This week my first book Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia has been re-released. The new version has some updated material and is also available for Kindle.
It occurred to me when I was proofreading this version for typos, that many of those I wrote about are now dead. The whole 1970’s Los Angeles mafia family is now gone.
They tried hard to rebuild the family but the lack of a talent pool and the constant assault by the FBI made it an impossible task. That part of my life is over now too, but I am thankful that I was able to sit with those men of a bygone era and hear their stories. Soon the only record left will be those that learned from them.
The dream of having a casino on the Las Vegas strip that started with Jack Dragna and Jimmy Fratianno is dead. Bobby Milano and Jimmy Caci wanted to have a Titanic themed casino but that died with Bobby and Paulie, the boss of the Denver family.
Jimmy Caci spent his whole life as a criminal, and yet if he gave you his word he would keep it. If you were around Jimmy you could not swear if there were ladies present. Jimmy had some great stories from Buffalo, New York. One I was thinking about today. Jimmy and another guy were cutting into a safe at a clothing store when their lookout signaled to them that a cop was coming. It was a beat cop on foot and Jimmy was in the display window. Stores used to put their safes in the front hoping it would deter safe crackers. There was no way Jimmy could get out of the window in time so he posed like the other mannequins until the cop passed. The cop never gave him a second glance and they soon cracked the safe and took off. Jimmy would laugh when telling that story.
I wrote about Danny Persico in Breakshot because he was there at the time. He has passed away and it is a shame. He was harmless and he was a young guy. I have no ill feelings toward him at all. I hope when Teddy Persico gets out of prison he does something else with his life.
Some people just cannot learn from history so they keep repeating the same mistakes. Michael Mazzara, Charles Kerrigan and Anthony Mascuzzio are just those people.
They were part of a bank robbery crew that cut their way into bank vaults after bypassing the alarms. They would break into buildings next door, or go through a roof and then cut their way into the vault. They would then bust into safety deposit boxes, trashing sentimental items but taking cash and jewelry that totaled five million dollars at least. A lot of people will not be reporting what was really in the boxes, so I am sure the haul was much larger.
Anthony Mascuzzio seems never to learn his lesson. He had a father who was with John Gotti, but was shot dead trying to shake down a disco. Battista “Benny” Geritano a former of the “Night Drop Crew” is his stepbrother. I wonder where Anthony got the idea to rob banks?
The FBI and task force has been watching the crew. They installed a camera on a pole across from Michael Mazzara and Charles Kerrigan's home. They also had a cooperator in the crew who gave up their cell phones. They traced the phone near one of the banks they burgled. It was pinged off towers within a block. They caught them on video with the same red car that was used in the bank job pulling into a property next to theirs. They also have video of them driving away with plywood in a truck that was later found at the bank. They got them buying fire extinguishers and water buckets on a credit card. It should be noted that the red F-250 pickup truck is registered to a relative of Michael Mazzara. They have video outside the banks with them and even though they wore hats and hoodies they were recognized.
The broke into Maspeth Federal savings bank in May where the haul was 296k in cash and 4.3 million out of the safety deposit boxes.
They hit the HSBC bank in Brooklyn in April and they are believed to have hit at least 8 other banks. This is an unfolding story. It will be interesting to see who the informant is and who goes down.