Three men, two of whom were convicted years ago of stealing the 45-carat Marlborough Diamond from a London jewelry store, pleaded not guilty today in federal court in Chicago to charges they plotted to rob a suburban armored car.
Joseph Scalise, Arthur Rachel and Robert Pullia were arrested as they allegedly prepared to burglarize the South Side home of a deceased mob boss. They were indicted on charges they conspired to pull off a robbery as cash was being delivered to a LaGrange bank.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Markus Funk explained to U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber how the three were preparing to try to steal shrink-wrapped cash that would be delivered to the bank but said they were thwarted "due to the good work of the FBI."
"And because our clients weren't there," answered lawyer Terrence Gillespie, who represents Rachel.
Lawyers on both sides told the judge a trial is likely.
Scalise, 73, Rachel, 71, and Pullia, 69, were under investigation for a 2007 holdup at another LaGrange bank when they allegedly were discovered planning their new bank job. They were taken into custody in burglary clothes as they allegedly planned to break into the home of the late Anthony "the Hook" LaPietra, a leader of the Chicago mob's Chinatown street crew.
Scalise and Rachel are reputed mob associates who served time for the Marlborough Diamond theft. More recently, Scalise acted as a technical adviser on the Johnny Depp film, "Public Enemies," about gangster John Dillinger.
Thanks to Jeff Coen
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