"He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." - Chicago Gangster Ted Newberry. Rubbed out January 7, 1933

Friday, April 30, 2010

Knock yer Block off

Harry Block, an associate of Owney Madden’s, who owned a piece of both the Cotton Club and the Silver Slipper nightclubs and was also a bootlegger got his on this date back in 1930.

It appears from his movements on the night of his death that Block didn't know he was a marked man. He picked up his wife and they went out for dinner, which was followed by the late show at the Capitol Theater. After the show they went to another restaurant and finally caught a taxi for the ride home to their apartment building. Not really trying to stay out of sight.

At 3:00am the Blocks arrived at their apartment building and the doorman unlocked the front door and escorted them onto the elevator to take them up to their 15th floor apartment. Mrs. Block stepped in and to the side behind the doorman who was by the controls. Mr. Block stepped in and turned around to face the door and just as the doors were shutting two men, each brandishing two pistols, appeared out of nowhere. One of the gunmen yelled an insult at Block who, seeing the pistols, let out a scream and instinctively threw up his arm to protect his face as the gunmen let loose a barrage of shots.

Block took lead in the neck and forearm. The gunmen ran out and escaped in a tan sedan that had been waiting for them. The doorman wanted to call an ambulance but Mrs. Block said no since it would attract the police so instead Harry was loaded into a cab and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Murder amongst the Irish continued on this date in 1927 when Timothy Looman was walking on the lower Westside and 21 yr oldThomas O’Brien, said to have been a “gun toter” for the Cry Baby gang, (who was the Cry Baby gang you ask? Why the answer to that can be found in Bad Seeds in the Big Apple) approached him from the opposite direction. When the two men were about thirty feet away from each other, each pulled out a gun and began firing in true old west fashion.

Witness’s said up to thirty shots were fired and Looman collapsed on the corner (not unlike Rocky Racoon who collapsed "in the corner" da-da-da..) but before dropping dead he managed to hit O'Brien.

Severely wounded, O’Brien tried to run away but only got as far as the St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church, before crumpling to the sidewalk. A Monsignor and a priest (who bore striking resemblences to Pat O'Brien and Spencer Tracy) were the first ones to reach O’Brien and after viewing his wounds, administered the last rights, which was good cause he died the following day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Two Gun saga III

When we last left off Crowley had shot and wounded Detective Shaedel before making a getaway. He managed to elude the police while banging around the city and one of his hangouts was a taxi-dance joint called the Primrose Dance Palace. There he met a hulking lump named Rudolph Duringer and the two became pals.

Duringer was hot for a dancer at the Primrose named Virginia Brannen and would often buy up all her tickets so he was the only one with whom she would dance. Seventy-nine years ago this morning at 1:00am Duringer, or Fat, as he was called showed up at the Primrose with a friend and his date and hooked up with Brannen.

At some point Crowley arrived and after a couple of hours he and the two couples left. After hitting a few speakeasies and then breakfast they went for a drive. Crowley was behind the wheel with the one couple dozing in the front seat while Fat and Brannen were in the back playing around. During the ride Brannen let Fat know that she was going to marry some other guy. What was a jealous knucklehead to do? Duringer pulled out his gun and shot her.

The shot woke up the couple in the front seat. Brannen pleaded to be taken to a hospital and the couple in the front asked to be let out at a drug store. Crowley pulled over and let the couple out and told them he'd be back shortly.

Since Crowley was wanted by the police he didn't want to take Brannen to the hospital so he pulled over by a seminary and he and Duringer tossed the still alive girl over a wall into some bushes where she eventually died. He then returned to the drug store and picked up the other couple.

After a few days of investigative work detectives knew that Crowley and Duringer were behind Brannen's death and Two Gun was now the hottest criminal in the City.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tommy Lee gets busted. (no not that one)

Ninety-nine years ago today Tom Lee, the unofficial “Mayor of Chinatown” and head of the On Leong Tong was arrested while eating his lunch. The charge? Gasp! Why there was gambling going on in that (at the time) tiny little district encompassing Mott, Doyers and Pell streets.

The police were given evidence that Lee was paid tribute to the tune of $15 per gambling table in his bailiwick each week and that there were 95 tables. Not bad. Where did the police get their info? From Mock Duck, Lee’s chief rival and top dog in the Hip Sing tong.

