Monday, June 17, 2013

Andrew Didonato: Life in the Gambino Crew Part 2

Bank Robbery is a full time job. If anyone tells you it is not it is because they have no idea. Andrew, no longer able to work with the same guys he had always worked with now that he was wanted for absconding on his parole, hooked up with a serious crew.  These were Genovese guys and they would take their time looking for a big score so they didn't have to step out more than once a year on a job.

And rew would get up early and go watch an armoured car depot. The crew had a tipster inside that gave them the truck to follow. They watched it make its scheduled drop at the bank they were studying.  They learned that the bank employees, busy when the cash delivery arrived, would store the bags of cash behind the counter until later when they would move it into the vault.

The members of the robbery crew were friendly with an old guy who lived a few miles from the bank.  On the day of the robbery, they staged at the old guys house. The getaway car was parked in back of the bank and the driver was the old guy.  Andrew went in, jumped over the counter and grabbed four bags that had been dropped off earlier that day and had not been moved to the safe.  While they were inside a women saw them and ran screaming outside. They walked past her and got into the car and ducked while the old guy calmly drove away.  They knew the police would set up roadblocks.  They heard later that they were looking for the crew and a woman.  They thought that the woman was part of the crew!

They would hide out at the old guys house until the heat died down.  They opened the four bags and only two of them had cash.  There was still over 400,000 dollars to be split up amongst them.

Andrew’s world was getting smaller by the day. He was wanted and Nicky Corrozzo was having guys reach out to the Genovese Crew to see how much cash he was making.  Nicky was not happy that one of his men was pulling in cash and not giving him a cut.  No matter what Andrew was facing or how much he needed, Nicky wanted his end.

This is the way the Mafia works: money flows up, never down.  Back when Andrew needed $5,000 to pay his Lawyer he had asked Nicky for a loan and what do you think Nicky said to him?  Nicky said "You are not a good investment at this time" That is always nice to hear from a guy you have been loyal to for many years.

Years before when Andrew had gotten out of prison he had asked permission to whack out a guy who was really bad to a relative. Nicky had given the okay, so his friend and fellow Gambino Crew member Mikey Yanotti came up with a plan.  They would call the guy, who was a plumber, and they would tell him that Mikey had a problem in his place.  Mikey lived in a three story apartment home and his place was in the middle.  There was a stairway down to the garage from his place so it was private.  They would have him come up through the garage and when he did they would kill him.  They decided against it in the end for whatever reason.

Around the time of the bank robbery, Mikey Yanotti called him and asked him to come by his place.  Andrew went to Mikey’s place.   They were upstairs and just when they started to talk Mikey put his finger to his lips and pointed at the ceiling (Meaning his place was wired) He motioned for Andrew to follow him down to the garage.  Andrew could not help notice the lights were off, so as he walked behind Mikey he fingered his pistol in his waistband.  He thought for sure that someone was waiting to pop him in the dark, but as he got towards the ground there was some light and he could see the place was empty.  They went outside and Mikey talked about what they would do to the Luchese Crew that was after him.  Mikey was talking about Danny Cutia, Sal Cutia, John Baudanza and Craig Marino (who was a Colombo).  John and Craig had asked Robert Arena where Andrew lived on Staten Island like they were going to do something to him.  I personally know both of those guys and the only thing they are capable of is shooting their friends in the back. As Andrew stood talking to Mikey, the only thing going through his mind was that this entire conversation is window dressing, and Mikey had just pulled a dry run on him to see if he would play along.  The next time he was invited over to “talk” the real hit would take place.  It reminded him a lot of their old plot to hit the plumber.

Andrew went out on a score with another crew soon after this incident, he was hoping to raise some cash fast.  This was not an armed robbery but a bank burglary.  They went and stole a piece of heavy equipment from a construction site to bust out a night deposit box and chute.  The bank was in the Bronx and they had cased it good. They went there on the night of the burglary and the idiot kid driving the machine accidentally drove it through the wall!  He didn't use the scoop to bust open the chute as planned, and pretty soon the building collapsed.  They had to make a run for it! No cash on that job.

Andrew laid low from the cops better this time than he did after a previous shooting he had done on the streets.   The previous time he had flown to Los Angeles and then taken a plane to Las Vegas and from there a bus to Laughlin. This was in 1988 and Laughlin was a small dusty town with only a few hotels.  Andrew was there with his dad hiding out and had just gotten to sleep when there was a loud pounding on the adjoining door to his room. Andrew was sure it was the Feds coming to grab him and take him back to New York.  The pounding grew louder and a voice was screaming,”What are you doing in there!”  Andrew jumped out of the window and started running down the street in his underwear.  It didn’t take long for his father to yell at him to get back in the room.  Andrew was already pretty far away and people started looking at him in his underwear with bare feet. It turns out that an elderly couple had the room next to their room and maybe the guy had never been in a hotel before because he thought the door was another part of his own room.

The more experienced on-the-run Andrew stayed low in the tri-state area.  Nicky would have meetings at diners at 3am or later in out of the way places in order to avoid the Feds.  This was a good idea because the FBI likes to work 9 to 5 Monday through Friday.  He sent for Andrew one night and they met at a diner.  Nicky wanted cash from the Bank jobs to pay some legal bills.  They spoke about the Lucchese Family problem and his troubles. Nicky was pissed because of the headache Andrew had caused him, and he didn't even make anything from it.  Then Nicky wanted Andrew to bring the kids he had been getting cash from drug deals to meet the crew.  Andrew knew right then that they were going to kill him because in all the years Nicky had never asked him to meet anyone.  He never needed to meet them, because he had Andrew to be the middle man.  Andrew knew that it was only a matter of time before the Genovese crew would have to give him up to the Gambino's (Nicky) so that was the end of his run on the street as a bank robber with the Genoveses.

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