Showing posts from April, 2020

On This Day In 1985: Lower West Side Wells Fargo Heist Dwarfed Lufthansa

On this day in 1985, four armed robbers made off with $7.8 million in cash from a Wells Fargo Co. terminal on Manhattan's Lower West Side, netting a larger haul than the crooks aligned with the Luchese family who in December 1978 robbed a Lufthansa cargo building of around $6 million ($5 million in cash and $875,000 in jewelry). In both robberies, much of the loot was never recovered.

On April 29, 1985, four ski-masked bandits ambushed four employees of a Wells Fargo facility as they opened the firm's vault to prepare for the day's business. They made their escape in a bright red armored truck that they left abandoned in a parking lot beneath the Brooklyn Bridge approach on the Lower East Side.

Wells Fargo offered a $350,000 reward for their arrest and conviction.

According to police, the four robbers used drills and crack their way through two cinder-block walls to access first the Merrill Lynch depot, then the Wells Fargo terminal, which was located at H…

Assault Case Against Former Genovese Crew Chief Bingy Arillotta Dismissed

An assault and battery charge filed last July in Springfield District Court against Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta, the former boss of the Genovese family's outpost in Springfield, Mass., was dismissed.

Arillotta (who appears in this week's Johnnie & Gene podcast, see below) was released from prison in 2017 after serving an eight-year stretch for various acts of mob mayhem, including murder and racketeering.

Last summer, he was arrested and charged with assault and battery for allegedly hurling a carton of lemonade at a female family member during an argument over the presence of a pet dog (Arillotta is allergic and wanted the dog removed). The woman did not suffer any visible injuries and refused medical treatment. At the time of the arrest, Arillotta was still on federal probation,though reportedly the allegations never rose to the level of posing a violation threat.

“It’s over now,” Bingy said after the court hearing earlier this year, Stephanie Barry reported on MassLive.

Wiseguys Who Were Felled By COVID-19 Or Who Filed For Compassionate Release

COVID-19 doesn't discriminate... Whether in jail awaiting trial or serving a bid based on a conviction, imprisoned wiseguys are leveraging the threat of COVID-19 to argue for “compassionate release" and get out of prison.

Those lucky enough to not be in prison during the onset of the deadly virus have been struggling to earn, as various reports have highlighted. With novel coronavirus shutting down most of the economy, more wiseguys are considering a leap into the illegal drug business to compensate for the cash they haven't been earning from other things, like gambling (In fact the cancellation of major sports has wiped out tens of millions of dollars in illegal gambling income, a “historic” blow to the Mafia, law enforcement sources told The Post.)

The drug business, however, ain't what it used to be either, these days. Dealers can't hawk their wares the usual ways right now because, like just about everything else, all the restaurants, bars,  and strip clubs h…

Ex-Philadelphia Underboss Crazy Phil Leonetti Talks Cosa Nostra In New Podcast

Valuetainment, which spoke with former Gambino underboss Salvatore (Sammy The Bull) Gravano last October, has now posted a new interview with another former Mafia underboss: Crazy Phil Leonetti, formerly of the Philadelphia Crime Family. (See full interview below in this story.)

Crazy Phil was a highly effective government witness who testified at several trials up and down the East Coast, having his 45-year prison sentence reduced to five years, five months, and five days as a result of his cooperation in helping crush the Philadelphia Mafia family, including his uncle Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo, one of most vicious Cosa Nostra bosses ever.

Crazy Phil rose to underboss under Scarfo before becoming a government informant in 1989. At that time, he was the highest-ranking member of the American Mafia to break his blood oath.

Leonetti once said, "I never did nothing ruthless besides, well, I would kill people. But that's our life. That's what we do."

Appearing on an…

CAPONE Details Late-Period Story Of Scarface

CAPONE, formerly FONZO, directed by Josh Trank, will be released via streaming services on May 12 (see trailer below; it's there now), centers on late-period Alphonse Capone, who's no longer the untouchable crime boss. In failing health, the former lord of the Chicago Outfit is haunted by the violence that made him public enemy number one.

Nick Christophers -- who has several books out, including Prison Rules with John Alite -- wrote the following, which stars Tom Hardy as the titular character. Ever since we saw him as Bob Saginowski in The Drop (2014), we knew Tom Hardy could play a realistic street guy. Now Hardy -- looking legitimately menacing -- is playing one of the wealthiest, most powerful mobsters of all time. Nick spoke with Kathrine Narducci (who plays sister Rosie Capone) and Al Sapienza (who plays Big Al's brother Ralphie Capone). Sapienza and Narducci are both veterans of The Sopranos... Narducci, who also can be seen in The Irishman, was born and raised in …

Dishonorable Man? Joe Bonanno Was Devious, Rivals Claimed (And Bill Bonanno's Dark Secret)

Joseph Bonanno, a founding father of the modern American Mafia, would spend months living in almost complete seclusion in Tucson, telling those close to him that he wanted no contact with anyone.

By August 1964, Bonanno had been ousted for "overreaching" with his plotting to kill Carlo Gambino and Tommy Luchese, the two bosses who, in alliance with Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino, dominated the Commission after Joseph Profaci died. Other sitting Commission bosses were New Jersey-based Gerardo Catena (sitting in for Vito Genovese, who was in prison), Angelo Bruno from Philadelphia, Sam Giancana from Chicago, and Detroit boss Joseph Zerilli. Former Profaci capo Joe Colombo was given a seat on the Commission when Gambino elevated him to boss of the Profaci family (which became the Colombo family.) Simone (Sam The Plumber) DeCavalcante wasn’t on the Commission but served a key mediatory role for the Commission in its dispute with Bonanno.

DeCavalcante can be heard on the …

The Rehabilitation Of Joe Bonanno

Joseph Bonanno was expelled from the Mafia in the 1960s: He became an "unmade" man, losing his button, his boss position, and his seat on the Commission.

But hope springs eternal, and sly Don Peppino made ongoing efforts to rehabilitate himself for a return to Cosa Nostra well into the late 1970s. Either to start a new crime family in Arizona or to take control of the existing one in Los Angeles, Bonanno, from his retirement perch in Tucson, apparently kept hope alive that one day he'd stage a triumphant Mafia comeback. (He never succeeded; we're not changing our tune: Bonanno never got anywhere with these efforts. But if any man ever could have done it, Joe Bonanno was him). And in the process, some FBI agents believed he orchestrated or helped plot at least one hit, of a Los Angeles capo who reportedly had been attempting to stage a coup and create a new West Coast family. Bonanno also was linked to narcotics trafficking.

One of the more intriguing details from the…