It also came out that Lee didn’t actually keep all of that gambling loot either, that some of it was, surprise!, kicked upstairs to politicians. My, my who’d a thunk it.

Mock Duck may have thought he was being pretty foxy but he was also arrested. Turns out during a previous arrest for an old murder charge he had promised to leave town if given bail. So he was released and came back and apparently forgot about his promise.

Both Tong leaders were forced to sit down for a forty-five minute lecture from the Police Commissioner in which they were told that gambling in Chinatown had to stop and that they had to stop carrying guns around as well. Both Tong men assured the Commissioner that his wishes would be granted and they walked out together smiling as if they were old chums.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Not since the Dalton Brothers were shot to pieces in Coffeyville, Kansas have three siblings fell so fast before an enemies gun until the Lawlor brothers caught lead on this date back in 1930 . The Lawlors were not trying to rob a bank when they were shot down however, not that they were above banditry, the brothers all had police records and were not unknown to prison, but they in fact were toiling in the Hells Kitchen speakeasy owned by their brother in-law Bartley Cronin when the end came.

Twenty-three year old Lawrence was behind the bar when gangster in training David Beadle entered the tavern and began waving a pistol around. Knowing the violent history of the Lawlor Brothers, the customers began to inch their way to the door as Lawrence began to holler at twenty-two year old Beadle. Beadle began gloating about his toughness, which only enraged Lawrence who came out from behind the bar and went for the gunman.

Beadle pointed his gun at Lawrence’s heart and pulled the trigger. Lawrence dropped in the doorway separating the bar and the back room. Hearing the shot, brothers Michael and William came out of the rear room and, seeing their prostrate brother, jumped over him and rushed Beadle who quickly fired off another fusillade. Three of the bullets found their mark, Michael was hit in both the head and chest and William was critically wounded in the stomach. Beadle quickly exited but was later picked up by the police.

Lawrence was dead before the authorities arrived and Michael, age thirty, died at the hospital. Thirty-three year old William was also taken to the hospital and eventually recovered. While there he refused to answer any questions, which didn’t surprise the police because on the previous August 23, he was shot in the groin and refused to say anything. Michael, who was known as “Bootsy”, had been a suspect in the killing of a police officer in 1921 but was released

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Writer's block? No time.

Who knows how prolific a writer can be when he applies himself? The author of the Shadow knows..heh-heh-heh

I don't normally talk about writing but came across something I thought the writers who stop by could appreciate. In 1931 Walter Gibson signed on to write four 60K word novels for a new detective pulp called the Shadow. Seems like writing four short novels a year would be a big task, but then the first two proved so successful the publishers decided to make it a monthly magazine so now Gibson (who wrote under the pen name Maxwell Grant) had to come up with twelve 60K word stories a year and this is on a type writer don't forget.

One would think that Gibson had absolutely no time for anything else but he actually finished the dozen stories ahead of time, which worked out well because by the end of the year the magazine, now uber popular, went twice-monthly. So for the second year he had to crank out twenty-four novels. 24x60k = 1,440,000 words a year, and he did this for a number of years.

Over the course of the periodical's eighteen year run he wrote 282 Shadow novels. Wow. I suspect writer's block wasn't in his vocabulary, nor could he have waited around for the correct mood to hit.

Round 'em up

On April 10, 1922 a gaggle of gunmen stopped in at Benjamin Sandberg’s fur coat store at 1817 Madison Ave. and helped themselves to $28,000 worth of furs. Not having any shooting irons of their own Sandberg and his three associates stood idly by as the inventory was loaded into a car and carried off.

But the joke was on the bandits for they were magic pelts and eighty-eight years ago tonight there was a full moon and the animals came back to life and ate…no, actually what happened was that detectives got the low down on the mob and four of them went to the apartment the desperados shared.

The arrests were rather simple. One detective knocked on the door and one of the yeggs answered it. When the door was opened the other three detectives rushed in with guns drawn. Four guys and two girls were in the apartment and lined up against the wall. While two detectives kept the bandidos covered the other two searched the place and found two guns under the bed, two in the dumb waiter and two in a frying pan out on the fire escape.

While discovering the last two guns a detective saw a red car pull up and four smartly dressed fellers get out and enter the apartment building. Moments later the doorbell rang. A couple of armed detectives opened the door and immediately arrested the new comers.

