'Geriatric' Gangster Duo Launches Crime Spree

Marlborough diamond thieves Scalise (far left) and Rachel are

now 73; Chicago Tribune-MCT-Landov 
From The Daily Beast: At a time when even Mafia bosses turn informant, two slippery-fingered septuagenarians from Chicago are proving as rare as the famed diamond they stole more than three decades ago.

Back when Joseph “Jerry” Scalise and Arthur “the Genius” Rachel were nabbed for heisting the Marlborough diamond from ritzy Graff jewelers in London, they refused to give up the 45-carat stone. They shunned all offers of leniency during 13 hard years in a British prison, and the owners never recovered the $980,000 jewel.

“If Lloyd’s [of London] wanted to pay enough money, maybe they could,” Scalise joked.

In 1993, Scalise and Rachel returned to a life of crime in Chicago, unchanged save for a slight Irish brogue from their years with IRA prisoners. But the underworld had become a place where everybody was turning rat—including the son and brother of mob capo Frank Calabrese Sr., resulting in the 2005 “Family Secrets” trial, which largely finished the Outfit in the city once ruled by Al Capone.

Scalise capitalized on the public fascination with the mob by becoming a consultant to director Michael Mann on the movie Public Enemies and the HBO series Luck. Mann would have been wrong to assume that Scalise had retired from a life of crime... [Read the full article: Diamond Thieves, Now 73, on a New Crime Spree - The Daily Beast]


Here is one of the first newspaper reports to be written about the crime, before Scalise and Rachel were nabbed by the law and extradited right back to London within 12 hours of committing the crime.

A report from the BBC; 1980:

Famous gem grabbed in armed raid

The Marlborough diamond has been stolen from a London jewellers in a bold £1m robbery.

The stone - worth £400,000 - was part of a window display at the Graff jewellery shop in Knightsbridge.

The two robbers, armed with a revolver and a hand grenade, got away in less than a minute with a total of £1,429,000 worth of diamonds.

No one was hurt during the raid, and customers on the other two floors of the three-storey shop were unaware of anything taking place.


Hand grenade

A security guard let the first well-dressed thief into the exclusive store, thinking he was a customer.

Once inside the man - dressed in blue check trousers, jacket and a trilby - pulled out a gun and ordered the staff and customers to lie down on the floor.

The second robber then walked in brandishing a hand grenade.

The Marlborough diamond, another jewel worth £200,000 and 18 other stones were packed into a briefcase by the robbers before they fled to a getaway car parked about 50 yards (45.7 m) away.

Despite being threatened with the hand grenade, one of the assistants at the shop followed the men and noted the registration number of the Fiat Mirafiore they used to escape.

The owner of the shop, Laurence Graff, said the thieves knew exactly what they wanted.

"They picked out the very special pieces from the window... It was all over in less than a minute," he said.

But Mr Graff added they would have great difficulty selling on the Marlborough diamond as it had been re-cut in a very distinctive modern style.

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