Armed robbery has always been a staple of Organized Crime. The five families in New York always had crews that pulled down great scores ranging from Brinks to Lufthansa. Some guys especially liked robbing armoured cars. One of the guys I was around in Brooklyn planned to ship a box with a small person inside it to an armoured car depot. He was then going to open the doors and let the armed robbers inside. The FBI foiled that plot before it got off the ground because they flipped the small person.
There is a lot in the recent news about the 1978 armed robbery of Lufthansa Airlines at JFK Airport of $6 million in cash and jewels.
The FBI has one 78 year old Bonanno Family capo under arrest after recording tapes of him speaking about it to informants. Of course, he now has none of the money. They have tape!
There is a new book out that claims to have inside information about the heist from Henry Hill. Henry Hill, although he was around the Lucchese Crew, was never a planner of heists. He was a drug dealer, a drunk, and a drug addict, who died of heart failure from his years of drug abuse. Anyone who ever heard him on the Howard Stern show or met him in person knows better.
The book claims that he was a planner of the heist and that he had a sitdown with John Gotti over it. You, the reader, would have a better chance of having a sit down with John Gotti.
There was another crew that operated in upstate New York. They were under Angele Prisco, a Genovese Capo.
The crew was made up of Rocky Melicharek, Michael Luni, Shakes Memoli, Angelo Nicosia, Danny Celaj, Neddy Gjelaj and Louis Pipolo (the nephew of Vincent Gigante). They robbed upstate New York homes in October of 2003.
One of the homes was that of the star of the American Chopper TV series who lived in Montgomery, NY. The crew busted in and dragged a 60 year old house sitter out of his bed and pistol whipped him. Paul Teutul Sr. was not home during the robbery because he was traveling. The crew also hit another home that same month where they got in excess of $250,000 in cash. They kicked up a portion of the scores to Angelo Prisco.
All the members of the crew were caught and some of them flipped. Angelo Prisco is now doing life for a murder, so this additional charge was no big deal.
The Gambino Family has had a lot of home invaders. One of the low points was when Gambino Associate Frank LaCorte hired two men: Antoine Burroughs and Leon Whitfield, to rob a Queens Pizza shop owner. The man tried to protect his elderly father from a brutal beat down he received from the two men.
Ori Spado, a Colombo Family Associate, while cooperating with the FBI, planned a Los Angeles home invasion with his buddy Christopher Curanovic. Ori planned it and his son rented the car for the crew to use in the robbery. They ended up hitting the wrong place and torturing a woman. The FBI found out and later took them all down for it.
Tommy Gioli’s nephew Thomas McLaughlin recorded Big Anthony Russi, a Colombo Capo who flipped, Joseph Savarese and Associate Scott Fappiano planning an home invasion in which the would use pistols and bullet proof vests. They were not able to pull it off. The FBI stopped that one.
Armed robbery of businesses or armoured cars is one thing, but breaking into homes and torturing people or murdering them is quite another. Both are crimes.
What about Freddy in Brooklyn?