Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

If any detectives read this blog, you don't get to complain about your job. Detectives back in the 1930's had to deal with murderers, bootleggers, bank robbers and giant bats from Bataan. Think about that next time you want to hang up your holster for good.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tough break for Tough Tony

With a bullet near his heart, "Tough" Tony Bove dropped to the sidewalk ninety-one years ago today. Some said it was an affair of the heart that lead to the lead. Others, including Tony himself, figured it was the result of another gangland shooting from earlier in the week that resulted in three guys approaching him on the corner of James Street and New Bowery and giving him the bang.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Eyes have it

Ninety-nine years ago this morning at around 1:00a.m. Ed Dempsey and some of his Eye-rish street gang brethren started blasting away at some Eye-talian fellers. Word on the street was that some of Paul Kelly’s old gang were messing around in Gopher territory.

Anyhoo, after a series of shots were fired a cop came running down 41st and between Eighth and Ninth Avenue he saw a couple of the Kelly boys, Jim Monico and Jim Scaraco, limping along. The officer ran up with his gun out and yelled for the two to halt which they did. “They winged us.” Monico said, grabbing his leg. Scaraco appeared to be more than simply winged as his blood leaked through the bottom of his coat onto the sidewalk.

As the policeman questioned the gangsters bullets began to ricochet around them. Someone was firing directly from above. Crazy Eyerish. Another cop came running up. He passed the trio on the stoop and headed into the dark building. Approached the stairs, the officer saw a flash from a pistol shot and felt a bullet fly past his ear. He fired in the direction of the flash and heard a thump. From further down the second floor hall he heard, “Did they get you Eddie?” Indeed. Eddie was got. Asking about Eddie’s well being was his pal Charlie Smith who was captured moments later and forced to carry his buddy outside.

Charlie deposited Eddie in front of the building along with Monico and Scaraco. The latter were asked if Eddie was the guy who shot them. “Never saw him before.” Was the reply. (The cops knew that would be the answer but had to ask)

Before long the whole neighborhood was out and trying to get a close look at the wounded gunmen. A couple dozen cops were called out to keep the mob at bay and they were forced to form a circle around the gangsters until an “auto-ambulance” arrived on the scene. The driver shined the headlights on the trio of wounded guys so the doctor could administer aid. Once he prepped them for the trip they were loaded up and sent to the hospital where Dempsey checked out a short time later.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bad luck Chuck

One-hundred years ago today Chinatown was rocked by another Tong murder when…ok, it didn’t really rock it. Murders were pretty frequent back then I was just trying to jazz things up…anyways thirty year old Hip Sing member Chuck Jow was sitting in the rear of the restaurant he worked at peeling potatoes. (and you thought gang life wasn’t glamorous).

As Jow sat near a window working his peeler, a guy with a rifle took aim from the roof of the building across the back lot. Five times the trigger was pulled and two bullets went into Chuck’s neck and another in his head. Taters were off the menu.

Why would anyone want to kill a spud stud? Turns out that Jow was formerly a member of the On Leong who switched allegiances. Not saying that’s why he was killed but just something for you to chew on, like a half peeled potato.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Losing their milk money to bullies

Twas ninety-two-years ago today that two bandits liberated nearly ten grand from the Borden Milk Company’s Westside operation, located at 400 West 29th Street. As was custom, the branch superintendent, Bill Thieler, went to the company's stables across the street and got a company buggy and brought it up to the Borden building. Once the buggy arrived company cashier, Bill Fowler, stepped out of the building with a tin box containing $9,853 in cash and another $600 in checks.

As Fowler approached the buggy a passing pedestrian grabbed him and, placing his hand over Fowler's mouth, pushed the cashier up against a railing. Fowler then felt a gun against his belly. Simultaneously another man trained a pistol on Thieler and grabbed the cash box from the Fowler's hand.

The gunmen then ran a short distance down the street, waving their pistols at any would be heroes, and jumped into a Ford and made their getaway. The milk employees stood by helpless with their horse and buggy. Technology favors the criminal.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Big Curly's final countdown

Has it been ninety-nine years already? Well, ok, here's the story one more time, it was hot, like now, and we were all on our stoops. Us kiddies were playing while the adults lounged around. One of the loungers was Big Curly Guargadatti. We all knew he boxed but we also knew that he dabbled in some nefarious enterprises. Just another hot, summer evening in Little Italy until somebody walked up and fired two bullets into Big Curly's heart. Big Curly went to the boxing ring in the sky and the killer escaped through the myriad of us playing kids and lounging adults. Sure the cops came and asked questions, but of course we didn't see anything, we were to busy playing and lounging.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Winger and a prayer

Thirty-year old gangster Edward Winger had just returned from Philadelphia and registered at a Lower Eastside bathhouse. Assumedly after he bathed, he hooked up with a man named “Louie”.

On this date back in 1929,  Winger and Louie were walking on the Lower eastside. A sedan pulled up and a gunman opened fire, hitting Winger. Louie made a run for it. Winger was taken to the hospital where he refused to say anything other than he was with “Louie”. The police continued to question him but he remained mum until he died the following day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

On the waterfront

Ah the good old days, friends I'm talkin' back before gangsters wore fedoras and fancy coats with velvet collars, before they drove big six-cylinder automobiles and sprayed streets with Tommy-guns, before they made millions in booze and labor rackets. Yeah, brothers and sisters I’m talking about the hazy, lazydays of yesteryear, when the clippity clop of horse hooves could be heard on cobblestone, when dames with parasols paraded up and down Fifth Ave., when a Westside mob known as the “Growler Gang” pilfered the docks for something that could be sold for beer money. The simplicity of it. Goons want beer but have no money. Goons go to docks and steal. Goons sell merchandise. Goons get beer. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

Who were the Growlers? Well they were the motley crew that replaced the “Slaughter House Gang” that’s who the Growlers were, and that should be good enough for you. What did the Slaughter House gang do? They used to rob the captains of the many scows and barges that docked on the Westside for beer money. (See a pattern forming?)

So as I was saying 112 years ago today the Growlers were hanging out by the river when they saw a lumber scow stacked with, you guessed it, lumber, and jumped aboard. The Growlers grabbed a single board and attempted to make off with it. An employee of said scow tried to stop them and ended up going for a swim.

Seeing this, a number of barge captains charged the Growlers who were then making their way down the dock. The captains were turned back under a hail of rocks and anything else the Growlers could find to throw at them.

One of the would be heros, Andrew Evensen, the captain of a Norwegian barge, drew a pistol and fired into the air. Loud noises only angered the Growlers however, and they chased Evensen back to his scow where the captain ran into his cabin. The Growlers tried to enter Evensen’s quarters and he fired a shot that hit the lead Growler, Ed Shine, in the shoulder. Eager for beer money Shine informed his comrades that the captain was indeed only firing blanks and that they should continue with there Growlery. They continued their push forward and Evensen fired again hitting Growler, Bill Martin, in the leg. Bill wasn’t made of the same stuff as Shine and he went down without pushing the blanks charade.

Seeing that the captain meant business the remaining Growlers picked up Martin and beat a hasty retreat but dropped him when a cop came running up. Shine and Martin were sent to the hospital and Captain Evensen was tossed in jail. After all we can’t have any Norwegians shooting our beer deprived thugs now can we?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

Not unlike the Spicy Detective agency, it would seem that the Sizzling Detective agency had a few cases of wardrobe malfunction.