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, March 29, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

Good thing she's in chains. She doesn't want to kill, she has to.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The origin of NIMBY

Joseph Madonia aka, Giuseppi Ferraro, was involved in both policy and a bakers union racket. It was said that if bakers didn't buy flour from vendors designated by Madonia they could expect damage to both their property and themselves. Madonia, 45, lived in Brooklyn where he also had a macaroni and bread store. At a little after midnight on this date back in 1931, a Queens resident heard what she said could have been a gunshot or a car back firing. It was the former. The next morning another Queens resident found Madonia in his back yard with a single bullet wound to his left temple.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sweeney Lapis

Twas this day in 1901 twas that Brooklyn barber Joseph Lapis exercised his Second Amendment right and kept his shop from being burglarized. The previous morning he and his brother John entered their establishment in the bottom of 164 Hamilton Avenue and saw that during the night someone attempted to break in.

Believing that the footpad(s) would return that night they set out to protect their combs and mustache wax by purchasing a shotgun. Joseph also procured a cot and set it up in the rear of the shop so that he could spend the night.

Long about 3:30a.m Joseph was awakened by the sound of somebody tampering with the lock on the front door. Grabbing his gun he approached the door. He listened for a few more seconds, then placed the barrel against said door and pulled the trigger. A scream was heard, then all was quiet. The barber  dressed and went to the police station where he relayed the incident to the boys in blue.

A patrolman was dispatched to the shop and upon entering the building  found would be yegg John Alba on the second floor landing, lying unconscious with a wound to the chest. Alba was taken to the hospital where he denied trying to break into the shop but remained mum on how he came to get a chest full of buck shot.

Since you can’t go around shooting burglars Joe the barber was arrested but back then people figured burglars got what they deserved and he was paroled the same day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Get Shorty, but let Hogan go.

One hundred and two years ago today, former pool room owner Henry Jacobs was preparing to open his own gambling joint in Harlem. He gave a guy named Hogan $1,500 and told him to meet him later at the house, which was already decked out with all kinds of gambling equipment. In the meantime Jacobs ventured to the Pilgrim cafĂ©, located on the second floor of 28 West 116th Street, and ordered some lunch with a couple of pals.

At a nearby table sat another gambling sort by the name of Shorty Mansfield. Jacobs owed Shorty $250. Shorty called Henry over and asked for his money. Henry said he didn’t have it. Shorty didn't care for the answer so he drew a pistol and blew a hole in Jacob's belly.

Mansfield hit the door and made a successful get-away while Jacobs hit the floor. He was subsequently taken to Harlem hospital where one hundred and two years ago tomorrow he died.

The story doesn’t end there however. Remember Hogan? Well he wasn’t much of a hero. With Henry playing pinochle in purgatory he pocketed the $1,500 and took all the furniture and gear and opened a gambling house not to far away and did very well. In one month he made $17,000 and although the police knew about the house, it was never raided, so undoubtedly a good portion of that dough found it’s way into blue pockets.

Someone else who knew about the many clams rolling in was the Widow Jacobs who for six months tried to collect Henry’s money to no avail. So one day the following autumn she showed up at the gambling house and broke a window with her umbrella and then smashed two more with a hammer. She was arrested and blew the whistle on Hogan's operation, but with all that jack rolling in it’s hard to believe the police did anything about it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Ninety-two years ago this day, two well dressed young ladies (we'll call them Carol and Alice) entered a Brooklyn drug-store and asked to see some perfume. Store proprietor William Blair took out a number of bottles for the women to sniff and snuff. While this was taking place two fellows (Bob and Ted) entered the store and pulled out their guns. Blair was ordered to "Put ‘em up". Once Blair had them up the dames helped the guys empty Blair's register of a hundred bucks as well as the $600 ring he was wearing. All four then skedaddled in one of them there motor cars and went to Vegas where they almost had a fourway, but thought better of it and then went outside and mixed with a bunch of diverse peoples while Dionne Warwick's "What the world needs now, is love, sweet love." played.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Final run

Seventy-nine years ago today, alky runners Joseph Calligari and Frank Russo carried their last load. The two men, both in their thirties, were found in Westchester County by a farmer a short distance from the highway on a remote road known as Green Lane between the towns of Bedford Hills and Mount Kiscoe.

