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Book review on “Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles – The Fink Who Took Down Murder Inc.”

Posted in Book Reviews, Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooked cops, crooks, famous trials, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, mafia, Mobsters, movie review, murder, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, police, United Kingdom on August 13, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Excellent review on “Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles – The Fink Who Took Down Murder Inc.”

The Canary Sang but Couldn’t Fly
August 12, 2014
By Silver Screen Videos
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Joe Bruno takes another look at the New York criminal underworld and one of its most fascinating figures in his latest book, “Abe ‘Kid Twist’ Reles – The Fink Who Took Down Murder Inc.” As has been the case with each of Bruno’s books that I’ve read, he’s taken an interesting subject, conducted exhaustive research, and told his story using some rather colorful slang that may catch readers by surprise.

Reles was a New York gangster of the 1930s who was one of the hired guns of Murder Inc., the enforcement arm of the Commission that controlled organized crime in New York at the time. Murder Inc. (as it was called by the press and public) turned what often had been haphazardly organized mob hits into a highly organized business under the leadership of Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Reles was a vicious killer who ran his own rackets in Brooklyn but was also on Lepke’s payroll. When the police finally caught Reles, he turned state’s evidence, and his testimony was instrumental in helping to convict Lepke, who became the first mob boss to die in the electric chair. Reles’ moment of glory was short lived however as he fell, jumped, or almost certainly was thrown to his death out a window in the hotel in which he was being held. Reles’ notoriety with the public was enhanced a few years later when Peter Falk had perhaps his best film role portraying Reles in a movie that was also called “Murder Inc.”

Bruno takes a comprehensive look at Reles’ career from his less well known early days seizing control of his piece of turf in Brooklyn to the far better known events surrounding his testimony against Lepke and other mob figures. The book spends a good bit of time discussing the turf war in which Reles and his partners eliminated, one by one, the Shapiro brothers, the mobsters who had controlled the rackets in a section of Brooklyn called Brownsville. The book disproves the notion that mob hits were highly efficient affairs as the Shapiros manage to get away again and again before eventually running out of luck.

From there, Bruno gives a good accounting of how Murder Inc. operated and the details of the one killing that wound up getting Lepke convicted. It’s a fascinating story, with Lepke on the run for years before finally surrendering to J. Edgar Hoover himself (with Walter Winchell lending a hand). Finally, Reles is again center stage as he testifies and meets his demise. The story of Reles, Buchalter, and Murder Inc. is one of the most interesting in the annals of New York organized crime, and Bruno lays it all out in a straightforward manner that’s, for the most part, very easy to follow.

Readers should be aware that Bruno’s books, including this one, do not follow any manual of style I’ve ever seen. He uses plenty of slang to describe what’s happening, and the net effect is that readers feel they are hearing the story from a relative who lived through it rather than reading a history. That takes some getting used to for those accustomed to more scholarly true crime works. However, in comparison with some of his other books I’ve read, Bruno tones down some of the most outlandish rhetoric in “Reles,” and the remaining language mostly enhances the story rather than distracts the reader. The result is a colorful read that’s often as entertaining for how Bruno’s describing the action as for the action itself.

I’ve got one other caveat about the book. Although it’s listed on Amazon as 44 pages, the story of Abe Reles only takes up about half the book. Bruno includes another interesting article about another interesting, but lesser known, gangster turned stool pigeon of the era, “Tick Tock” Tannenbaum (a truly great mob nickname, as is Reles’ own “Kid Twist” nickname), Finally, the last third of the book contains an excerpt from one of Bruno’s longer books and some other filler material. Although I don’t think readers will feel cheated by the way “Reles” is organized, they should be aware of what they will get.

All in all, “Reles” is another one of Bruno’s colorful strolls through the back alleys of New York. Some of his sources (which he details at the end of the book) are quite obscure, and it’s highly doubtful readers would ever find out some of the information Joe reveals on their own. Abe Reles wasn’t a very likable guy, but, in Joe Bruno’s hands, he’s been turned into a very likable book.


“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps – Volume 4 ” free through Tuesday, September 3.

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooked cops, crooks, FBI, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, Hell's Angels, Italian Americans, Italy, mafia, Mexico, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, organized crime, police, Uncategorized, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

The Labor Day weekend is a great time to kickback with your Kindle and read a good book. Thats why I’m offering my book “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps – Volume 4 ” free through Tuesday, September 3. 