Mack Sennett bought the rights to what happened next. The whole entourage entered the buildings elevator and went to the first floor but since there was so many of them the cable snapped and they crashed into the basement. Nobody was hurt but they were trapped for quarter of an hour until the landlord could get them out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Adam's apple sauce

Today marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of hoodlum Robert Weiner taking his final bow on the Gangster City stage.

Weiner first came to attention in 1926 when he was arrested for his participation in the botched Tombs breakout by his pal Hyman Amberg and the latter’s associates Robert Berg and Mike McKenna. After being interrogated by Sgt. Rubberhose and Lt. Blackjack he signed a confession stating that he supplied the guns used in the break out.

He spent thirteen months on death row because of the confession but was subsequently released after retrial. At the very least it seems that he was going to act as getaway driver for the escapees.

In December of 1928 Weiner was arrested with three other bandits during an attempted safe blowing. Since they were picked up before they actually got into the safe they only received two years for having guns.

Weiner next shows up in custody in 1932 for his part in trying to organize a pharmacy racket. Nothing came of it. The Weinster managed to stay out of sight until April 20, 1935 when he was taking part in a supposed drug deal. Something went awry and Weiner pulled his gun and fired two shots into another guy’s throat. Some one else there pulled out his roscoe and sent a lover letter into Weiner’s windpipe.

Both bad men were taken to Bellevue hospital where Weiner.., well, we already know what happened to him.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bronx duel

It’s been a while so lets all take a ride in the way back machine…ready,

Date: 94 years ago today
Time: 10:29p.m
Location: Corner of Macomb’s Dam Park, Bronx
Here we go>

Wow, pretty desolate….listen to the crickets. Never mind, they’re being drowned out by the elevated subway that just left the station over there. Across that field to your right you’ll see a rail road ditch, now the bridge going over it, there are two cops on the other side. You can’t see them now but one has a motorcycle.

See that open area over there? In seven years that’s gonna be Yankee Stadium and over there the court house..and…later, quick jump in the door way of this tavern, seeing that it’s the only building around. Here come the participants.

And freeze

That cute couple walking our way is Joe Schweitzer and Mary Schlehlein. They just got off that subway that went by returning from a lovely evening at the theater in Manhattan. See those two guys over there with dark overcoats and matching hats approaching them? They’re a couple of yeggs looking for some easy dough.


There’s their guns. Right now the one on the left is telling them to keep quiet. Quick plug your ears.




Whoa, had to take a break from yelling. Here’s what’s going on now. The two cops on the other side of the bridge heard everything and are on their way over. The motorcycle guy is gonna get here first but we’re not interested in him right now. We’re gonna walk over to the bridge and go under just out of sight cause one of the yeggs is gonna run this way and right into officer McGovern, the cop on foot. Let’s get over there….ok ready,


There’s Mary screaming, ok, that’s the motor cycle coming over. Look here comes the yegg crossing the field and jumping down to the tracks, I can hear McGovern over us right now…He’s off the bridge, his gun is out, there’s the yegg climbing out of the ditch.


And freeze

Ok, what we’re about to see is kind of gross but trust me, McGovern lives.


Yegg doesn’t want to halt so yells back with his gat.

That sickening thud was the yegg’s bullet hitting McGovern in the forehead. But watch, McGovern is falling but raises his gun and squeezes one off.


That equaling sickening thud was McGovern’s bullet connecting with yegg’s right temple. Trust me he’s not gonna be all right. In fact he’s dead.

Not much else to see here, McGovern and Joe go to the hospital and survive.
Good guys 1- Yeggs 0

Back in the machine


What a nice day trip ok back to work.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pop, Pop, Pop Egan

London, Paris, Frankfurt, Cleveland everybody talk about Pop Egan.

John “Pop” Egan had been out of Sing Sing for four months when he was sleeping in the rear of Samuel Zournagian’s grocery store on this date back in 1927. Police said that the store also doubled as gang hangout. At about 9:15 pm three men came into the rear of the building and woke Pop up. As the ex-con was rising one of the men drew a pistol and shot him twice in the head. Pop went back to sleep. Two men, James Durkin and Thomas “Scrub” Morrissey, were both subsequently arrested for the murder but both were acquitted June 19, 1928 for lack of evidence.

Wonder why they woke him up first?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A black hander gets black and blue

Alfred Pino had been receiving black hand letters demanding money but chose to ignore them resulting in his being shot by a tall, muscular Italian guy with a scarred bullet wound over his right eye.

