The Chicago Syndicate: Bobby Siegel
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Bobby Siegel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobby Siegel. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chicago Outfit Bank Robber Captured After 14 Years of Fooling the FBI

How do you duck the FBI? Carmine Jannece did so since the early 1990s by staying close to home.

Jannece was part of the biggest bank robbery in Michigan history, right across the lake in Saugatuck, a favorite vacation retreat for many Chicagoans.

Jannece is now 80 years old, on the lam since he was in his 60s, might still be living off the proceeds of one very lucrative bank robbery.
Story continues below

In July 1991. a movie, " Point Break," was playing at Chicago-area theatres about a gang of robbers who stick up banks while wearing rubber masks of ex-U.S. presidents.

Late that summer, inspired by the film, federal agents say a four-man Outfit burglary crew from Chicago arrived in the quaint town of Saugatuck. The mob holdup men were led by veteran Chicago burglar Bobby "The Beak" Siegel, a cousin of the infamous founder of Las Vegas' Bugsy Siegel.

Saugatuck businessman Larry Phillips was driving by the bank. "I went around the one corner and I met a car, and there were three guys in it and they all had face masks on," he said.

The crime syndicate crew had come to hit the only bank in town and pulled it off by diverting the city's only squad car with a 911 call about a phony car accident across town.

One woman was working as a bank teller that day. "Three men came dashing through the front door and pushed me onto the floor, and the other two men grabbed the other bank officer and took him into the vault," said Patricia Diepenhorst, teller.

They ran out with nearly $360,000 in cash with Carmine Jannece driving the getaway car back to Chicago. In 1994, Jannece, Bobby "The Beak" Siegel and their two cohorts were indicted for that robbery and a string of stickups in Florida.

All but Jannece were arrested and convicted.

Jannece became a fugitive, wanted by the FBI here in Chicago; in Michigan and in Florida.

He managed to throw FBI agents off his trail by changing him name from Jannece to Senese and, according to family members, for the last 14 years, lived right out in the open on the Northwest Side, ironically between two banks above a strip mall with his alias right there on the mailbox with bills arriving every day for him and his car parked out back, registered in the slightly altered name.

Jannece outlasted the fugitive run of his boss, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, who managed only nine months before the FBI found him. Jannece's son says his father told him he was exposed when he tried to renew his driver's license.

"I've been wondering about that for years and years, if they'd ever find him," said Diepenhorst.

Surprisingly, the FBI made no announcement of the February arrest. At first, a spokesman denied knowing anything about Jannece. When pressed, they declined to discuss with the I-Team why it took 14 years to bring him in.

Jannece last month pleaded guilty to having stolen a car in Holland, Michigan to use as the getaway car, acting as a lookout and agreed to cooperate with the government. He is free on bond.

Jannece's lawyer told the I-Team he was sorry but had no comment. Neither did the U.S. Attorney.

The aging bank robber is scheduled to be sentenced in July. He could help his situation if he told authorities the whereabouts of stolen bank funds or jewelry or testified against mob bosses who are expected to face indictment later this year in the second leg of the operation family secrets trial.

Reported by Chuck Goudie

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bribes to A Top Chicago Cop Detailed

Friends of ours: Angelo Volpe, Frank "The Calico Kid" Teutonico, Turk Torello
Friends of mine: William Hanhardt, Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal

A master thief and killer for the Outfit testified today that his mob boss gave a top Chicago cop, William Hanhardt, $1,000 to $1,200 a month in bribes and a new car every two years.

Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel took the witness stand Wednesday morning in the Family Secrets case and recounted to jurors in a gravelly baritone how he came up through organized crime in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s.

Siegel told jurors how his one-time boss, Angelo Volpe, who oversaw the numbers racket on the South Side, paid off Chicago Police, including Hanhardt in the 1960s. Volpe also allegedly paid off Hanhardt's long-time partner, the late Jack Hinchy. Siegel said Volpe told Hanhardt and Hinchy to leave Siegel alone because Siegel was working for him.

Hanhardt, 78, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison in 2002 for running a nationwide jewelry theft ring that stole millions of dollars in diamonds and other fine gems.

Siegel, who is 71 and in witness protection, told jurors he grew up on the West Side and began stealing when he was 13 or 14, "anything we could make a buck with."

