door Crowley and Duringer no doubt shat bricks when shotgun and machinegun fire came pouring in through the windows. Not having much of a stomach for such fare Duringer squeezed his portly self under a bed. Crowley on the other collected his guns and ran from room to room exchanging gunfire with the cops.

As the battle raged more and more cops showed up on the scene as did thousands of people who gathered around the building to watch the saga unfold. It was decided that they would smoke the hoodlums out and detectives began to chop through the roof of the building. Hearing this Crowley fired up through the ceiling. Some cops stuck their guns through the hole and returned fire chasing the punk out of the room.

When the holes were of sufficient size tear gas bombs were thrown in. Crowley ran in and got them and tossed them out the window. Since the gas didn’t work the police decided on a full frontal assault. A number of cops put on bullet proof vest and climbed the stairs. All surrounding police began firing for a full minute to make sure the gunmen were unable to do anything.

After the supporting fire ended the officers stormed into the apartment and Crowley, wounded in a number of places, choking on remnants of gas and almost out of ammo tossed down his guns and surrendered. Bringing an end to our concise Two Gun Crowley saga. If you want the full story I invite you to check out Bad Seeds in the Big Apple.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two Gun saga IV

Because of the Brannen murder Crowley was one of the most wanted guys in NYC. At 2:20am on this date he and Duringer stepped into a garage and stole a Ford taking the nightwatchman with them. He was dropped off a short time later unharmed.

What Crowley and Duringer did during the day is unknown but that evening Two Gun was out on Long Island with his girlfriend Helen. They ended up on "Black Shirt Lane" a popular make out spot for teens.

A little while later a police car containing officers Frederick Hirsch and Albert Yodice pulled into the lane and saw the Ford. The officers decided to investigate and approached the car. They asked Crowley what he was up to. "Just talking." he replied. The cops weren't very interested in a couple of teenagers so returned to their car.

Back in the squad car Hirsch commented to this partner, "I believe that boy is Crowley." He double checked the wanted poster they had and decided to take another look. The office unholstered his pistol and approached the Ford.

Hirsch asked Crowley for his drivers license and the latter feigned a move for his wallet and came up with a gun. Expecting a trick like that Hirsch stuck his pistol through the window and pulled the trigger. Unfortunately his gun malfunctioned and Crowley was able to shoot the officer four times. Hirsch dropped his gun into the Ford and fell across the running board. Crowley opened he door and fired two more shots into the officer and pushed him off the car. He then took a couple of pot shots at Yodice before speeding off. Yodice fired off a few rounds hitting the passenger side door twice and piercing the windshield but Crowley made a successful escape.

Killing a taxi dancer and now a cop. Crowley and Duringer were Public Rats #1 and they were the NYPD's top priority.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let's pull a job in Brooklyn, the cops there are marshmallows

On this date a long long time ago. A hundred and nine years to be exact. Annie Gildersleeve (quite possible the coolest name mentioned in the history of this blog) looked out of the back window of her Brooklyn apartment and saw Manhattanites John Delaney and Joseph Fischer on the roof of an apartment house across the way trying to break in.

Annie ran around the block to alert the apartment's dwellers and soon a group was in front of the building waiting to see if the burglars tried to come out. In the meantime two cops, John Bennett and Wm. Gunn (grandfather of Peter), were summoned.

Delaney and Fischer made their way into the house only to realize they weren't surprising nobody. They ran out the front door and right past the cops. Gunn followed Fischer, Bennett Delaney.

Bennett wasn't kean on running so he yelled, "Stop or I'll wing you!" Delaney continued to run until a bullet bounced off his skull and knocked him down. Miraculously he wasn't seriously hurt he was in fact only winged. If a head shot could be called a wing...anyways Gunn was more game and followed Fischer over numerous fences and out into traffic where the yegg jumped onto a a moving streetcar and ran the full length before leaping off, the officer hot on his heels. Another fence was scaled and Fischer ended up in a nursery and an unforgiving fence. Gun caught him.

The price for making an officer from the 1901 NYPD chase you over hill and dale was sound thrashing with the night stick. Both yeggs also had two guns apiece but this was pre-Sullivan law so no big deal, except for a beating and bullet wound to the head. Delaney and Fischer were taken in probably wondering why they thought pulling a job in Brooklyn was a good idea.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Book 'em

Once in awhile here at the DGIS Institute we get us a fancy pants intern who likes to read books that don't have any pictures. Normally we just laugh at him/her for wasting their time but turns out he (I think it was a he. I actually don't remember they come and go so fast) caught something we missed earlier.

There is a book out now about two bank robbing brothers from the Public Enemy era called: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers. If a story about bank robbers from 1933-34 wasn't good enough, the brothers are actually zombielike, not the slow walking, swaying, "Brains!" kind of zombies but more of a back from the dead look normal don't have to eat flesh kind of undead.

More than that we can't really say as we just started reading it during story time. (just after lunch and right before nap time) One of the nice things we've noticed is that in the acknowledgments the author gave a hi-dee-ho to long time DGIS pals Rick Mattix and William J. Helmer; kings of the Public Enemy era.

If you want more info on the book check out author Thomas Mullen's amazon page. Its even got one of them fancy videos all the kids are talking about these days.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back ta Chicago witch ya

The story begins in Chicago on April 21, 1921 when John Amberg, VP of the Schubert and Amberg State Bank, was riding in a car with the banks cashier Norton Stone. In Amberg’s possession was $25,000. Thanks to an inside source, bandits Art Bernstein, Joe Kelly and two of their accomplices knew about the cash.

As Amberg and Stone were driving along a high powered sedan containing the bandits pulled up and forced them to the side of the road. Both bank men were forced into the robbers car and taken for long ride. When they were miles away from anywhere they were let out and the bandits took off with the loot.

After the split Bernstein and Kelly took off for New York City. Their pals stayed around Chicago and were subsequently captured. It didn’t take long for them to spill on their pals and the Chicago PD contacted New York and asked them to head to the Cathedral apartments at 105 West 109th to pick up Bernstein and Kelly.

Eighty-eight years ago today, three detectives headed over, drew their pistols and knocked. Kelly opened the door and saw three gun muzzles pointing at him. The detectives stepped inside just as Bernstein and his wife stepped into sight to see who was at the door and they to were covered. “It’s all over,” Kelly announced. “We’ll have to go along.” And so they did.