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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

No parley for Parlow

At 4:30am on this date back in 1929 Mrs. Albert Parlow, of Point Place, Ohio (a suburb of Toledo) received a phone call. "Hurry over to the Riverview Inn," the anonymous caller said, "Your husband has been injured." Mrs. Parlow called two of her husband's friends, picked them up, and together they drove to the Riverview.

When the trio arrived they found the front door of the inn wide open. Inside there were signs that a terrific fight took place, the most obvious sign that there had been trouble was her husband's corpse on the floor with a bullet in the back of the head. Police decided that Albert, aka "Dago Holly", known as a bootlegger and gambler, was killed due to a liquor feud... or was it over money... or a private matter with a business associate.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pulpy goodness

"Shrink my suit and give me a hat three sizes to big eh? Take that!!"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The golden rule of the Golden Rule? Don't cause trouble

In the early hours of this date back in  1923 a Brooklyn gangster known as New York Whitey was at the Golden Rule, a private soldiers and sailors club, in Toledo, Ohio. (Did someone say speakeasy?)  Whitey wasn't on his best behavior however and got into a fight with club manager, Phil Kennedy. After the rumpus New York Whitey grabbed any billiard ball he could find and started to throw them helter skelter ( Here, There & Everywhere also acceptable). As Whitey's missiles damaged the club and possibly other patrons Phil Kennedy did what any other self respecting manager of a private soldiers & sailors legion would have done. He pulled out a gat and sent .45 caliber sedative into Whitey's heart. Calmed him down right quick and for good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The big one that didn't get away

Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and a finder of dead guys. I think that's how it goes. That's how it went anyways for a couple of Ohio fisherman who were going to get an early start eighty-three years ago today.

In the Cleveland suburb of Moreland Hills the previously mentioned anglers were driving along River road at about 2:00am when their head lights shone on the body of one Jack "Kibby" Langman. Kibby had been tossed into the road a few minutes earlier with two bullets in the back of his head.

According to police Kibby was a "gunman, gambler and a gangster member of a notorious east side mob". An Associate of his murdered a local council man and police thought that maybe Kibby was taken for a ride  because they were afraid he was gonna do a little singing that might cook a few more gooses. Another theory was that he had moved from gambling into bootlegging.  So take your pick.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bumped with care

Ninety years ago today the body of Thomas Boyle, member of the "Gold Coast" gang, was found in a ditch in Philadelphia. Unlike most gangland victims who are nonchalantly tossed from a moving auto, Thomas was laid out with a folded blanket under his head and a daisy placed in this hand. 

Boyle had been arrested for his part in a $20,000 jewelry theft at an Atlantic City hotel and was out on bail at the time of the murder. A year or so earlier a friend of his, Dutch McClaren, was found in the same area, also with his head resting on a folded blanket, but instead of a daisy, Dutch was clutching a bouquet of weeds. Guess Tommy ranked better.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

in to deep purple

Ben Bronston was a New York City fellow, with a record dating back to 1922, who worked in some capacity for Owney Madden. Like many a young man he decided his future lie elsewhere and packed his bags. Following Horace Greeley's advice he headed west and went as far as Detroit where he found love, gainful employment with the Purple Gang and an early death.

At about 3:00am on this date back in 1931 a car traversing Detroit's Sturtevant Ave. came to a stop because something was blocking it's path. That something of course was Bronston who had been shot in the stomach and head.

Bronston had been a bookkeeper for the Purples until he met a dame who thought it not proper that her future husband worked on the wrong side of the law. She talked Ben into resigning. I'm sure Ben told his employers that he'd keep his mouth shut, in fact he probably even promised to take their secrets to the grave with him. The Purples thought that was a splendid idea.

Friday, June 20, 2014

When Harry left Florence

Harry Robinson was having a swell time at the Edgewater resort located at Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. The 38-year old Chicagoan had just finished swimming with Florence, his 22-year old wife of two months, and went upstairs to use the bathroom. Flo remained down stairs in the bar area with about eight other people.

Just after Harry went up a sedan pulled up and four guys jumped out. Each held a pistol. One of them corralled all the people in the bar out onto the porch with their hands over their heads, while the other three ran up the stairs. Moments later Harry stepped out of the bathroom and into seven bullets.

