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, 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.