Cut to 102 years ago today when plain clothed detective Londrigan was walking in Little Italy and to his surprise saw a tall, muscular Italian guy with the scarred bullet wound over his right eye. The detective immediately jumped on the guy, who was about a foot taller than him, and attempted to subdue him.

Of course all the Italian guy knew was that some Irish guy pounced on him so a fight ensued. Londrigan was thrown to the ground and found a pistol barrel pressed against his head. The detective pushed the gun away and managed to throw scar eye to the ground. By this time a crowd of locals gathered and laughed as they saw one of their country men start to get the better of his opponent.

Things changed when Londrigan managed to get his gun out and brought it down repeatedly on scar eye's head. Seeing their countryman go limp the locals started yell at the detective and a dozen or so closed in. The detective pointed his pistol at them and kept them at bay until reinforcements arrived.

Scar eye was brought to the hospital and Pino identified him as the man who shot him. After fingerprints the gunman was IDed as Raffael Tucci who had fled Sicily for crimes committed and was also wanted in Brooklyn for a jewelry theft.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Not so easy rider

Today's lesson. Never punch a cop in the face.

Nicholas Gallo should have known this, especially on this date in 1915 when Courtesy Professionalism and Respect weren't a NYPD trademark. It all started when Gallo and his pal Joe Russo stopped into a motorcycle shop posing as customers. The former found a model he liked and asked if he could take it for a test ride. Of course, what salesman would say no?

So Gallo got on the bike and headed down 8th Avenue...and never came back. Russo in the meantime pulled a disappearing act. To get to the meat of the story both were arrested. While Gallo was being escorted to the police station by a detective Bernard Devanney he popped the detective in the face and ran across the street.

Devanney ordered him to halt but the suspect kept going. Seeing that a truck was about to cross their path and that the thief would make a getaway the officer drew his gun and put a bullet in the back of his head.

Gallo was severly wounded but survived and went on to become, along with his brothers, famous wine manufacturers...Ok, not so sure about the last part.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Boss gets Bumped

Today marks the 79th anniversary of the Boss getting it. You see there was this Dunkin Donuts in Brooklyn and a car containing Jesse James, John Dillinger and Guy Fawkes pulled up front and left the motor running. The trio entered armed with an 1851 Navy Colt revolver, a Thompson machinegun and a barrel of gun powder, respectively.

Once inside they asked for “the Boss” a man behind the counter went into the back and moments later a guy came out with a pink and brown shirt and matching visor that read “Boss”. “May I help you?” he asked politely. He was immediately answered with a barrage of .36 & .45 caliber bullets. Guy Fawkes by this time had returned to the parking lot to light the fuse to his keg of powder.

James and Dillinger hot footed it back to the car and the trio took off. Looking back Fawkes saw an employee pouring day old coffee on his fuse. “All things Protestant!” He exclaimed, “Foiled again!”

I’m pretty sure that’s the way it happened. According to Joe Valachi anyways.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mad Max

Max Ostransky known to lower east side gangdom as "Young Sharkey" did not suffer parsimony lightly. In December of 1912 he threw a fundraising dance for the "Young Sharkey Association" the proceeds of which no doubt went to a good cause.

Two fellers, Harry Salkin and Charles Shapiro, were invited for a measly $1 a piece but failed to show. The following day YS found them at the corner of Broome & Orchard and confronted them about their stinginess. Not being a man of many words Young Sharkey let his gat do most of the talking. With a bullet in the back Salkin and Shapiro who received his admonishment in the side were sent to the hospital. Young Sharkey was picked up.

On this date back in 1913 Young Sharkey received a sentence of between 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years. Judge Rosalsky (who seems to have been the only Judge in NYC at the time.) sent him off with the salutary:

You tried to step into the space left vacant after the murder of Zelig and I have no use for men of your type. I am giving you the maximum sentence as a lesson to others who would follow in your footsteps."

and the lesson worked because after Young Sharkey went away there was no more crime in New York City. The end. Nighty night, sleep tight.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pulp Non-Fiction

Today’s entry is right out of the pulps, you got your colorful villain “The Phantom Burglar” and two heroes; Doc Savage, scratch that, it was Doctor Kramer and his trusty side kick Speyer, Archibald Speyer. And even some good bad dialogue to boot.