For a free copy, click the link below.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!!!–ebook/dp/B00ALIMTGY/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355153925&sr=1-2&keywords=mobsters%2C+gangs%2C+crooks+an+other+creeps+volume+4

Mob Rats – Abe “Kid Twist” Reles – Part 3

Posted in criminals, crooks, Gangs, gangsters, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Nine days later, on July 19, 1931, Meyer Shapiro was strolling down Church Avenue and East 58th Street in the East New York section of Brooklyn, when a dark sedan pulled up next to him, and three gunmen started firing.

Shapiro jumped into his car and tried to escape; with the dark sedan speeding after him.

Policeman Harold Schreck was driving nearby when he heard gunfire. He rushed to where the shots had come from, and he spotted the dark sedan careening straight toward him.

Not seeing Meyer Shapiro speeding away for his life, Policeman Schreck ordered the driver of the sedan to pull over. But the sedan whizzed past him.

Policeman Schreck made a U-turn and gave chase; his right hand driving and his left hand firing a gun at the speeding sedan.

Soon, Schreck was joined by another police car manned by policemen Joe Fleming, with his partner Harry Phelps riding shotgun. The two police cars chased the sedan onto the streetcar tracks.

The sedan skidded all over the road, almost tipping over several times, but it remained straight on the tracks. At one point, Policeman Schreck spotted a pistol being flung from the car into an empty lot on Sutter Avenue.

The chase ended at Livonia and Howard Avenues; where the three gangsters sprang from the car and tried to flee on foot. The cops jumped out of their two cars and caught all three men before they could get too far.

The three men turned out to be Abe Reles, Harry Strauss, and Dasher Abbandando (who had diminished skills at “dashing”). The cops also found a sawed-off shotgun near the sedan, which had been stolen six days earlier at the corner of Pitkin and Stone. It was obvious the hot shotgun had recently been discharged.

The cops arrested the three thugs and took them to the station house. But all three refused to squeal.

The police had information Reles and his boys were “out to get” Meyer Shapiro, but Shapiro, only slightly wounded, went into hiding. With no dead body, and no one to issue a complaint, Brooklyn District Attorney Geoghan was forced to let Reles and his men go.

That made it 20 times Meyer Shapiro had survived a Reles-led pistol attack.

As a consolation prize, a few days later, Reles and Happy Maione cornered Joey Silvers on a Brownsville Street corner, and up close, they blew his head almost completely off his shoulders.

But, Meyer Shapiro was still on the loose; with Reles and his boys in hot pursuit.

Meyer Shapiro decided Brooklyn was too hot for him, so he holed up in Manhattan where he figured he was safe. Shapiro figured he could establish himself in Manhattan; a little loansharking, a few slot machines, and maybe even a speakeasy on the side. While attempting to set up shop in Manhattan, Shapiro exposed himself to the underworld element; not a smart thing to do for a man with a bullseye on his back.

On Sept. 17, 1931, Meyer Shapiro stopped in a Manhattan speakeasy for a drink. It’s not clear who spotted him first, but soon Kid Twist Reles, Happy Maione, and Buggsy Goldstein abducted Shapiro and took him to a Lower East Side cellar, located at 7 Manhattan Avenue.

The next morning a newsboy found Shapiro’s body. He had been shot once behind the left ear at close range, verified by deep powder burns where the bullet had entered Shapiro’s skull. As was his plan, Reles fired the fatal bullet. Even Abe Reles couldn’t miss with his gun pressed up against Shapiro’s noggin.

Scratch Shapiro brother No. 2.




Now all that was left of the Shapiro gang was Willie Shapiro, who had been making noise he was out to get Reles and his crew, despite the fact Willie had disappeared from the streets of Brownsville.

Willie Shapiro was considered the weakest of the Shapiro brothers, and was not a top priority on the Boys from Brownsville’s list of things to do. Reles and Happy Maione were too busy strengthening their organizations to put much effort in locating Willie, who by this time had embarked on a career as a prizefighter. Unfortunately for Willie Shapiro, he spent most of his ring time on his back staring at the overhead lights.

By 1934, Willie Shapiro knew he was dead if he insisted on going after the men who had killed his two brothers.

