25
Oct
14

this day in crime history: october 25, 1957

madhatter

On this day in 1957, mob chieftain Albert Anastasia was gunned down while getting a haircut in New York City. Anastasia, born Umberto Anastasio in Calabria, Italy, was head of what would come to be known as the Gambino crime family. His resume also included being “Lord High Executioner” of the mob hit squad that had been dubbed Murder, Inc.

On the morning of October 25th, Anastasia arrived at the Park Sheraton hotel to get a haircut. After he sat down in the barber chair, his bodyguard conveniently went for a stroll. Minutes later, two gunmen walked into the barber shop and shot Anastasia several times. The killers walked out the door and disappeared into mid-morning traffic.

The killers were never caught, and several of Anastasia’s former allies–including his underboss, Carlo Gambino–were thought to be behind the hit. The Park Sheraton, back when it was known as the Park Central, was also the place where gambler Arnold Rothstein (architect of the 1919 Black Sox scandal) was murdered in 1928.

Further reading:

Gambino.com – Albert Anastasia

FBI – Albert Anastasia

Utica Observer-Dispatch (October 25, 1957) – Killers Cut Down Albert Anastasia In Barber’s Chair

24
Oct
14

friday movie quote

Suddenly

“The thing about killing you or her or him, is that I wouldn’t be getting paid for it. And I don’t like giving anything away for free.”

-John Baron (Frank Sinatra), Suddenly (1954)

23
Oct
14

this day in crime history: october 23, 1935

On this date in 1935, Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer and three members of his crew were shot in the Palace Chophouse Restaurant in Newark, NJ. Word on the street was the hit on the Dutchman was ordered after he asked NYC mob chieftains for permission to kill prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey (he’s the guy who did NOT defeat Harry S. Truman in the 1948 Presidential election). But let’s face it, the Dutchman had a bunch of enemies, and they each had their own reasons for wanting him dead.

Schultz and his henchmen were taken to a hospital, where they all later died of their wounds. Schultz was reportedly worth about $7 million when he died, but no money was ever found. Rumor had it that Dutch and his bodyguard buried a waterproof safe somewhere in upstate NY.  I haven’t found it yet, but I’m still looking.

Further reading:

FBI History – Arthur Flegenheimer

GANGSTER CITY PROFILES – Dutch Schultz

J-Grit – Dutch Schultz – Jewish Gangster

Wikipedia – Dutch Schultz

22
Oct
14

this day in crime history: october 22, 1934

On this date in 1934, notorious outlaw Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd was shot and killed in eastern Ohio.  According to the FBI version of the incident, Floyd was shot by agents as he jumped from a car and drew a .45 pistol.  Another version has it that he was shot and wounded by East Liverpool, OH police sharpshooter Chester Smith, and that FBI agents executed Floyd after briefly questioning him.  At the risk of appearing to be a victim of J. Edgar Hoover’s propaganda machine, I’m inclined to believe the FBI’s account.  But I guess we’ll never know for sure.

Further reading:

FBI Famous Cases: Kansas City Massacre – Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd

Crime Library – CHARLES ARTHUR FLOYD: ‘PRETTY BOY’ FROM COOKSON HILLS

Wikipedia – Pretty Boy Floyd

21
Oct
14

epic fail, it’s what’s for dinner (again)

Here’s another compilation of the underworld’s dumbest. I can’t get enough of these.

I think my favorites are the guy about a minute and a half in who “lends” the clerk a crucial piece of equipment, and the wannabe baseball pitcher about five minutes in. That guy has one hell of an arm. Not much of a brain, though. The whole incident reminded me of one of these. I had one when I was a kid. I earned it by selling a buttload of raffle tickets for the Valley Little League in Syracuse, NY. Stupid me, I should’ve just smashed a store window and stolen one. Piece of cake, right?

20
Oct
14

this day in crime history: october 20, 1981

On this date in 1981, members of the Black Liberation Army and several former members of the Weather Underground robbed a Brinks armored car in Nanuet, NY. The robbery resulted in the deaths of a Brink’s guard and two police officers.

The incident began when the Brinks truck was making a pick-up at the Nanuet Mall. The robbers ambushed the guards, killing guard Peter Paige and wounding his partner, Joe Trombino. Trombino managed to get off one shot before he was hit, but failed to hit any of the robbers.

After the attack on the guards, the robbers took $1.6 million and fled the scene in a van. The went to a nearby parking lot where the ditched the van and made their getaway in a car and a U-haul truck that were waiting for them. A college student who lived across the street saw the robbers making the switch and called the police.

Police spotted the getaways vehicles at an on-ramp to the New York State Thruway. As they approached the U-Haul, they suspected they may have had the wrong vehicle. The two people in the cab of the truck were white, but all of the robbers were described as black. The driver of the U-Haul, former Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin managed to convince the police that she was innocent. As they lowered their guard, several armed men emerged from the back of the truck and opened fire. Nyack Police Officers Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown were killed. Officer Brian Lennon was injured. Lennon managed to return fire but wasn’t able to hit any of his attackers.

Boudin fled the scene on foot, but was apprehended by an off-duty corrections officer. Former Weather Underground members Samuel Brown, Judith Clark and Chris Dobbs were arrested after the crashed there getaway while fleeing the shootout scene.

Police traced the license plates of the getaway car to an apartment in New Jersey. A search of the apartment yielded weapons, bomb-making materials, and blueprints for NYPD stations in Manhattan. They also found an address in Mt. Vernon, NY, not far from the robbery scene. When they searched that location, they found weapons and some bloody clothes.

After running the license plates of cars seen near the Mt. Vernon address, they managed to track down two of the robbers, BLA members Samuel Smith and Sekou Odinga. When NYPD detectives tried to pull the two men over, they crashed while trying to flee. After a shootout with police, Smith was killed, while Odinga was taken into custody.

The investigation continued with several more arrests following over the next few years. The last suspect arrested was former Weather Underground member Marilyn Buck, who had rented one of the apartments that the gang had used. It was Buck’s blood that was found on the clothes at the Mt. Vernon apartment. She had apparently shot herself by accident when she tried to draw her gun during the shootout with the Nyack police officers after the robbery.

The participants were all tried and convicted. All received lengthy prison sentences. Kathy Boudin was paroled in 2003. Marilyn Buck was released in 2010 and died of cancer shortly afterword.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Brink’s Robbery (1981)

Crime Library – Ambush: The Brinks Robbery of 1981 

ODMP pages – Waverly Brown and Edward O’Grady

19
Oct
14

this day in crime history: october 19, 1982


On this date in 1982, maverick auto executive John Z. DeLorean was arrested at a hotel near the Los Angeles airport. DeLorean was charged in connection with a $24 million cocaine transaction that he took part in to save his failing company. (Rumors that the $24 million in cocaine were needed to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity it takes to travel through time are, to this day, unconfirmed.) DeLorean maintained that he had been entrapped by an informant working for the FBI. The jury agreed, and Delorean was acquitted (even though his defense team had called no witnesses). His business, DeLorean Motors, wasn’t so fortunate. The British government, which had partnered with DeLorean in the venture, shut it down in November of 1982.

John DeLorean died of a stroke in 2005 at the age of 80.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – John DeLorean

The Citizen, Auburn, NY (October 20, 1982) – DeLorean faces cocaine charges




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