The three gunmen ran back downstairs and, with the fourth, jumped back into their car and sped off. Mrs. Robinson and the others ran up stairs and found Harry outside the bathroom in a puddle of blood.

Why would anyone want to kill Harry? Who knows. Best the cops could come up with was that the shooting had something to due with the fact that Harry used to be an associate of Chicago beer baron Terry Druggan.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Chicago Double

'Twas this day in 1928 'twas that Joe Salamone and John Oliveri were put on the spot in Chicago's Little Italy. According to police, Salamone and Oliveri were bootleggers who were originally enemies of the Aiello brothers but joined with them when they believed that they were going topple Al Capone. After some time passed Salamone and Oliveri switched allegiance to Big Al & Co. and it was because of this that they were rubbed out. So said the police.

What IS known is that the duo had just stepped out of market and headed towards Salamone's car. As Salamone climbed behind the wheel a guy, we'll call him "Decoy", came up and engaged the duo in conversation. During the short chat two guys stepped out of a nearby doorway with shotguns. Decoy took a few steps back and the guns went off. Salamone fell over dead as Oliveri, wounded, made a run for it. Another quick blast brought him down.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Road House Blues

Ah yes, Crooked Lake, Illinois, a nice scenic getaway from all the hubbub in Chicago. And by hubbub we mean gangsters killing one another at an alarming rate. Yes, nothing like the nice, clean shimmering water of this natural glacial lake to refresh ones soul whether it be through simple relaxation or, perhaps you're the active type, well there is boating, swimming and fishing.

What a great place to set up a roadhouse and sell illegal beverages. Out here nobody bothers you. Our here all that gangsters nonsense is big city stuff. Out here a man can make a dishonest dollar without worry. Thoughts like this may or may not have passed through Johnny Nyhan's head. You see, Johnny was the proprietor of a "resort" at Crooked Lake and on this day in 1932 he had three visitors, most likely, from the big city.

Inside Johnny tended bar. He had two patrons at the time. Out front on the porch sat Mrs. Nyhan.  A car pulled up front and the three men stepped out. One of them was carrying a machine gun. The others pistols. They passed Mrs. Nyhan and walked in. The gent with the machine gun told the patrons to step aside. They acquiesced. Trapped behind the bar, Johnny did his best to escape as the staccato rhythm of the tommy gun rang out his death knell.

Why did three men make a special trip to Crooked Lake to rub out Johnny? Who knows. The police would have us believe that Johnny was not playing ball with a big liquor syndicate. Sounds plausible.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Crayola color, On The Spot Yellow

Tony Greco was visiting his cousin Mrs. Perconti in Gary, Indiana on this evening in 1931. Mr. Perconti was not there having been taken for a ride a year and half previously. According to the press the late Mr. Perconti was one of the top bootleggers of Gary, Indiana and Tony was his body guard.

After his visit, Tony stepped out on to the porch and into two shotgun blasts fired from the basement window of the vacant house across the street. Some of the pellets missed Tony and hit Mrs. Perconti, seriously wounding her.

While inspecting the crime scene police noticed that someone had drawn a cross on Mrs. Perconti's door with a yellow crayon. Across the street there was also a yellow cross drawn on the window that the gunmen fired from, leading police to believe that the killers were out of towners brought in for the job. They were definitely good shots.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Your guess is as good as ours

A conversation that most likely took place 84-years ago today.


Officer O’Malley: Hey, chief, remember when we found RedMcLaughlin in that drainage canal a few weeks back and you told us we should drag the rest of the canal in case any other gangsters got dumped in it?
Chief Flanagan: Sure, sure I remember what of it?
Officer O’Malley: We found another guy. Looks like he’s been there maybe six months.              
Chief Flanagan: Might be hard to get prints. Do your best.
Officer O’Malley: Uh, can’t he’s got no hands.
Chief Flanagan: Cut off his hands did they? Try to identify him through his dental work.
Officer O’Malley: Can’t. He’s got no head either.
Chief Flanagan: No head either? Gangsters are getting crafty. Well it’s a long shot but a lot of these hoodlums wear monogrammed socks. Makes ‘em feel like big shots. Try that.
Officer O’Malley: No can do. He’s got no feet either.
Chief Flanagan: Jesus, Mary and Joseph they took his feet too!!! Why would they take a man’s feet?
Officer O’Malley: Cuz they got no soles? 