He told his sister Rose, “What’s the use? I can’t make it alone. I’m out of the rackets. I’m going to forget about those bums.”

It turned out Willie had waited too long to announce his retirement from a life of crime.

Although Reles and his boys were not actively seeking Willie Shapiro, he was still unfinished business, and Reles hated unfinished business.

On July 18, 1934, the day after Willie Shapiro had spoken to his sister Rose, Vito Gurino met Reles and Strauss on a Brownsville street corner.

He told them, “I just spotted Willie going into a place near Herkimer. You know, we’ve got nothing to do now. Why don’t we take him tonight and be done with it?”

Reles and Strauss agreed with Gurino’s assessment, and a few hours later they abducted Willie Shapiro from a Brownsville bar and brought him to the basement of a bar-and-grill on Rockaway Avenue, which Gurino owned with Happy Maione and Happy’s brother-in-law, Joe Daddonna.

The hulking Gurino, Happy Maione, Pep Strauss, and the Dasher beat the crap out of Willie Shapiro. When Willie had been rendered unconscious, Happy put a stop to the festivities.

“This bum’s done for,” Happy told his pals.


That was the cue for Strauss to demonstrate his neat rope trick.

“Pittsburgh Phil” trussed up Willie Shapiro like a Thanksgiving turkey; then the killers watched Willie’s dance of death. When Willie stopped struggling and fell limp, the killers stuffed Willie into a laundry bag to make it easier to transport his body. They flung the laundry bag into the trunk of their car, and drove to the sand dunes in a secluded area of Canarsie Flats. There they dumped the laundry bag containing Willie’s body onto a sand dune, and commenced digging.

A Canarsie resident, who was having trouble sleeping, decided to go for a stroll near the sand dunes. He was startled when he thought he had detected movement on top of one of the dunes. The stroller crept closer, and he spotted four men digging in the sand.

Suddenly, Happy lifted his head and spotted the witness. He whispered to his pals, “Somebody made us.”

The four killers sprinted to their car, jumped in, and sped back to Brownsville.

The witness ran over to where the men had been digging, and he noticed the laundry bag in the half-dug hole. He bent down, pulled open the top of the bag, and there was Willie, all trussed up and not looking too chipper.

The witness ran to the local police station, and when the police arrived at the dunes, Willie Shapiro was declared dead. His body was brought to the Medical Examiner, who discovered sand in Willie’s lungs; meaning Willie had been buried alive.

Scratch Shapiro brother No. 3.


Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set

Posted in Chinese gangs, Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooked cops, crooks, Drug dealers, espionage, FBI, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, Hell's Angels, Ireland, Italian Americans, Italy, labor unions, mafia, Mexico, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City disasters, New York City fires, New York City murder, NY City disasters, organized crime, pirates, reality TV, riots, Sicily, Uncategorized, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2013 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

There’s not much you can buy for under four bucks (have you been to a Starbucks lately?) But “Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set” contains eight books, all of which sell individually on for $.99 each, for only $3.99. That rounds out to less than 50 cents per book.

“Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set” is certainly a bargain that’s hard to beat!

“Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Eight Volume Set” includes:

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps Volumes 1-4,”

and the newly released,

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps Volumes 5 – Girlfriends and Wives.”

“Murder and Mayhem in the Big Apple – From the Black Hand to Murder Incorporated.”

“The Wrong Man: Who Ordered the Murder of Gambler Herman Rosenthal and Why.”

“Mob Wives – Fuhgeddaboudit!”

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps – Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4” have all been consistently ranked in the top 100 in genre “Organized Crime,” as has “Murder and Mayhem in the Big Apple.” Volume 1 has reached as high as #5.

According to New York City criminal attorney Mathew J. Mari, “Joe Bruno’s Mobsters are a composite of characters and events that entwine the denizens of the underworld with the rich history of America from the early 1800’s until today.”



A MUST FOR THE TRUE GRUE COLLECTOR!! By RJ Parker – “Best Selling Author/Book Reviewer





Excerpt # 5 – Murder and Mayhem in the Big Apple – From the Black Hand to Murder Incorporated

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, FBI, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, Italy, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, New York City, New York City murder, police, Sicily, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2012 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Soon after Petrosino’s murder, a man called John Lupo, brother of Ignazio “Lupo the Wolf” Saietta, was heard saying in his Hoboken, N.J., store that one of the reasons Petrosino was killed was because of the vicious beating Petrosino had given Saietta in Saietta’s Little Italy grocery store.

