Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Four, make that three Fierce Flanagans

Ninety-one 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 father's 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 by police 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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Done in by cheapness

A few days late with this entry. All November dues will be repaid to all DGIS members in good standing. November 25, 1933 saw one of New York City's most important gangland executions. The murder of Alexander "Red" Alpert. Even though his death barely made the news at the time it would prove to be one of the most significant in New York history because “Red's” was the slaying that started the whole Murder Inc. investigation in 1940, which resulted in the downfall of the Brownsville and Ocean Hill Combination, not to mention the deaths of most of the major players.

By the age of nineteen “Red” was already a seasoned hoodlum with a number of arrests but no convictions. He was known as a cop hater and his disdain for the officers of the law was so great, the authors of Murder Inc. tell us, that he wouldn’t even wear a blue suit. His end came after he pulled off a jewel heist and had a collection of gems worth probably upwards of $10,000.

Not having the connections to move the merchandise himself "Red" went to Brownsville and paid a visit to Harry “Pittsburgh Phil” Strauss. “Red” showed the Murder Inc. executioner his jewels and told Strauss he could have them at the bargain rate of $3000. Strauss in turn offered only $700. Alpert in no polite terms told Strauss what he could do with his offer and went on his way.

Strauss sent two guys to bring “Red” back but Alpert was wise and managed to elude them. Still wanting the gems Strauss had Abe Reles and Buggsy Goldstein pay the youthful crook a visit. The two killers told Alpert that Strauss wanted the jewels and he wanted them for the $700 he originally offered but the stubborn “Red” told Reles and Goldstein they could go to hell with Strauss. This of course sealed his fate and the contract was given to Walter Sage, whom Alpert knew and had no reason to fear. The next day Sage met “Red” at the latter's house and the two men walked off together. After they had gone about a block Sage drew a gun and killed the young hoodlum. Seven years later one of Red's friends went to the authorities and told them the story. The usual suspects were picked up and this time Reles sang.

An interesting thought to ponder. If Strauss had paid the the 3 Gs Red wanted, would Murder Inc. have gone on for years to come? No Reles out the window, no hot seat for Lepke and all the others, no movie for Peter Falk, no time for a summer rain, no time for my watch and chain. Ah, the what ifs.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Haven't had an AGIS (amorous guy(s) in suits) in a while so here goes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I ain't talking, both figuratively and literally

On this date back in 1930 Frank Calibrese and his cohorts were involved in a shooting with rival gangsters. Frank was hit by five shots, one of which smashed into his mouth and cut off his tongue. His partners loaded him into their car and drove him to the house of one of Frank’s distant relatives, Dr. Edward Caselnova. Realizing he couldn't do much for him the doctor brought Frank to the hospital where police questioned him. Since he was missing part of his tongue Frank was given pencil and paper and asked about the shooting. Frank then wrote down his name and address, the location of where he was shot and then died, leaving out the pertinent details of who shot him and why.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

That stevedoring is a dangerous job

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 on this date back 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.Which was one of the go to motives at the time. So I guess we'll stick with that.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Guess what the milk man found?

Eighty-three 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  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.