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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Marks X the spot

We now return to the elimination of Waxey Gordon's gang, already in progress. Murray Marks  joined the ranks of the recently deceased on this date back in 1933. Originally from St. Louis Marks was involved in the narcotics side of the Gordon empire. He lived in the same Bronx apartment complex where Joe “The Boss” Masseria’s lieutenants Steve Ferrigno and Al Mineo were cut down by shotguns less than three years earlier during the Castellemarese War.

Marks got his as he exited a bus at the intersection of Pelham Parkway South and White Plains Avenue. As he stepped off a gunman ran up and fired five shots at him. Two bullets found their mark in Marks and proved fatal. The gunman jumped into a waiting sedan and sped off.

A search of the dead man's apartment turned up a pound of opium but more interestingly a search of an abandoned apartment across the courtyard turned up a high-powered rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. Not only did Marks live in the same complex where Mineo and Ferrigno were gunned down but he almost met the exact same fate.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Should have just said "No".

Return with me, if you will, to Harlem's little Italy, more specifically East 107th Street, eighty-seven years ago today. It is a little after midnight and Sing Sing alumnus Angelo Marino, a bootlegger and drug dealer, has  just conducted some business in a tenement.

As Angelo gets into his car, as many as six men come up along the rear and open fire. Bullets pepper the car and two of them strike Marino in the head killing him. Unfortunately there are pedestrians about and as Marino slumps over his steering wheel, a woman is killed when a bullet enters the back of her head.

The police interview everyone in the tenement that Marino emerged from, but nobody admits to having met with him. The police do however, find a shoebox on the roof of the building containing $3,000 worth of drugs.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The perfect beach read

I know what all you long time DGIS readers are thinking. I really loved that three part series about the Tri-State gang from a few years back, wish there was more to read about them thar eastern desperados.

Well your collective wish has been answered. Author and historian Seldon Richardson has come out with a new book about Mais & Legenza:


Mention this blog when ordering and receive a blank stare.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

House call

In the summer of 1931 the war between Dutch Schultz and a group of his disgruntled former gunmen headed by Vincent Coll was raging throught the Bronx and Harlem. A victim of said war was thirty-one year old John Saricelli, described by the New York Herald as "a superintendent of a fleet of trucks used to transport Dutch Schultz’s beer into Harlem and Bronx speakeasies."

At 3:45 am two gunmen, each armed with a .45, went to his house and rang his doorbell. Saricelli made his way downstairs and answered the door.  “Good morning” one of the gunmen said, each then fired one shot into Saricelli's chest.

The gunmen fled as Dutch's superintendent stumbled into his kitchen. He had his wife light him a cigarette before allowing her to call an ambulance. Once in the "wagon" The police pumped him for information but Saricelli kept true to the gangster code. “Get away. Don’t bother me. I know I’m dying but you get nothing from me.” And they didn't.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Please drive responsibly

Remember Waxey Gordon's guy Big Bill Oppenheim who got a face full of bullets on the fourth? Well, seventy-nine years ago today one of his buddies named Meyer Jacobs got it. Meyer was driving up Broadway when a car forced his to the curb and, in a scene reminiscent of a Warner Brothers film, a burst of gunfire raked his coupe.

With three bullets in the head and one in the neck Meyer lost control of his auto and drove up on the sidewalk. Being a responsible driver however, he pulled his machine back out onto the street and came to a stop. A couple of cops ran up. Meyer stated his name then slipped into a coma, dying later in the day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hmm, wonder whats in the back seat? Oh.

Back on this date in 1926 a Chrysler sedan was abandoned in a west Harlem neighborhood. The auto was unfamiliar to the residents of the block and, after a number of hours had passed, some one looked inside. There in the back seat sat the earthly remains of Charles Caffrey. Sent to the great beyond by two bullets to the chest.