The tremors felt in New York City caused by Petrosino’s murder were sudden and severe. Due to the newspaper leaks concerning Petrosino’s “secret” trip to Italy, Police Commissioner Bingham was immediately fired; his place taken by neophyte William F. Baker, who oddly enough, in 1913, after an undistinguished career as commissioner, became president of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.

However, the damage caused by Petrosino’s murder was already done. It was estimated that because of Petrosino’s demise in Palermo, hundreds of Italian criminals were allowed to stay in America, causing murder and mayhem in the New York City streets for the next two generations.

            At the time of Petrosino’s death, Saietta and Morello ran a counterfeiting operation originating in the sleepy upstate town of Highland, N. Y., 50 miles north of New York City. Saietta was the hands-on partner in the operation, while Morello continued operating their rackets in New York City.

After reading the news about Petrosino’s demise in a local Highland newspaper, Saietta turned to an associate named Zu Vincenzo.

“Petrosino was killed!” Saietta said. “It was successful! The way it was done could never have missed in Palermo. It was well he was fool enough to go there.”

Zu Vincenzo opened a bottle of wine and said, “No one will now go to Sicily to search for evidence to use against the Mafia. For in going there they will find death.”

Saietta was somewhat disappointed the Sicilian Mafia would get most of the credit for the Petrosino hit, since the money sent to Palermo to insure the Petrosino hit was raised by the Black Handers in New York City.

Saietta poured himself, and Zu Vincenzo, each a glass of wine.

“Some credit is due to us,” Saietta said. “Though the Palermo crowd will get the most.”

Then the  two men toasted the death of their late mortal enemy: New York City Police Lieut. Joseph Petrosino.

However, the Black Handers had an enemy as great as Petrosino – and his name was Deputy Inspector William Flynn, who had taken Petrosino’s place as head of the Secret Service.

Flynn, an expert detective but a little on the talkative side (especially when talking about himself), had been actively investigating Morello and Saietta since the “Barrel Murders” of 1903. Flynn also knew that Morello, Saietta, and their gang were running an extensive counterfeiting operation, but at the present time Flynn could not uncover where the bills were being printed. However, he was fairly sure they were not being printed in New York City.

Employing several undercover policemen, Flynn had what he called a “life surveillance” put on Morello. “Life surveillance” was an over-exaggeration, since, because of the lack of police manpower, Morello was only intermittently observed. Still, Morello was certainly on Flynn’s radar, as was Saietta, until Saietta inexplicably disappeared from New York City and went into hiding in Highland, where he oversaw the group’s counterfeit printing operations.

In early 1908, Saietta began a large-scale fraud scheme, using his wholesale network of grocery stores in New York City (he imported olive oil and other Italian delicacies from Italy). Saietta operated out of his Mott Street store, while other grocery stores throughout the city were owned by Saietta’s confederates, active not only in the Black Hand extortions, but also in a nationwide counterfeiting operation.

In November 1908, Saietta filed for bankruptcy concerning his imports businesses. As a result, Saietta’s Mott Street store was seized under the orders of the United States court. When the receivers went into the store to examine the books, they found only $1,500 inventory and more than $100,000 in debts. The receivers also discovered that the week before he disappeared, Saietta had made more than $50,000 worth of purchases, but those goods were nowhere to be found. This meant the people who sold Saietta these goods were stiffed of the 50 grand he owned them. (This is called the standard “bust out” scheme, where you buy as much merchandise that you can on credit, sell the merchandise on the black market, pocket the cash, and then file for bankruptcy.)

Saietta’s cohorts in the scheme also filed for bankruptcy around the same time as Saietta.  Antonio Passananti, who had been sent to Sicily by Morello and Saietta to do away with New York City Police Lieut. Joseph Petrosino, owned a wholesale wine business in Brooklyn. He, too, used the ‘bust out” scheme to close his business and claim bankruptcy. When the receivers investigated Passananti’s store, they found records that he had given huge sums of money to Saietta before they had both disappeared. The New York Times reported that a dozen other Italian wholesale dealers had also gone into the wind, resulting in total liabilities of close to $500,000.

