Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Harlem Shuffle

On this date in 1931, Andrew D'Amato,the twenty-four year old proprietor of The Bible Club, a Harlem speakeasy, was put on the spot.
Three bullets had been fired into his skull and then a tablecloth was wrapped around his head to prevent a bloody mess. His body was then loaded into a car, driven outside of the city and tossed out near Mt. Vernon where a passing milkman found him early in the morning.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Clang clang clang went the trolley, bang bang bang went the gun

Ninety-nine years ago today, Mafia man Joseph "Joe Chuck" Nazzaro was lured to Yonkers by his "friends" under the pretext of killing one of their own. This was a lie however because Navarro was the one on the spot. The four men were seen walking down the street at 10:00pm when the supposed victim complained of a stomach ache and fell behind. When he was in the rear he pulled out a pistol and fired into Nazzaro's back. The remaining gangsters took out their guns and fired into the doomed hoodlum as well. In an attempt to obliterate his identity the killers dragged the dead man onto some street car tracks. A car came along and ran Nazzaro over and dragged him for about a hundred feet. Although he was badly mangled (it took a crew about a half hour to remove "Joe Chuck" from the front of the car) his finger prints were still intact and he was properly indentified.

For more on Joe Chuck and his pals check out Gangster City

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Dead Baron

On March 14, 1930 twenty-nine year old William "Baron" Simpson was added to the list of murder victims in Brooklyn's White Hand* territory when his body was found in an 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 7, 2016

Mad Men

On this date in 1927 Sam Raplansky, a thirty-year old member of the Madison Street Boys, was hanging out at the mobs HQ, the Madison Street Boys club. At about 10:00 p.m. he left for a while but returned around midnight.

At that time the club was crowded with various gang members including his brother Harry. While in the hallway somebody came up to Sam and shot him in the face twice and once in the body.  Rushing into the hallway, Harry and other gang members found Sam and carried him outside to a cab for a rushed trip to the hospital. All was for naught however as Samuel had been killed instantly.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Jersey Devlin

On this date back in 1929 a man was walking in a field near what was known as the Somerville-Clinton Highway in Whitehouse, New Jersey when he saw what he thought to be a pile of clothes near a clump of pine trees. [Long time readers of DGIS have probably already figured out what it was]. Investigating, he made the grisly discovery that it was a frozen DGIS who had been shot in the left temple three times.

Police identified the dead man as Frank "Blubber" Devlin and figured that he had been "taken for a ride" roughly forty-eight hours earlier. The condition of his pants and coat showed that he had been dumped from a car and dragged to his resting spot by the pine trees.

"Legs" Diamond was credited with killing Devlin although it was never proved. Revenge was given as the reason because Devlin, supposedly on orders from Arnold Rothstein, was sent to Denver, Colorado with fellow gangsters Eugene Moran and Joe Piteo, to kill Legs' brother Eddie who was convalescing there from with tuberculosis. [Moran and Piteo were definitely on the hit team. There was a third man but as of yet he hasn't been positively identified]

Devlin had an extensive record dating back to the September 6,1921 murder of Walter Vogel with whom he shot it out with at the Transfer saloon. Since that time police said that he had been involved with Owney Madden's gang as well as keeping busy as a robber. When he left his home for the last time on February 6, he had three indictments against him from the previous year, one for assault and robbery, one for robbery  and one  for grand larceny. Where he was going that February 6, is unknown but after he said good-bye to his mother and brother he went to the bank, withdrew $1000 and disappeared.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Look out! There goes the Spider Man

John "Spider" Murtha, called "The toughest man in Brooklyn" by detectives, was gunned down by killers from Murder Inc. on this date in 1935. Born circa 1898 Murtha dubbed himself "Spider" while a featherweight boxer in his youth but it was his exploits outside of the ring that made the plug-ugly an infamous Brooklyn character. It was said that Murtha enjoyed being pointed out in taverns as a "Cop beater" and that he never carried a gun choosing instead to rely on a razor or any weapon he could improvise out of broken beer bottle or mug.

The boys from Murder Inc. caught up with Spider at 10:30 a.m. when he and his girlfriend, Marie Nestfield, were returning from an all night outing, they had just exited a hotel when the two gunmen quietly walked up behind them. As one of them pushed Marie aside the other one exclaimed, "Now we got you Spider!" and the two men fired a total of five shots into Murtha hitting him twice in the head and three times in the chest. "Spider" stumbled for a moment then collapsed dead next to an elevated subway pillar.







For more info on Spider and Murder Inc. check out Gangster City.