The Chicago Syndicate: Plumber Victim of Dyslexic Mob Hit Man?

Montana West World

Montana West World

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Plumber Victim of Dyslexic Mob Hit Man?

Friends of ours: Salvatore Cautadello

A new theory in last month's slaying of a suburban plumbing company owner took shape Friday. It now looks like a mob hit with a tragic twist.

The Chicago Crime Commission suspects the hit man went to the wrong house and killed an innocent man. CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports the likely motive was to silence a potential witness against the outfit.

Salvatore Cautadello served time in the mid 1980s for shaking down businesses for the Chicago mob. Today, he is still a suspected mobster, but just not locked up and facing trial like so many of his cohorts.

Cautadello lives in Park Ridge with his ex-wife, just a few doors from slain plumbing contractor Gerald Dhamer. Their addresses are similar. "I don't know if you have a dyslexic hit man or if you have someone who's inexperienced," said Jim Wagner, head of the Chicago Crime Commission.

Wagner noted Cautadello belongs to the ill-fated Cicero crew. One member was slain recently and a second disappeared in August. "Mr. Cautadello is probably concerned, and rightly so," Wagner said. "Several in the leadership of the outfit are currently in the metropolitan correctional facility, awaiting trial. Could they be concerned about future testimony? Could they be concerned about possible cooperation or people being subpoenaed?"

The Dhamer murder remains unsolved. He had no criminal record. No known enemies. "He may have been an innocent victim. It was so typically a mob hit tactic," Wagner said.

Wagner hopes Park Ridge police catch the killer. But thirty years spent as an FBI agent against the mob taught him that's unlikely. "The police might to be sure and check trunks especially those emitting foul odors," Wagner said.

CBS 2 spoke with Cautadello's lawyer Friday afternoon. Alex Salerno said there is no reason anyone would want to kill his client. He added that the botched hit theory is ridiculous. Salerno says he's defended people in a number of murder cases and finds it unlikely that a professional hit man would make such a dumb mistake.

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