William Fonner aka the Phantom Burglar -so called because he was able to evade capture from a dozen detectives one night on Fifth Avenue- was plying his trade at about 3 a.m. this day in 1922. With some implements he began working on the front door lock of the apartment building at 32 East 58th Street.

Little did the Phantom know but there was a female tenant in one of the front apartments lying awake suffering from a toothache who heard his fiddling around and peak out the window and caught sight of him.

She called Doc Kramer who immediately tore open his pajama top baring his well sculpted and bronzed chest. Doc grabbed his pistol and woke up Speyer aka Archibald who grabbed a hunting rifle and followed the good doctor downstairs.

Each of our heroes took up positions on each side of the hall and pointed their weapons at the door. Within a few minutes the Phantom was inside. Once they were sure their arch nemesis was in the foyer they sprung their trap!

Doc Kramer hit the light switch while Speyer hit a switch that autimaticallyclosed the door. The Phantom was trapped! “Hands up!” yelled the doctor. The Phantom looked about and saw that he was covered by both men. Thinking fast the villain said, “This is all a mistake; I came to see the Doctor.”
To which Doc Kramer replied, “Well, you are seeing him now, and my diagnosis of your trouble is that you will surely die if you don’t keep quiet and your hands up.” Pleased with his cheese the doctor continued with, “I’ll first prescribe a policeman for your case.” After which the Doc drew out a whistle and blew it until a flat foot arrived and took the Phantom in.

Once the police were gone Doc Kramer and Speyer sat in the study smoking cigars discussing the case while the former amused himself by dropping as many doctor references into the conversation as possible.
“Well, Speyer, I think we cured the Phantom of his burglaritis.”
“Ha ha. Well said Doctor.”
“Indeed Speyer, that’s the last house call he’ll be making for awhile.”
“Oh, doctor you’re really too much!”
“Yes Speyer, and the Phantom thought he’d be the one operating tonight.”
“Ha haYaaawwn….it’s getting late.”
"Wait, Speyer there's more...Speyer?"

Sunday, April 11, 2010

All in a Days Work

Officer Hughes was standing on the corner of 116th and First Ave. ninety-six years ago today at 5:30p.m. when a woman came up to him and said a gang had just stole her purse. Hughes followed her back and she identified one of the gang -Louis Pietro- as one of those who had robbed her and Hughes grabbed him.

Within a couple of moments Pietro's confederates started pelting Hughes with rocks and anything else that could be used for a missile. Then Pietro's gangmates attacked the officer and took his nightstick and freed their pal who took off running into a six story tenement.

Hughes pulled away from the mob and chased Pietro up the six flights to the roof and caught him just as he was trying to jump onto a fire escape. A good old fashioned Hollywood type brawl ensued as cop and robber duked it out on the roof. Each one getting the better of the other. After a bit Hughes finally subdued Pietro and dragged him down the six flights of stairs. Back on the side walk Pietro's boys once again started to pelt the officer with bricks & co.

Having enough Hughes pushed Pietro up against the wall and pulled out his pistol and held the other gang members at bay. Fortunately during the melee somebody in the neighborhood had called the police and soon the gong of a paddy wagon could be heard approaching.

One of the gang members slipped out of the crowd and pushed the stolen purse back into the original owner's hands and everyone took off, save Pietro who was taken to the station.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bag full of Mike

Robberies were a near daily occurance on Manhattan's lower west side eight plus decades ago so saloon keeper Tony Renali got a gun and placed it near his cash register. A week or so later, 88-years ago today to be exact, three local bandits entered his bar with gats and held the joint up. The took $90 from Renali's register and whatever the customers had.

Once they had the goods the banditti - Angelo Sposato, John Drinane and Mike Swift aka "Mike the Burglar"- exited the premises promising to kill anyone who tried to follow. As the trio left, Swift in the rear, Renali grabbed his pistol and let it say goodbye for him. Swift caught both parting sentiments in the back. He staggered then fell. His pals turned and sent some lead at Renali and his patrons and they fled into the rear of the saloon. Picking up their wounded partner Sposato and Drinane took off.

Renali called the police and while he was on the phone, a couple of blocks away two cops saw Sposato and Drinane lift a large burlap sack off a delivery wagon and start for a tenement building. Something didn't look right so they appraoched the guys and looking in the bag and found "Mike the burglar" suffering from his wounds. Mike was shipped off to the hospital and his confederates to the police station where Renali IDed both of them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Outta the doorway the bullet rips

Though his family denied it, Eugene Smith was said to be a member of one of the lower Eastside gangs. His record showed that he was arrested twice in 1909 for assault and robbery and again in 1910 for the same. He also worked as a bartender.