He graduated to armed robberies and worked for Frank "The Calico Kid" Teutonico as a juice loan collector. Under Teutonico, Siegel learned who was who in the Outfit. After Teutonico went to prison, Siegel went to work for Volpe, Siegel testified.

Siegel also said he was sent by mobster Turk Torello in the late 1960s to Las Vegas to help collect $87,000 from an associate of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, a subject of the book and movie "Casino."

Siegel said he got the job done. "You know, we threatened him and told him he would get hurt if he didn't pay it, and we straightened it out," Siegel said.

Siegel also said he killed three people for the mob, including one person believed to be an informant, but offered no details early on during his testimony Wednesday.

Siegel began working with investigators in the mid-1990s after he was arrested for a series of jewelry store robberies and five of his codefendants in the case cooperated against him.

"I felt I didn't owe loyalty to anybody after that," Siegel said.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Who Robbed Joe Batters?

It's the stuff of Chicago mob lore, cloaked in mystery.

Thieves rob the home of ruthless Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo while he's away.

Then one by one, in brutal retribution, they are rubbed out.

One well-known career burglar, not involved in the Accardo job, got so nervous he'd be killed anyway that he took a lie detector test to prove his innocence and sent it to mob bosses.

Now, the mystery around the burglary in the late 1970s is clearing as the fullest account yet of the crime and the bloody consequences is being offered in a court document made public Thursday.

It's just one of the tales on tap as part of the Family Secrets federal trial, involving the top names in the Chicago Outfit, including reputed mob leaders James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo.

Those alleged mobsters and others have been charged in a case involving 18 unsolved Outfit murders.

The trial won't only be about those murders. It will reveal a secret 40-year history of the Outfit itself.

On the Accardo burglary, ace thief John Mendell was simply out to get back what he had already stolen, according to the document.

Mendell had led a burglary crew that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewelry from Levinson's Jewelry. The only problem was that Accardo was a friend of the owner.

Mendell went into hiding as he learned top mobsters were angry with him and looking for revenge. He hid the loot in the rafters of his business. But it wasn't safe there for long -- another group of burglars broke in and stole the items.

Mendell wanted his loot back and led his crew to break in to Accardo's home, where the jewelry was stashed in a walk-in vault.

The feds believe this because one of their witnesses -- whose name is blacked out in the court document -- allegedly went on the jewelry store burglary with Mendell but balked at pulling the heist at Accardo's home.

Mendell was lured to his death by a fellow burglar he knew and trusted, Ronald Jarrett, according to the new document. Jarrett worked for reputed hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. Jarrett died in 2000, shot in a mob hit outside his Bridgeport home.

Participating in Mendell's murder were Calabrese Sr., his brother Nick Calabrese, Jarrett and mob hit man Frank Saladino, the court filing alleges. Nick Calabrese is cooperating with the feds and expected to tell jurors in detail how Mendell was killed. He was beaten without mercy, his body punctured by an ice pick. Five other burglars met a similar fate.

The government filing also sheds more light on the slayings of Anthony Spilotro, the mob's man in Las Vegas, and his brother Michael in 1986. The brothers were lured to a Bensenville area home, on the promise of promotions within the mob, but they were beaten to death by several mobsters, authorities say.

In 1986, federal investigators had secretly wired phones at Flash Trucking in Cicero, allegedly the headquarters for years of the Cicero mob, as well as the home phone of Cicero mob boss Rocco Infelise. Investigators heard Infelise, James Marcello and top mob boss Joseph Ferriola exchange calls to set up a meeting with Outfit leader Sam Carlisi at a McDonald's in Oak Brook on June 13. The next day, the Spilotros were slain.

All of the witness names are blacked out in the heavily redacted court document, but the Sun-Times has reported the names of several witnesses, including reputed Outfit hit man and career burglar Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel, failed mob assassin Daniel Bounds, mob leg breaker James LaValley and burglar and mob killer Frank Cullotta, a close associate of Anthony Spilotro.

