The Chicago Syndicate: Mob Bones Belong to Cousin of Hit Man Harry Aleman
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mob Bones Belong to Cousin of Hit Man Harry Aleman

Friends of ours: Harry Aleman
Friends of mine: Robert Charles Cruz

Just days after his cousin, reputed mob hit man Harry Aleman, was sentenced for a murder, Robert Charles Cruz disappeared from his Kildeer home.

For nearly 10 years, authorities suspected Cruz had purposely vanished, but his credit cards and bank accounts never were touched. Last week, construction crews digging new sewers for a townhouse development in unincorporated DuPage County came across the body of a man wrapped in tarpaulin and carpet, buried 8 1/2 feet down. On Wednesday, the DuPage County coroner's office publicly identified that the man as Robert Charles Cruz, 50. He had been reported missing on Dec. 4, 1997.

Cruz's body was found just 50 yards from where two other organized crime-connected bodies were found in 1988. An informant had told the FBI there was a mob burial ground in DuPage County near the home of former mob syndicate member Joseph Jerome Scalise.

At the time, an FBI task force descended on the area near Bluff Road and Illinois Highway 83 for five months and found the remains of Robert Anthony Hatridge, a minor associate of Gerald Scarpelli, a crime syndicate killer-turned-informant; and Mark Oliver, another minor organized crime figure.

Now, the FBI and DuPage County authorities are investigating Cruz's murder. Law enforcement sources said it appeared Cruz had been shot.

Cruz's body was identified through fingerprints and through tattoos on his arm, said Tom Simon, special agent and spokesman for the FBI. Family members have been notified, he said.

In addition to his familial relationship to Aleman, who remains in prison, Cruz had his own brushes with trouble. He spent 14 years on Death Row in Arizona before his conviction for hiring three men to kill a Phoenix businessman and his mother-in-law on New Year's Eve in 1980 was overturned and a new trial ordered. .

Prosecutors at the time said Cruz hired the men, including two from Chicago, to murder Patrick Redmond because the man refused to sell an interest in his Phoenix printing shop to Cruz, who wanted to use it to launder money from Las Vegas connections. Redmond's 70-year-old mother-in-law was visiting and died after her throat was cut.

Cruz was tried four more times. He was acquitted in 1995 after the jury decided the state's primary witness, a participant in the killings, was unreliable.

Cruz later moved to Kildeer and was a fixture at Harry Aleman's 1997 trial for the murder of a Teamsters' union official. Cruz sat every day in the courtroom where the attorney in his Arizona appeal, Kevin McNally, defended Aleman.

Cruz had been instrumental in Aleman's decision to change attorneys and hire McNally just before the trial. Days after Aleman was sentenced to 100 to 300 years in prison, Cruz disappeared. He had last been seen hanging Christmas lights from the gutters of his home.

Thanks to Angela Rozas and Maurice Possley

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