On this date in 1913 Smith was on his way to a ball being held by the Italian Democratic Club of Tammany Hall when he stopped to talk to some friends at the corner of Park Row and New Chambers Streets. After he finished his conversation he walked down to the next corner not realizing that the four men he just saw step into a door way were there to kill him.

As Smith passed the building one of the four, Michael Sullivan, age twenty-seven, fired a bullet that entered Eugene’s left temple and exited at the base of his skull. The gangster pitched forward dead and Sullivan and his amigos jumped over the dead man and ran away.

The murder most likely would have gone unsolved, police assumed that Smith was involved with a gang of bandits currently ripping off Cigar stores and bumped off by said bandits, but Sullivan, wracked with guilt, turned himself in the next day after confessing to a priest. He told authorities that it was a case of self-defense saying that Smith was out to get him and if he didn’t strike first Smith would surely have killed him

Monday, April 5, 2010

Freedom or Bust

Eighty years ago today Anthony Tarrella became an ex-con by escaping from Sing Sing prison but not the way he intended. After dinner he and the other inmates were out in the yard when the call came to line up and return to their cells.

As the convicts were marching in Tarrella suddenly ran for the wall in full view of the machine-gun toting guards. His brothers in stripes yelled for him to stop but he made it to the wall and scaled the twelve feet and dropped. He ran to the second wall, an eighteen footer, and climbed that one too as one of the guards raised his Tommy gun and yelled, “Stay where you are or I’ll shoot!”

Tarrella flung himself off the wall and was momentarily free as his body flew into the Hudson River, but just as he splashed down the officer with the Thompson let go with a blast. Moments later Tarrella floated to the surface, an ex-convict

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Bowery Boys

In the wee hours of the morning on this date in 1920, three burglars were in the process of robbing a jewelry store at 134 Bowery when they set off an alarm. The alarm was hooked up to a private protective agency and some guards were sent out. They called the cops and a total of eleven men showed up at the building.

The store was located on the second floor of the building and the proprietor lived on the third with his family. The cops woke up the owner and he through down the key so they could get in.

The cops and guards broke up into three groups. One was sent around the block to Christie street to cut off any retreat and one was stationed in front of the building. The third group ran into the building and headed for the courtyard but heard the bandits above so changed the plan and headed upstairs. When they got to the top a burglar was waiting and fired a number of shots in their direction. The cops went for cover while the bandits slid down the drain pipe and hopped a fence and disappeared.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Shemp and Curly, you stay in the car. Larry, you come with me.

Ok, guys we want this caper to go over smooth. After all if this robbery works out who knows what’s next? Payrolls, jewelry stores maybe even banks. Ok, let’s run through the check list one more time.

Crime scene with plenty of witnesses. Check
Two gunmen without nerve. Check
Getaway driver using his own car. Check

Ok, lets do this!
Ruff ruff rufff
Spread out!

Eighty –eight years ago today four would be bandits set into motion quite possibly the lamest attempt at banditry since, well, since the previous lame attempt.

The quartet drove to 15 East 109th Street and two gunmen entered the building while the getaway car stayed parked out front with numerous neighborhood folk meandering around. The landlord of said domicile, Sam Rapport, was collecting the rent and they were going to rob him once he was finished. Fine. So they hide behind the staircase waiting for Sam and he finally comes down with the money.

“Stick ‘em up! Give us the dough!”

Before Sam hands over any money a guy, Harold Toner, who happened to enter the hall–sans weapon- comes over to help Sam. The two gunmen panic and run. One of the confederates in the car kicks open the rear door and they jump in. The driver guns it and they speed down the street with Toner –sans weapon- chasing them on foot.

What Toner lacked in weaponry he made up for in memory. He tailed the car long enough to memorize the license plate. The cops learn that it belongs to Anthony Ciccilone who lives over on 116th Street. Cops walk over. There’s the car parked right out front.

Knock, knock

“You Anthony?’
“Gulp, yes”
“Come with us please.”

“Mr. Toner, ladies and gentleman of 109th Street, is this the man who was driving the getaway car?”

"N'yuck, n'yuck, n'yuck"

Case closed.