Judging by the tire tracks found at the scene what appears to have happened is that Calligari, who had just been paroled from Sing Sing the previous Tuesday, and Russo were transporting a truckload of booze when they were over taken by two large sedans. The men were forced from the truck and executed. Both had been shot twice in the chest and once in the forehead practically in the exact same spots leading police to believe that a machine gun was used. The killers had a macabre sense of humor as the dead men were then lifted over a small stonewall and placed near a tree baring a sign that read, "No dumping"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Baron gets shot down

Eighty-two years ago today the body of  twenty-nine year old William "Baron" Simpson was found in a Brooklyn alleyway leading from Furman Street to pier 16 on the East River. Someone had come up behind him and placed a .38 to the back of his head and pulled the trigger. Although the murder took place at around noon, next to a tin can factory with two hundred employees that were on lunch break there were no witnesses.
"Baron" was the boss of a small group of dock workers and had a reputation as a fierce street fighter. According to his brother, "Whitie" Simpson, "Baron" had gotten into an argument with three men at a near by pier about an hour before the murder. The argument turned into a fistfight and "Baron" proceeded to savagely beat all three men until they ran away. Simpson was last seen, alone, turning into the alleyway in which he was found a short time later.
Even with the story about the fight with the three men, police stated that they believed that Simpson was another in the long line of Irish thugs murdered in the unending battle for leadership of the dock rackets.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's in the bag

On this date in 1921 Louis D'Amico was struck over the head with a heavy object. This took the fight out of him. Then a sash cord was wrapped around his neck, pulled down and tied around his knees. He was then placed in a gunnysack where he strangled himself by flailing about. His killers then loaded him in a car and tossed the sack over a fifteen foot embankment.

The following day two Eastchester farmers were traveling on the same road as they headed for market. They noticed some discarded car parts in the ravine and headed down to take a look. One of them noticed the sack. Opening the top he saw Louis's head and, this not being something he could sell at market, proceeded to call the police.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mad Men

Eighty-five years agao today Samuel Raplansky, a thirty-year old member of a gang called the Madison Street Boys, was hanging out at the mobs HQ, aptly named, the Madison Street Boys club. At about 10:00 pm Sam split for a while. He returned around midnight and as he entered the foyer a number of shots rang out. The club was crowded and a number of the Madison Street boys, including Sam's brother Harry, rushed into the hall and found Sam in heap with bullet wounds to the left eye, chin and body. Harry and some others put Sam in a cab and rushed him to the hospital. All was for naught however as Sam had been killed instantly.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fat lady sings for the fat man

Twas this day in 1929 it was that NYC gangster Thomas Walsh was knocked off in Coral Gables, Florida.  "Fatty" or "Fats" as he was called, was a former employee of Arnold Rothstein. As such he was pals with guys like Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano.

Walsh, who was thirty-three at the time of his death, moved to Florida a few weeks after Rothstein's death. In the Sunshine State Walsh and another New York gangster, Arthur "Chick" Clark, owned a piece of a gambling room ran out of the Biltmore Hotel. A guy named Eddie Wilson was also a partner.

At 12:20 a.m., as Walsh and Clark were seated amongst the gamblers watching the nights play when Wilson appeared in the doorway brandishing a pistol. Once he sighted Walsh he raised the gun and fired five times. Two of the bullets hit the stout gangster in the abdomen and one nicked Clark in the arm. Walsh tried to get on his feet but fell forward on his face dead. The first reaction of the press and the police was to say that the killing was some how related to the Rothstein murder from the previous November but as the investigation went on it was determined that Eddie Wilson was unhappy with Walsh because the latter was trying to shake down Wilson's share in the gambling enterprise.