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

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.