In November of 1909, with Petrosino now deceased, Saietta triumphantly returned to New York City. With his lawyer Charles Barbier in tow, Saietta marched into the bankruptcy receiver’s office and told a tall tale of why he had suddenly left New York City. Saietta said he had been sent a Black Hand extortion letter, and fearing for his life, he had fled to Baltimore, then Buffalo, before spending the final few weeks at his brother’s grocery store in Hoboken.

Saietta hired a phalanx of lawyers to fight his creditors and returned to his old haunts in New York City, socializing with Morello and other Black Handers. What Saietta did not know was that Inspector Flynn had his men following Saietta. One day, they followed him to Highland  and now they knew exactly where the counterfeit bills were being printed.

            Flynn had enough evidence to arrest Morello, Saietta, and several other Black Handers who were in on the counterfeiting operation. However, Flynn didn’t want to arrest the minor players first, because he feared Morello would be tipped off and go into hiding. From his surveillance on Morello, Flynn knew Morello lived in a tenement at 207 East 107th  Street. However, Flynn did not know in which apartment Morello resided. One of Flynn’s operatives was 17-year-old Thomas Callahan, who had been posing as a shoeshine boy on 107th Street.

On the night of Nov. 15, 1909, Callahan spotted Morello, along with Vincenzo Terranova and another man, heading down the block toward their building. Without an exact plan in place, and wanting to know which apartment the Mafiosos inhabited, Callahan immediately ran into the four-story building. The building was totally dark, since the janitor, as was the custom at night, had turned off the interior lights.

Callahan stopped on the second floor of the tenement. He heard the three men enter the building and begin walking up the steps towards him. Callahan, not knowing exactly what to do, slithered quietly to the top floor. He then realized that the Black Handers, who were always armed, might continue upwards and see him trapped on the 4th  floor, with no reason for being there.

Here is where Callahan made a bold move that might have saved his life.

Like he had nary a care in the world, Callahan started skipping down the stairs. Between the third and fourth-story landing Callahan came face to face with “The Clutch Hand.”

At first Morello looked puzzled. Then Morello stared Callahan straight in the eye and said, “’Scusa please.”

Callahan moved to one side of the stairs, and without saying another word, the three Mafiosos passed Callahan and continued to the top floor. Expecting a bullet in his back, Callahan sped down the stairs and out of the building; his heart pumping like a runaway train.

As he hurried to where the other agents were waiting, Callahan turned around to see if he had been followed out of the building.

He hadn’t.

Within minutes after Callahan exited 207 East 107th  Street, Flynn’s agents had surrounded the building; their eyes on the 4th-floor window where the lights were still on. Every so often, they could see one of the men in the room pass the window, but not once did any of the Mafiosos look out of the window. That was a lucky break for Flynn.

It wasn’t until 11 a.m. the following morning that Flynn decided it was time to make his move.

Flynn, along with six of his best men, including Callahan, quietly entered the building and climbed the steps. Flynn had a skeleton key in his possession, which could open virtually any lock.

When they reached the door of the 4th-floor apartment, Flynn pressed his ear to the door. He heard no movement inside. He quietly inserted the skeleton key, unlocked the door and with their guns pointed in front of them, Flynn and his agents slowly crept into the apartment.

The front door opened into the kitchen, but nobody was there. Flynn opened the door to one of the bedrooms, and there was Morello, deep in dreamland and snoring lightly. On a second bed next to him lay his half-brother, Vincent Terranova, also sawing wood.

“We had no intention of waking them,” Flynn later told the press. “Until we were sitting on them.”

Flynn gave the word to his men to pounce, and in seconds, both Morello and Vincent Terranova were in custody. Under Morello’s pillow, the cops found four loaded revolvers; under Terranova’s pillow – five. Certainly, if they were not sleeping, the two men would have put up a hell of a fight.

The noise Flynn’s men made in snagging the two Mafiosos awakened the rest of the apartment’s inhabitants. In seconds, three half-dressed men exited their bedroom, screaming and cursing in Italian. Morello’s wife, Lina, emerged from a third bedroom, her infant daughter in one arm and a huge knife in the other hand. It took two men to subdue Lina and relieve her of her weapon. Still holding her baby tight and incensed the agents had invaded her privacy, Lina spat on them in defiance.