Caffrey, twenty-five, was an ex-convict with a record of about ten arrests. The police were fairly certain that he was killed in a Harlem apartment house. They had received a call saying that shots were fired in said house and a resident of the building told police that he saw three men who were supporting a fourth exit the building. When he asked what was wrong, they told him that the man was sick and they were helping him get a cab.

The only problem was that the witness said that the victim was about 6 ft tall and was wearing a blue suit whereas Caffrey was only about 5’6 and was wearing a brown suit. Police decided that the witnesses made an error and that the victim was indeed Caffrey after they found two spent cartridges in the upper apartment and a hat out front that fit the recently departed's head perfectly. The cops called the murder a ‘Thieves fight”.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who in the Hudson Valley needs something to do this Saturday?


I'll be there signing books from 1-4pm. After that I'll be smoking bath salts and roaming around. I apologize in advance if I eat your face.

He screamed for ice cream

On this day in 1923 Michael Nicolosi, the thirty-five year old manager of the Novelty Water Ice Company, was unloading a truck when two gunmen came up and pumped four shots into him.

The streets were crowded with people, some of who, fired off their guns in order to alert police to the shooting as the killers made their escape. Nicolosi died after a few moments but managed to utter "These men made a mistake." Whether he meant it literally or figuratively is unknown.

The police believed that this murder was another in a series of shootings between rivals in the ice cream business. Others included Nicolosi's brother Carmello who, the Times said, was killed the previous year and a guy named Joseph Lagumina who was murdered in 1921. Interestingly, Nicholas lived only three doors down from where Lagumina had his ice cream company.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Final number for McNamara's band

Passing bad checks, forgery, posing as a revenue agent, selling drugs, yup Michael McNamara did it all.
It was for bootlegging however, that the police believed the forty-year old never-do-well was ushered out of this life.
Eighty-five years ago today somebody placed a pistol under Michael's chin and pulled the trigger. Two more pills were pumped into his heart. Michael was then driven to Queens where his body was dragged from the car and dumped into some bushes behind a cemetery. Guess they wanted to make things easier for the disposal unit...Oh yeah, the police  found a book containing a list of New York City nightclubs on his person, that's why they thought he was a bootlegger.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Waxey's guy gets whacked.

The spring of 1933 found beer baron Waxey Gordon in jail and his gang being thinned out by rival gangsters. On this date 79-years ago, a Waxey confederate named William Oppenheim, know as "Big Bill", was walking up the steps to his apartment when a couple of guys came up from behind and called out to him. Big Bill turned to greet his callers and received five bullets in his face. After he was down five more were pumped into his chest for good measure.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Going postal

On the evening of April 2, 1920 two carloads of yeggs from New York City, Philadelphia and Newark, NJ pulled into the town of Oxford Furnace, North Carolina and broke into the town’s post office. The night watchman yelled, “Andy!! Barney!! Quick, citizen’s arrest, citizen’s arrest.” But was gagged and bound.

With no more interruptions the gang spent two hours blowing the safe. For their labors they walked out with $30,000 worth of cash, liberty bonds, stamps and "I love pulled pork" bumper stickers. The night watchman managed to free himself and a posse was formed but by that time the robbers had made a successful getaway.

The gang of city slickers returned to their flat at 43 Sand Street, Brooklyn and laughed and laughed at the rubes whom they had ripped off. Well, if there is one thing the Postal Service hates it’s dogs that bite. If there is a second thing the USPS hates, it's being robbed. So the Postal Inspectors began to investigate and through their mystical, and un-reported to the press, ways they managed to trace the bandits to their Sand Street lair in early May.

Once they found the gangs hideout New York detectives were brought in and the flat was watched for three weeks until they were sure the whole gang was inside and on this date, ninety-two-years ago, they raided the joint.

Once the captives:
John Murray
Walter Murray
Archie Birch
John O’Brien
William Dates
John Lahey
William O’Neill

Were in custody a Sheriff Taylor and his deputy from Oxford Furnace came in and got medieval on their backsides whilst whistling a jaunty little tune.