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


J-Grit – Dutch Schultz – Jewish Gangster

Wikipedia – Dutch Schultz

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

Wikipedia – Pretty Boy Floyd

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 they 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 getaway 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 they crashed their getaway car 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)

ODMP pages – Waverly Brown and Edward O’Grady

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

friday movie quote


“Tonight, we will be partaking of a liquid repast, as we wend our way up the Golden Mile, commencing with an inaugural tankard in The First Post, then on to The Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Cross Hands, The Good Companions, The Trusty Servant, The Two-Headed Dog, The Mermaid, The Beehive, The King’s Head, and The Hole in the Wall for a measure of the same. All before the last bittersweet pint in that most fateful terminus, The World’s End. Leave a light on, good lady, for though we may return with a twinkle in our eyes, we will, in truth, be blind… drunk.”

-Gary King (Simon Pegg), The World’s End (2013)

this day in crime history: october 14, 1912

On this date in 1912, New York saloon keeper John F. Schrank shot former President Teddy Roosevelt in Milwaukee, WI. Roosevelt, who was running for president on the Bull Moose party ticket, was in Milwaukee to give a speech. Prior to the speech, he had dinner with advisers at the Hotel Gilpatrick. As he left the hotel, supporters waiting outside cheered him. Also waiting for the former president was John Schrank, armed and ready for action. As Roosevelt turned and waved to the crowd before getting into his car, Schrank aimed a pistol at Roosevelt’s head. Just before he pulled the trigger, a spectator named Adam Bittner struck Schrank’s arm, spoiling his aim. The bullet struck Roosevelt in the chest, hitting a glasses case and a fifty page speech before lodging in the former president’s body.

The crowd pounced on Schrank and began pummeling him. The beating continued until Roosevelt stood up and implored the crowd to show mercy to the man. The police arrived and took Schrank into custody. Roosevelt eschewed a trip to the hospital, and vowed to give his speech “if it’s the last thing on earth I do.” Roosevelt arrived at the Milwaukee Auditorium several minutes later and gave his speech to 10,000 supporters, the bullet still lodged in his chest. Roosevelt eventually lost the election, coming in second to Woodrow Wilson. The incumbent, Republican William Howard Taft, came in third; the only incumbent president ever to do so. The bullet remained lodged in Roosevelt’s body for the rest of his life (on the lower left in the x-ray photo above).

John Schrank, who claimed the assassination attempt was done per the instructions of the ghost of President William McKinley, was (unsurprisingly) declared insane. He spent the rest of his life in mental institutions. He died of natural causes in 1943 at the Central State Mental Hospital in Waupun, Wisconsin.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – John Flammang Schrank

Wikipedia – Theodore Roosevelt