CUE: Corny music

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pulpy goodness

In this issue of Affluent Weekly, How to nonchalantly shoot your butler.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

St. Louis Jones and the ride of doom

At around five a.m on this date in 1927 T.P. McCarthy was traveling along the Collinsville Rd. in East St. Louis. When he was a block north of the terminal railroad tracks he saw a dark object about three feet off the road. Being of a curious nature McCarthy pulled over and went to investigate. Guess what the "bundle" was?

If you guessed St. Louis gangster Michael Jones aka Mickey Joe Morris you win. Jones, we are told, was well known by the St. Louis police having been arrested fifty-three times in a few short years. Jones had been shot four times in the head after being conked over said noggin with some heavy instrument. Police say he was killed elsewhere and dumped.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DGIS in Cincinnati

Back when the 1920s were roaring George “Fat” Wrassman was a big wheel in the Cincinnati underworld, operating there and in nearby Hamilton, in fact some said he was the biggest wheel of Southern Ohio. Like most wheels of any respectable size he was able to beat a number of raps over the years, including murder. “It was self-defense your Honor, honest. Cross my heart, hope to die squirt some seltzer in my eye.” 

Well as the mobsters would have it, a handful of gangland killings took place in the spring of 1929, out around the rural areas of Butler County where people liked to take it easy in a cabin, you know, fish, swim, relax and oh yeah, drink at night in the many roadhouses.

Anyways, detectives wanted to talk to Wrassman about the recent uptick in dead guys in suits in the vicinity but Wrassman didn’t want to be talked to, savvy? Thus, the authorities had to go looking for him. It was on the night of June 10, that detective Joe Schaefer and his partner Walter Fricke were cruising downtown Cinncy and they saw Wrassman’s car parked. The detectives took to the streets in search of the rotund gangster. Fricke perched himself in a doorway while Schaefer loitered across the street. A handful of minutes into the new day, Schaefer was getting ready to call it quits when he heard someone holler, “I’m going to kill you, you dirty--”* It was Wrassman and he saw Schaefer before the detective saw him. The gangster pulled his pistol and fired off two shots, both of which missed. Schaefer un-holstered his piece and fired off five shots all of which hit.  Wrassman collapsed muttering, “Joe, you got me at last.” Then he said no more, forever.

* Newspaper editors didn’t want to offend the reading public with gangster cursing so we don’t know exactly what Wrassman followed up “…you dirty—“with. Therefore I would like to hear from anyone else as to what they believe the edited blaspheme was. I’m going with “I’m going to kill you, you dirty birdy!”

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

25% success rate

In 1930 there was a wee bit of a gang warfare going on in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn between the established hoodlumism of the Shapiro brothers, Meyer and Irving, and the upstarts Abe Reles, Buggsy Goldstein, Harry "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss and the rest of their click which included their counterparts of neighboring Ocean Hill (the two gangs united under the moniker of the Combination)

Eighty-four years ago on this date Reles, Goldstein and  two other guys named George DeFeo and Joe Ambrosia stopped into a candy store to pick up the profits of a slot machine.

While the quartet was in the store a Shapiro man crept up to their car and slit the rear driver's side tire. When the gangsters reappeared Reles began to change the tire while his associates loitered about. Moments later a car drove by and a Thompson machine-gun spat fiery death as the pulps might say. All four gangsters took a dose of lead but it was DeFeo who got the worst of it with bullets in the heart and head. Reles, Goldstein and Ambrosia lived to fight another day but DeFeo was done.

The full story on the Shapiro/Combination's battle for Brownsville can be found in Gangster City.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Smoking do the rackets.

With cigarette in hand Aloysius Kearney, who had a record dating back to at least 1917, walked along South Troy Street after a hard day/night of making collections from Chicago area garage owners on this date back in 1930. Yes, there was a garage racket officially known as the National Association of Garage Owners. (Other than not getting bombed or shot, I wonder what the garage owners got for their dues?) Anyways, as Aloysius made his way along the sidewalk a car pulled up and a number of shots rang out. Five hit him in the chest and one in the head. With cigarette still clenched in his hand,  Aloysius crumbled to the ground dead.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Talk isn't cheap

Eighty-two years ago today Joseph Hillop, a convicted jewel thief, was found in a ditch with a battered face, a sash cord wrapped around his neck and few bullets in his person. Why would somebody do such a horrible thing you ask?

