Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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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.

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