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 23, 2012

Bienvenue, Willkommen,Benvenuto, Bienvenido, Jolly Good Show!

The Kindle edition of Legs Diamond: Gangster is now available for kindles here and abroad.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Look four ways before crossing

Alphonse Respivo was said to be a small time racketeer who divided his time between the Big Apple and Chicago.

In 1921 Respivo was arrested for robbery and did six years in prison. He was also arrested in Chicago in 1931 for carrying a gun, an offense that cost him six months in jail and a $100 fine.

By the mid-1930s Restivo had returned to New York City and at 4 p.m. on this date in 1935 he was crossing the street when two men came up from behind and shot him in the back numerous times. The gunmen then tossed their guns (a .38 and a .45) in the street and ran in opposite directions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Today's victim, Louis DeMaria, was considered by police to be a small time racketeer. That may have been true but he also may have some how been involved with Vincent Coll or his murder five days before.

DeMaria had been shot three times and his body dumped on a road, where it was spotted by a bus driver. Oddly, earlier that day the car used for the murder was found just a hundred feet away, wrecked, with bloodstains and a pistol missing three shots. Apparently the killers tossed DeMaria's corpse out of the car and then crashed moments later. No one inspecting the car however, found the dead man.

Interestingly, a number of newspaper articles pertaing to the Coll murder were found around DeMaria's body. Police were unable to place the dead man in either Coll's or Dutch Schultz's gangs so weren't able to say with any certainty whether his death was a result of the murder. Perhaps he was some how involved either as a spotter or as the mystery man who entered the London Chemist drug store with the "Mad Dog" only to walk out moments later when Coll's killer entered. If in fact DeMaria was involved with Coll then there are three possible motives for his murder.

One, he was a Coll guy who simply liked to carry around news clippings of his boss and was a natural target as all Coll guys were.

Two, if DeMaria was the mystery man then the remaining members of the Coll mob figured out that he was the double crosser who set up their leader and meted out their own justice.

Three, since DeMaria took to carrying around souvenirs of the murder chances are he was talking about it to anyone who would listen as well, perhaps bragging in his neighborhood to show that he was more than the petty racketeer the police considered him. If the killers of Coll did use him in some capacity they probably decided that his loose tongue was liability and rubbed him out.
Then again it could have been something else entirely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gotta pay your dues if you wanna...

Eighty- four years ago today, Joe Galas aka John Romano, an ex-convict who had served time for larceny, was found on the street with a couple of extra holes in his head. Shaking the magic eight ball, the police determined he was a victim of a bootleggers feud.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gotta pay your dues if you wanna sell the booze and you know it don't come easy.

Four score and six 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 rushed the guy to hospital, but all was for naught as the man was DOA (and the D didn't stand for drunk). Finger prints showed that his name was Vincent Matoli and, according to police, he was associated with a gang of bootleggers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Eighty-years ago today, a mere week after the bloodbath in the Bronx where some of his gang was decimated [see Feb. 1], the New York City underworld ridded itself of Vince "the Mick" Coll, or "Irish" as his contemporaries also called him (It was the press that dubbed him Mad Dog.) after he and an associate entered a drug store on Manhattan's W. 23rd Street. The victim of a double cross, Irish entered a phone booth to make a prearranged call to underworld powerhouse Owney Madden (the Englishman, ok he was of Irish descent but he was born in England) while his pal took a seat at the counter. While the Mad Dog and Englishman were conversing a car containing a hit squad pulled up front and gunmen got out and covered the store's door. Coll's pal was allowed to leave as a machine-gun toting hoodlum made his way back to the phonebooths. Finding the booth containing Coll, the gunman lined himself up and blasted the Mick into gangster history.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday night is all right for fighting

Nintey-one years ago tonight a large group of guys and dolls were lining the stairwell of a lower eastside building waiting to get into a night club on the third floor. As the band was getting ready to play, a couple of shots rang out and the throng of people ran helter-skelter into the streets. One man, Michael Dimesci, traipsed across the street and dropped dead with a bullet in the heart.

The police sent officers to all the hospitals in the area to see if anyone else showed up. Within the hour Brooklyn mobster Frankie Uale stumbled into one with a bullet wound to the lung. Uale said he just happened to be walking by the club when the shooting took place and had no idea what it was about. Police later asserted that they believe the Brooklyn Mafioso was the intended target and that Dimesci may have been an innocent bystander.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Owney earns a nickname

Owney Madden, one of the top New York City mobsters of the prohibition era picked up the moniker "Killer" in his younger days as leader of the Gopher gang.

One-hundred years ago today he lived up to his nom de guerre. Twenty-one year old William Henshaw was preparing to board a streetcar when two men came up and shot him. He didn't die outright and was taken to the hospital. On his death bed, he identified Madden as his killer but for some reason the police didn't try to hard to find him, which confounded the dead man’s father, who told the press, “It seems queer to me that the police can not catch the murderer of my boy. This band of Gophers had it in for my boy for some time. I don’t know why they wanted to kill him but he often told me he was afraid of them.”

A little more than a week after the murder police captured Madden on the Westside after a brief chase. The cops could have saved their breath however as he was released and never called to trial for the murder.

* DGIS President, Founder & Grand Poobah Pat Downey made us check the facts twice. He is having a hard time accepting the fact that when he started researching those profiled on this site, "One hundred years ago" meant the 1800s. He is now consoling himself with an 18-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and will be out for the rest of the day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


In June of 1930 Leo Noto, said to be an olive oil dealer, and some accomplices kidnapped the son of a wealthy Brooklyn baker that lived just down the street from him. The kidnappers demanded $10,000 and released the boy after $7000 was paid with the promise to make up the $3000 in the near future. In the interim the baker went to the police and a trap was laid to catch the gang when they came to claim the additional $3000. The trap worked and six members of the kidnap gang were apprehended.

Noto supposedly turned states evidence and made a deal with the authorities where he would testify against the rest of the gang but the gang made sure that Noto didn’t live to see the trial date. Eighty-one years ago today, twenty-nine year old Noto, who was out on $25,000 bail, left the house that he shared with his wife and four children. He stuck his hands in his pockets and began walking across a vacant lot. While still in the lot a Packard sedan containing three men pulled up. Two shotguns were fired with deadly accuracy. Noto pitched forward dead, his accomplices breathed a sigh of relief.
* Note to "Confused in Canada" - Puxatawney Phil is the groundhog. Pittsburgh Phil was the killer for Murder Inc.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

House call

In the spring of 1931 gangster Vincent Coll and a contingent of disgruntled gunmen broke off from Dutch Schultz's gang and waged war against their former boss. Over the course of the summer the Dutchman's boys started popping up dead. Eighty-years ago today however, Schultz gunmen delivered a crippling blow to their foe.

Coll gang members Louis and Fiore Basile and Patsy Del Greco (center of photo) were holed up in one of the gangs Bronx hideouts. With them was a man named Joseph Paronne (whether or not he was part of the gang is unknown) nad a couple of women and some children. At approximately 9:30pm the doorbell rang. One of the gang answered the door and four or five gunmen pushed their way into the apartment and sprayed the room with gunfire. Del Greco and the Basile Brothers were the main targets and took the majority of the lead. Patsy was killed with three shots and Louis Basile with four. His brother Fiore was severely wounded with bullets over the heart and in the left arm. Trying to escape, one of the women ran into the line of fire and was killed when a bullet pierced her head. The other woman and Paronne received non-life threatening wounds. The killer’s main target however had not been on the premises for two days. How the killers found out where the Coll gang was has never been ascertained but chances are there was a traitor in the midst.