Friday, December 16, 2005

Mob Fugitive Arrested in Kentucky

Friends of ours: Frank "The German" Schweihs, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Paul Schiro

A 75-year-old man reputed to be a longtime mob enforcer was arrested Friday at an apartment complex in a small Kentucky town, eight months after being charged with two murders in a federal indictment in Chicago.

Frank "The German" Schweihs had eluded authorities since April when he and 13 other defendants, including reputed mobster Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, were indicted in connection with 18 long-unsolved Outfit-related murders, loan sharking and illegal gambling. But local police said Friday that Schweihs apparently had been staying in the Blakewood Apartments in 12,000-resident Berea, Ky., for only two or three days. "I would say this is probably the biggest fish we ever got in our little pond," Berea police Lt. Ken Clark said of the capture.

A special agent from the FBI's Louisville office found Schweihs at the apartment complex and, at about noon Friday, the FBI called local police for backup, Clark said. "With his past history, they were sort of figuring it could get ugly," Clark said. But backup wasn't needed.

"We probably had people down there within 10 minutes, and by the time we got there [the agent] had already taken Mr. Schweihs into custody," Clark said. "Evidently [Schweihs] exited the apartment as if he was going to leave... So the FBI agent really had no choice. He had to [make the arrest]."

After the indictments in April, Schweihs and Lombardo became fugitives. FBI officials said both had disappeared before the indictments. Lombardo is still at large.

Federal prosecutors charged the two with the 1974 murder of Daniel Seifert, a Bensenville businessman scheduled to testify against Lombardo and others in a Teamsters pension fund fraud case. Schweihs also was charged with joining co-defendant Paul Schiro in a 1986 gangland murder in Phoenix.

"I'm sure the agents are pleased," FBI spokesman Ross Rice said. "They're going to be able to devote more resources now to finding Mr. Lombardo."

Schweihs appeared Friday before a federal judge in Lexington, Ky., FBI officials said. He is being held in Lexington until he can be brought back to Chicago to face charges, officials said.

According to Clark, an apartment manager at the complex said Schweihs and a woman had been staying there for two or three days and were in the process of trying to lease an apartment.

Thanks to Michael Higgins and Matt O'Connor

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