The Italian men tried to create a diversion, so that evidence could be hidden and eventually destroyed. As two Italians started making a fuss, one of Flynn’s men spotted one of the Italians stuffing several letters into Lina Morello’s apron, which lay sprawled on the kitchen table. Thinking no one was watching, Lena grabbed her apron, pulled out several letters, and stuffed them into her infant’s clothing.

Holding the baby, Lina tried to leave the room. Two burley agents pounced on her and a fierce skirmish ensured. With Lina kicking, screaming and cursing, Flynn was able to search the infant’s clothing. There he found three letters and several more in Lena’s apron. They were all Black Hand letters waiting to be sent to their intended targets.

However, Flynn’s men did not fare too well in their battle with “Hellcat Lina,” as was evidenced by the several dozen cuts and bruises all over their battered bodies.

Flynn’s men fanned out and searched the other apartments at 207 East 107th Street. When the dust settled, they had arrested 14 Black Handers and counterfeiters (some men were both). As an added bonus, $3,000 in fake two-dollar bills was found in a paper bag under the bed in the apartment occupied by the Vasi brothers.

It was a fine roundup for Flynn indeed, but one of the big fish was nowhere to be found: Ignazio “Lupo the Wolf” Saietta.

Excerpt # 4 – Murder and Mayhem in the Big Apple – From the Black Hand to Murder Incorporated

Posted in criminals, crooks, Gangs, gangsters, mafia, Mexico, mobs, murder, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, police, Sicily, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2012 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

In early February 1909, New York City Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham decided, that in addition to the “Italian Squad,” he would form a 14-man “Secret Service” branch of the New York City Police Department. Bingham appointed Petrosino as the leader of the Secret Service and gave him the directive to “crush the Black Hand and drive the anarchists from the city.”

However, the Secret Service was not so secret at all.

Days after the creation of the Secret Service squad, Police Commissioner Bingham directed Petrosino to travel to Palermo on the island of Sicily to gather documentation on Sicilian immigrants in the United States, who were wanted for serious crimes in their native land. The plan was to get the goods on these men, then deport them to Italy to stand trial for their crimes. Petrosino’s trip was supposed to be such a secret that his squad was told Petrosino was home sick with a serious illness.

However, on Feb. 20, 1909, just days before Petrosino was scheduled to depart for Italy aboard the liner Duca di Genova, the New York Herald published an article detailing Petrosino’s supposedly secret trip (the source of these leaks was later determined to be Police Commissioner Bingham himself).

Even though it was now common knowledge in New York City, and around the world, that Petrosino was traveling to Sicily in order to expedite the deportations of hundreds of Italian criminals in America, Petrosino foolishly thought the Sicilian Mafia, like the American Mafia, would never kill a policeman of Petrosino’s stature.

Leaving behind his wife and three-year-old daughter, Petrosino boarded the Duca di Genova, which was bound for Genoa, Italy ( in northern Italy – the opposite end from Sicily), using the alias “Simone Velletri.” He carried on board only two yellow suitcases.

At first, Petrosino, staying surreptitiously in first-class, locked himself in his room and had his meals delivered to him. But after a few days, Petrosino ventured topside and told the passengers he met that he was on his way to Italy to find a cure for a digestive discomfit.

However, since Petrosino’s face had been splashed often across the front pages of the New York City newspapers, it was almost impossible for him not to be recognized. One person who did recognize Petrosino was the ship’s purser, Carlo Longobardi. Petrosino begged Longobardi not to tell anyone on the ship about his true identity.

After a few days at sea, Petrosino ran into a shady character who called himself Francesco Delli Bovi. Petrosino thought he recognized this man, but not under the name Delli Bovi. When the ship docked in Genoa, Petrosino tried to follow Delli Bovi, but the mysterious man mysteriously disappeared.

Petrosino did not stay in Genoa, but instead he took the first train available to Rome. In Rome, Petrosino went directly to the United States Embassy to meet Ambassador Lloyd Griscom. The purpose of this meeting was for Petrosino to gather information about as many as 200 Italian criminals living in the United States, whom Petrosino wanted deported to Italy.

While Petrosino was in Rome, the Italian newspaper L’Araldo Italiano ran an article detailing Petrosino’s Italian excursion, saying that Petrosino’s final destination was Palermo, Sicily. This article, which only could have been leaked from inside the New York City Police Department, was rerun in several other European newspapers, the most notable of which was the New York Herald’s European edition.