Cullotta is expected to be a key witness against Lombardo but will likely undergo a vigorous cross by Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin. "From what I've been told, Cullotta, in Sicilian, means mendacious," Halprin said.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mob All-Star Lineup for Family Secrets Trial

Friends of ours: Frank "The German" Schweihs, Frank Calabrese Sr.. James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo, Nick Calabrese, Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel, Richard Mara, Daniel Bounds, Alfred Pilotto, Frank Cullotta, Tony Spilotro, James LaValley
Friends of mine: Frank Calabrese Jr., Michael Talarico

One man is a reputed Outfit killer and master thief who stormed jewelry stores with a crew so skilled it's been called "the New York Yankees of robbers." Another served as intermediary between illegal Asian gambling and an alleged Outfit hit man, Frank "The German" Schweihs. Still a third has run a well-known Bridgeport restaurant and was allegedly connected to the crew of brutal loan shark Frank Calabrese Sr. All three are expected to testify in what will be the most important mob trial in Chicago in decades.

Prosecutors have put the mob's top leaders on trial and tied them to 18 unsolved Outfit murders. Facing charges that could put them behind bars for life are reputed Chicago Outfit chief James "Little Jimmy" Marcello and top mobster Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo, among others.

The star witnesses at trial will be the brother and son of Frank Calabrese Sr. The brother, Nick Calabrese, has admitted to 16 mob hits, many committed with his brother, he says. Calabrese Sr.'s son, Frank Calabrese Jr., secretly recorded his father while they were both in prison.

Details of other key witnesses expected at trial are in a federal court filing that is under seal. But the Sun-Times has learned who some of those witnesses will be.

Limoges JewelryAmong the top witnesses will be Robert "Bobby the Beak" Siegel. Siegel was part of a crew of mobbed-up robbers who hit jewelry stores across the country -- mainly in California and Florida -- taking in millions of dollars in loot over the years.

The robbers wore Halloween masks and body armor, used automatic weapons and performed their robberies with military-like precision, authorities said.

"We prosecuted them to the fullest. But we recognized they were the New York Yankees of robbers," said former Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmund Searby, who prosecuted Siegel and his cohorts in 1993 for a series of jewelry store robberies. A heavy prison sentence prompted Siegel to flip and spill all he knew to the feds, including several murders he allegedly committed or knew about, authorities said.

Another witness at the upcoming trial is expected to be Yu Lip Moy, a former head of the National On Leong Trading Association and a former Pittsburgh restaurant owner who was a key witness in the On Leong gambling case in Chicago the early 1990s. Moy has testified he paid off Schweihs as part of an agreement with the Outfit to allow illegal Asian gambling in Chicago to continue.

Another restaurant owner, Michael Talarico, is listed as a potential witness. Talarico has run the well-known Bridgeport restaurant Punchinello's for years and allegedly worked as a bookmaker. The Sun-Times has previously reported he was held in federal jail in Chicago for not testifying before a Family Secrets grand jury, but was later released.

While Talarico is still listed as the license holder for the restaurant, a phone message at the restaurant said it is under new management. Talarico is a part of the influential Roti family by marriage and once was married to Schweihs' daughter.

When asked about Talarico, Joseph Lopez, the attorney for Frank Calabrese Sr., said he expected Talarico's testimony to deal more with Nick Calabrese than Frank Calabrese Sr.

Lopez blasted Nick Calabrese as "a mass murderer."

"Instead of going after off-duty cops for fighting in bars, [Cook County State's Attorney] Dick Devine should be going after a mass murderer who has killed more people than the Brown's Chicken massacre and Richard Speck combined," Lopez said.

Nick Calabrese is cooperating with federal prosecutors but does not have a deal with them yet.

Prosecutors would not discuss witnesses, and defense attorneys declined to discuss the contents of the sealed court filing.

When asked about some of the potential witnesses, Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin said: "It's just round-up-the-usual-snitches, who have been telling the same stories for 20 years."

Other witnesses expected at trial include Outfit burglar Richard Mara; failed Outfit assassin Daniel Bounds, who turned himself into the FBI after botching the hit of south suburban mob boss Alfred Pilotto; Outfit killer and burglar Frank Cullotta, a close associate of Tony Spilotro; mob leg breaker James LaValley, and former adult bookstore owner, William "Red" Wemette, who was shaken down by Outfit thugs.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

No Egg McMuffin Results in Arrest of Mob Associates

Friends of ours: Bobby "the Beak" Siegel, Paul "Peanuts" Panczko
Friends of mine: Theodore Victor Ristich, Walter Frank Zischke

Bad luck and a couple of slices of toast.

