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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Big Mac attack

Eighty-seven years ago bookie Joe "Big Mac" Mahoney had a falling out with his partner John Quigley. In better days they both hung out at the same restaurant but since the break up Mahoney was asked to stay away. He did until this date back then.

Mahoney entered the place and started talking to Quigley, talk turned to arguing which lead physical contact. "Big Mac" drew a .32 and Quigley started to wrestle with him pinning his arm behind his back and that's when the gun went off and Mahoney fell. That was Quigley's story anyways, Mahoney never got back up so we don't know his version.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sullivan's travels are over

Eighty-six years ago as this is being written (9:00am) three shots rang out in the rear room of a speakeasy. About eight guys vacated the parlor. Other fellers who were enjoying their morning hooch ventured back and found Mike Sullivan on the floor and unconscious. They sent him to the hospital but he died.

Mike was an interesting guy. A good athlete who had done stunt work for D.W. Griffith, managed boxers and owned semi pro baseball team. He also owned a speakeasy himself and a cigar store. Past achievements also included getting the vote out with some huskies from the Bronx. Sports, movies, bootlegging, strong arm work...wonder which one caused his demise?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not so fast Eddie

After spending three years in Sing Sing for a robbery Eddie Fallon was on the outside and earning dough as a bootlegger. Somebody didn't care for Eddie however and on this date back in 1927 he was standing on a corner seemingly waiting for somebody. Somebody that tricked him.

While Eddie loitered about a sedan pulled up to the corner and a pistol came out the window. One shot then another and the car zoomed away. With bullets in the back and hip Eddie was unable to zoom, only stagger, which he did into a nearby leather goods shop before dropping dead.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aces draws the ace of spades

Four score and no more years ago tonight John "Aces" Mazza did enter a restaurant looking for some familiar faces. Seeing them not he ventured back into the night where two un-friendly faces were waiting for him. The duo opened fire on young Mr. Mazza (only 20) who produced his own barking iron (more mature than he at .45) and returned their greetings.

The murderous duo had both the element of surprise and better aim resulting in Aces collapsing in front of the restaurant. A religious man, Mazza was wearing some medals of the ecclesiastic variety one of which read "St. Joseph patron of the grace of a happy death. Protect me." It would appear that St. Joseph had the night off.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snow Job

Eighty-one years ago this morning an employee of a Brooklyn lumber yard showed up for work and found a blood trail. His curiosity peeked he followed said trail which led to a pile of snow. Digging he found one James Tinorello who had been shot three times in the back of the head. Police said that Tinorello, who was 27 and had six arrest under his belt, was involved in a liquor syndicate that operated in Brooklyn and Queens.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Look all ways before crossing

At about 4:00p.m. on this day back in 1935 Alphonso Respivo was crossing the street in lower Manhattan when two guys armed with a .38 and .45 walked up behind him and started blasting. One shot from the .38 and five from the .45 found their mark in Respivo's back. The job complete both men fled in opposite directions.

According to police Respivo was a small time racketeer who divided his time between New York and Chicago. He was arrested in 1921 for robbery and served six years. He also did six months in Chicago in 1931 for carrying a gun.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fun new site

From our friends at Murder by Gaslight comes the National Night Stick a groovy place to catch up on your footpads, gonnofs and kirkbuzzers.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Two valentines for Lefty

Valentine's Day 1925 found Lefty Kanter walking along the street with his hands thrust in his pockets, sneaking furtive glances while a cigarette hung from his mouth. An ex-con who sold drugs and committed robbery, Lefty was a former member of Johnny Spanish's gang. In 1921 he was picked up for the murder of one of Kid Dropper's minions but was released. After that he moved to Bronx and away from the dangers of the lower east side.

Early in 1925 he began to revisit his old haunts. What business was transpiring this day is unknown but Kanter walked about stopping in front of a building for a few moments to listen to some musicians play before continuing along. A few minutes later two guys approached him and after a short dialogue they began to argue. During the exchange a woman came up and said something to one of the men arguing with Lefty.

When the woman finished speaking the guy stepped forward and revealed a pistol he had up his sleeve. He delivered a valentine to Lefty's chest. Lefty fell back and the man stepped up and fired another into his neck. Lefty was dead by time the cops arrived.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Darn bootleggers littering again

The dead body of Joe Galas was carelessly tossed in the street on this date back in 1928 with a bullet in the head. Police said that Joe was the victim of a bootleggers feud. Police said a lot of things that weren't necessarily true but will take their word for it in Joe's case.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things you find on the beat II

Four score and five years ago today a cop was making the rounds when he found what he figured to be a drunk face down in the snow. He went to rouse him and discovered that the man had been doing shots of a different sort, four to be exact. He took the guy the to hospital but all was for naught as the man was DOA. Finger prints showed that his name was Vincent Matoli and, according to police, he was associated with a gang of bootleggers.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Imported from Detroit

No, not the new Chrysler 2oo but some gangster who was found in sack on this date back in 1927. His hands and feet were tied behind his back and a sash cord was wrapped around his neck. Identification wasn't immediately known but all his clothes contained labels from Motor City haberdashers leading authorities to believe he was one of them thar gangsters from the D.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Scarface — Boris Karloff's last strike

Life at the DGIS Institute can be challenging. When not hunkered down in research there is always an old monster movie that needs watching. Occasionally we get to incorporate the two.

Two days ago marked the forty-second anniversary of the passing of Boris Karloff, though famous as a star of the horror pictures (as my grand daddy used to say) Boris also played the roll of Bugs Moran/Hymie Weiss, err I mean Gaffney, the Northside crime boss to Paul Muni's Scarface.

So a belated tip of the hat today to Mr. Karloff

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ciro's Nephew

Twas eighty years ago today in the Bronx that Joe "the Baker" Catania walked out of a bail bond office or store, take your pick, and into a couple of shotgun blast of rival gangsters. The Baker was the nephew of Ciro Terranova and a victim of the Castellammarese war. According to Joe Valachi, Salvatore Maranzano, Valachi's boss, claimed that Catania was hijacking his liquor shipments and had to be removed. For more on the Baker and his demise check the Valachi Papers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The price of turning

In June of 1930 Leo Noto and some others kidnapped the son of a wealthy Brooklyn baker. The boy was released after the baker paid $7,000 and promised the remaining balance. After he got his son back the baker went to the police and a trap was set for the kidnappers when they came to collect the $3000. Six of them, including Noto, were apprehended.

Noto agreed to testify against the rest of his gang and was released on a $25,000 bail. Remnants of the gang decided it would be in their favor if the turn coat didn't make it into the courtroom. On this date back in 1931 they made it so. Noto had just left his house and was crossing a vacant lot when a sedan pulled up. Two shot guns were discharged and Noto was no more.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The things you find when walking the beat

A couple of cops were walking along Thompson street on this date back in 1930 when who should they happened to stumbled upon? None other than Gabriel Nucci, 49-year old leader of the "Thompson Street gang". Who were they? Who knows, according to police they were a minor black hand unit.

Anyways there was Nucci lying on the sidewalk with bullets in his belly and back. The cops took him to St. Vincent's where he refused to say anything about the shooting. It was obvious that the end was near so they sent in a priest to administer the last rites but Nucci didn't want anything to do with him either so had him removed. He died the next morning...Nucci, not the priest.

Police guessed that the shooting was the result of either, the Thompson Street gang encroaching on another gangs territory or perhaps revenge because of a murder for which Nucci had been acquitted. The DGIS staff has a sneaky suspicion that Vito Genovese has the answers.