While walking the streets of Rome, Petrosino bumped into two journalists with whom he had a passing acquaintance in New York City. Petrosino told the scribes that his trip was a secret, and he begged them not to write anything about him being in Italy. The men told Petrosino his visit was not so secret at all, and the story of his arrival in Italy had been in all the European newspapers, including that his final destination was Palermo.

This information spooked Petrosino and he decided not to travel directly to Palermo. Instead, he quietly boarded a train for Naples, which is in the southern part of Italy’s mainland. In Naples, Petrosino bribed the captain of a small ship to take him to Palermo.

On Feb. 28, when Petrosino arrived in Palermo, he was certain he had not been followed. However,  he was still oblivious to the fact it was not safe for him in a town teeming with cutthroat Mafiosos, who knew why he was there.

Petrosino – who should have had eyes in the back of his head in Palermo – strutted around town with a minimum of caution. Although he registered at the Hotel de France under the fictitious name of Guglielmo De Simone, Petrosino inexplicably opened a bank account under his own name at the Banca Commerciale. To compound his foolhardiness, Petrosino dined nightly at the Café Oreto and even told the waiters his real name. Petrosino foolishly figured that a famous police officer like Lieut. Joseph Petrosino was safe in the streets of Palermo – a town noted for its treachery.

By March 7, after meeting several times with Mr. Bishop of the American Consul in Palermo, Petrosino had accumulated more than 100 more penal certificates for wanted criminals in Sicily; making his total tally of Italian men he wanted deported from the United States to Italy at more than 300.

On March 6, Petrosino met Baldassare Ceola, the Commissioner of Police in Palermo. Ceola was unimpressed with Petrosino’s competence.  

In a letter to the prefect of Palermo, Ceola wrote, “I saw at once that Lieut. Petrosino, to his disadvantage, was not a man of excessive education.”

Ceola also felt that Petrosino was imprudent, since Petrosino turned down the services of a police bodyguard. Also, Mr. Bishop of the American Consul forbade Petrosino to take a trip into the interior of Sicily, but Petrosino told Mr. Bishop he was afraid of nothing.

Back in New York City, Joe Morello and Ignazio Saietta were getting daily reports on Petrosino’s activities from their moles in Palermo. While in New York City, Petrosino was almost untouchable, because, as Saietta told Morello, “Damn detective. The devil guards himself too thoroughly. When he walks it is with a loaded revolver in his hand covered by a pocket and two policemen without their blue coats walk near him eyeing everyone.”

Both Mafiosos knew that in Palermo, Petrosino was a sitting duck for anyone brave enough to pull a trigger.

While Petrosino was still on board the Duca di Genova, thinking two moves ahead of Petrosino, Morello and Saietta sent two of their best killers – Carlo Constantino and Antonio Passananti – to Palermo to await Petrosino’s arrival. In Palermo, the two men hooked up with the top Mafioso in Sicily: a brutal thug named Don Vito Cascio Ferro. Cascio Ferro had a personal bone to pick with Petrosino, since in 1903, due to extreme pressure put on Cascio Ferro by Petrosino’s quest to find the killers in the “Barrel Murder,” the head Mafioso was forced to flee New York City and hurry back to Sicily.

On the rainy Friday night of March 12, 1909, Petrosino went to have his nightly dinner at the Café Oreto. He was wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella. Petrosino took his customary table with his back to the wall, so that he could see anyone who entered the restaurant.

According to the waiters present, Petrosino was in the middle of his meal when two men came into the restaurant and marched to Petrosino’s table. These two men had a heated conversation with Petrosino, who did not rise from his chair, but instead dismissed the two men with an angry wave of his hand. After the men exited the restaurant, Petrosino threw three lira on the table and then quickly followed the men outside.

At 8:50 p.m., Petrosino was talking with the two men in the piazza of the Garibaldi Garden, when people nearby heard five shots ring out. When a passerby arrived soon afterwards, he found Petrosino dead, with bullet holes in his cheek, his throat, and in the back of his head. Petrosino’s revolver was held tightly in his hand, with two chambers empty.

Petrosino had documents in his pockets with names and information on several Sicilian criminals. There was also a postcard addressed to his wife, which said, “A kiss for you and my little girl, who has spent three months far from her daddy.”