Well, according to police Joe was part of a gang that got arrested for robbing a Camden, New Jersey jewelry store and Joe, along with fellow gang member Frank Bieliec, gave some evidence that resulted in nice long sentences for their confederates and really short ones for themselves. So if you do the math: Long sentences – short sentences, carry the one = Joe in a Hammonton, NJ ditch…What’s that? What about Frank Bieliec? Well, “Spoiler” you’ll have to tune in next March to find out about him.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ticket to ride

Eighty-eight years ago today the "bullet riddled" body of 24 year old James Sexton was found lying in the road on the outskirts of Chicago. James, it was said, was a beer runner who was taken for the proverbial ride and tossed out.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pulpy Goodness

Today's lesson - Never date a girl named Proxy.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

He knew it was coming

Alberto Ricci, or Al Ritchie, as he was popularly known, was an underworld big shot in the region of Olean, New York and Bradford, Pennsylvania. It was in the latter that he was rubbed out on this date in 1931. 

Known as a squealer, Al was sitting behind the wheel of his car chatting with one of his minions, Tony Maccio, when, “A big fellow pushed right up, stuck a gun in the car and started firing.” Three shots slammed into Ritchie’s head and a fourth went into his shoulder. Maccio turned and received two in the back after they had passed through his boss.

After the gunman fled, Ritchie miraculously stepped from his car. Maccio too clamored out and collapsed on the sidewalk. Ritchie was able to walk to the ambulance that arrived shortly but died a few hours later. Maccio would succumb to his wounds in the coming weeks.

Al, who knew he was on the spot, was laid to rest in a bronze coffin he picked out for himself just a few weeks previously. While paying his last respects to one of his guys, who was also sent the way of all gangster flesh, he told the mortuary proprietor that he might as well pick out a box for himself since it was only a matter of time.

Oh, and by the way, the “Big Fellow” who did the shootin’ would prove to be one Antonio Lorenzo Demaio aka Tony Lorenzo. Maccio, like his boss, had no problem spilling to cops. Tony Lorenzo claimed self-defense.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Three out of Four escaping convicts agree... is best not to be the last one over the fence.

Like Jack Kerouac before me, I've decided to hit the road. That's right, time to explore the country and report back about the gangsters and general nogoodniks from other parts of this fine land. So with a Vespa and dream I've decided to report from the Mother road, as well as the father, aunt, uncle, cousins, grand niece roads in between.

First stop, southern Ohio, where on this date in 1929 Stanly Starr and three other inmates made a break from the Ohio penitentiary. Stan and the boys worked outside of the pen in a brick factory. Only thing keeping the brick men from freedom was a tall fence...and some armed guards. Well, the boys decided that they had enough of bricks and dashed for the fence. Stanley, however, wasn't as quick as the other fellers.They were up and over just as the guards were able to raise their guns. Stan wasn't so lucky he was in mid climb when the guards yelled for him to stop. The yelling sounded a lot like "Bang" "Crack" "Rat-a-tat-tat" and Stanley fell to the ground with bullets through the abdomen and pelvis.

His cohorts however made it to the woods. This is/was mining country so there was no shortage of tunnels and whatnot for the convicts to successfully hideout. After a handful of days of searching in vain, the authorities called off the manhunt. I guess you could do that back then. Stan went to the prison hospital where the prognosis was that Stan would not serve his full sentence.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Waxy loses a couple of guys

On this date in 1933 beer mogul Waxy Gordon was sitting safely in jail waiting for his income tax trial to commence while members of his gang were being thinned out by the Bug & Meyer mob. In the early morning hours of June 2, a car was found in the Bronx containing the body of Abe Durst, a forty- year old associate of the gang leader and later on this night across the river in Passaic, New Jersey, just as patrons were exiting a local theater, a sedan drove down the street and a burst of machine gun fire left Charles Brady, said to be a Gordon associate, dead on the sidewalk. Ah, the good old days when you could go to the local movie palace and see a gangster picture then walk outside and see an actual gangster get sprayed with a tommy gun.