That's what stopped two mob-connected burglars from adding a Creve Coeur jewelry store to a cross-country series of crimes that netted more than $40 million in loot - $350,000 of it in seven months.

So bad was their luck that Theodore Victor Ristich, 60, and Walter Frank Zischke, 62, didn't even take a chance with a jury. The crooks pleaded guilty Monday in St. Louis to federal charges that may add up to five years in prison to their already-bulging rap sheets.

In a sense, it was all because the office manager of a law firm in the same building as the Michael Genovese jewelry store on Olive Boulevard decided not to stop for an Egg McMuffin and went straight to work early one Saturday in June."The diet side of me said, 'Just go into work and have some toast,'" said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for her safety. "Timing is everything."

She arrived about 7 a.m. to spot two suspicious-looking men in hooded sweatshirts. They spotted her too, and left.

Based on her call, Creve Coeur police stopped a van just before it might have disappeared onto Interstate 270. Officers found the lock to Genovese's door, along with tools and guides to antique malls, according to court records and Detective Tom Rich.

A search of the men's hotel rooms revealed more burglar tools and ads for antique malls and jewelry stores from magazines all over the U.S. An investigation revealed that police had snared men who spent decades robbing and burglarizing jewelry stores and banks, sometimes beside some of the most notorious members of the Chicago mob - men with names like Bobby "the Beak" Siegel and Paul "Peanuts" Panczko.

After an arrest in 1994, Zischke told the FBI that the men had stolen about $40 million from 40 jewelry stores, according to documents. "If there ever was a professional criminal, it's Ristich and Zischke," said retired FBI agent Jack O'Rourke, once part of the bureau's "top thief" team. He said both were well-known to law enforcement. He likened their crimes to those in the 1995 Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro movie "Heat."

O'Rourke said Ristich was "primarily an armed robber and a burglar," who once confessed to robbing a restaurant with one of the top mob hit men. "Zischke was more of an old time, tough-armed robber," he said.

Federal court documents show that Ristich, 60, of Bloomingdale, Ill., has been convicted of burglary three times, possession of burglary tools six times, transportation of stolen property, racketeering conspiracy and armed robbery. He is now on parole for robbing a bank in Wisconsin.

Zischke, 62, recently of Maine, has been convicted of auto theft, armed robbery, two counts of attempted murder, escape, numerous burglary-related charges, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, concealed weapon charges, robbery, false imprisonment and racketeering conspiracy, documents show.

Each pleaded guilty Monday to one count of transport of stolen goods, with sentencing set for Dec. 1. They still face charges in St. Louis County of burglary and possession of burglary tools.

Rich said fingerprints taken after their arrest identified Ristich and Walter Wonish - Zischke's new name in witness protection. Rich and FBI Special Agent Mark Wood then dug through "lots" of crimes and recognized Zischke and Ristich on some surveillance videos. Rich and Wood linked one or both to 10 burglaries in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

In front of U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson, Ristich and Zischke admitted they planned to drill the lock at Genovese's, which prosecutors said kept about $2 million in jewelry in showcases.

Zischke admitted taking about $350,000 in jewelry and coins from 10 antique malls, a goldsmith and jewelry stores in Illinois and four other states. In court, Zischke said Ristich did not participate in all 10.

Zischke told authorities he is a self-employed carpenter with two college degrees. Ristich, a high school graduate, has the looks of a businessman but said he is a member of a machinery movers' union.

Rich suggested the aging men may have lost the stamina for armed robbery and switched to burglary. Zischke has asthma and Ristich high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.

Zischke's lawyer did not return a message Monday but turned down a request to interview Zischke last month.

Attorney Scott Rosenblum declined to allow an interview with Ristich but said he was satisfied with the plea agreement. Prosecutors could have sought life terms under racketeering laws. Rosenblum said, "They're a couple characters. Nice guys. You can't help but like them."

Rich and Wood said that Zischke and Ristich would spend as little as two minutes in a store, sweeping the loot that they wanted - the untraceable stuff - into one of the large plastic Rubbermaid containers they carried.

That's a little less time than an early-morning stop at McDonald's.

Thanks to Robert Patrick


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