Police reports said that three men were involved in Petrosino’s murder; one of whom was alleged to be Don Vito Cascio Ferro himself. When questioned later by the police, Cascio Ferro had an airtight alibi. He said at the time of Petrosino’s murder he was dining at the home of a Sicilian member of the Italian Parliament and there were several honorable witnesses who could verify this fact.

However, a report was delivered to the police saying that Cascio Ferro had slipped away during dinner and was gone long enough to participate in Petrosino’s murder. This report also said Cascio Ferro then slipped back to the dinner party, without anyone noticing he had been absent.

Unfortunately, this report could not be corroborated.

Immediately after Petrosino’s murder, the police offered a 10,000 lira award (around $2,000 – a kingly sum at the time) for information leading to the arrest of Petrosino’s assassins. However, the local Mafia circulated word in the streets of Palermo that any snitches would receive the same treatment as Petrosino. As a result, no one was ever arrested for the murder of New York City Police Lieut. Joseph Petrosino.

Joe Bruno on the Mob – British Police Accused of Corruption

Posted in criminals, crooks, England, Ireland, police, Scotland, Uncategorized, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Well I guess the police departments of New York and Chicago don’t have a monopoly on police corruption.

Former British army intelligence officer Ian Hurst made allegations at the Leveson Inquiry that there is corruption in the Metropolitan Police Force “at the highest levels.”

And that’s not all.

Hurst also claimed that the police corruption goes hand in hand with the corruption of certain British journalists. The journalist that Hurst explicitly mentioned was Andy Coulson, former editor of The News of the World, who has been accused of having his reporters hack into the computer and phone files of prominent people, in addition to the files of newsworthy people. Unfortunately, Hurst was not able to give the exact details of these corruption charges at the Leveson Inquiry due to a “gagging” order from the courts.

Earlier this year, Hurst said in an interview with BBC’s Panorama that one of his own computers was hacked into by Coulson’s underlings. Hurst also said that in April 2009, following the arrest of an man who possessed hacked documents, it was proven that the security of Hurst’s wife had been compromised.

Hurst said at the Leveson Inquiry, “Andy Coulson was the editor of the News of the World and he is (expletive) big pals with a lot of powerful people including police officers. It is there, it is at the highest level and out there with journalists today. There’s copious amounts of knowledge that the police had (concerning the journalists). That is exactly what you are dealing with here ladies and gentlemen – corruption.”

Hurst added in court that it’s time for the Metropolitan police to come clean. He said the Metropolitan police, “Has let society down, and they should be making a full disclosure.”

What’s baffling is why, when Hurst obviously has the goods on some people, police and journalists included, he is not allowed to divulge the exact details at the Leveson Inquiry. I don’t know how the court system works in Great Britain, but in America when someone appears in court to give evidence, they are compelled to tell all they know. I don’t understand how this “gagging order” comes into play, and why it was instituted concerning Hurst in the first place.

In America, when we appear in court to give testimony, or appear before an investigating committee, we promise “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

I guess British law differs from American law in more ways than one.

Someone please enlighten me on this.

You can read the article below at:

Ian Hurst Describes ‘Corruption At The Highest Levels’ Of Metropolitan Police At Leveson

Former British army intelligence officer Ian Hurst has made strong allegations against the Metropolitan Police, claiming there is “corruption at the highest levels”.

Giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry on Monday he said the MPS should provide the probe into press ethics “with all intelligence of police corruption including that at very highest level.

“It is there, it is at the highest level and out there with journalists today,” he said.

The remarkable claims came following a tense session at the London court, in which Hurst was unable to reveal full details of his evidence due to a “gagging” order.

Hurst previously worked in Northern Ireland where he was one of the British army’s contacts for IRA spies.

Earlier this year he gave an interview to BBC’s Panorama into computer hacking and he told the programme he believed one of his computers was hacked by the News of the World.

Hurst says that in April 2009 following the arrest of an unnamed man documents showed that the security of his wife had been compromised.

“There’s copious amount of knowledge that the police had,” Hurst claimed at the inquiry.

He added that the Met “has let society down they should be making a full disclosure”.

He also read out a statement that was made during the filming of a Panorama programme into computer hacking.

“Andy Coulson was the editor [of the News of the World] and he is f*****g big pals with a lot of powerful people including police officers.”

He then added: “That is exactly what you are dealing with here ladies and gentlemen – corruption.”