The Chicago Syndicate: William Hanhardt
Showing posts with label William Hanhardt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Hanhardt. Show all posts

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thanks to Feds, We Hear the "Lies"

Federal prosecutor Mitchell Mars was telling the jury about a litany of 18 Outfit murders -- solved by federal investigators, not locals -- and he put several corpses at the feet of convicted mobster Frank Calabrese Sr.

"He has left a trail of bodies, literally ..." Mars said Tuesday, as Calabrese began shouting, interrupting him.

"THEM ARE LIES!!" Calabrese shrieked, startling the jury.

It was the real Frank coming out after weeks of suppression in federal court, with that tight little smile of his. It was Chinatown Frank, the scary Frank with the famous thumbs, and federal marshals inched closer lest Frank pop for good.

Mars didn't flinch, and he continued speaking.

" ... during his career with the Outfit."

Then the jury retired to deliberate on the second phase of the landmark Family Secrets trial -- deciding which Outfit figures committed previously unsolved murders -- and my guess is that the jury is ready to be done with this.

What must bother Calabrese, and his co-defendants Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo, Paul "The Indian" Schiro, and James "Little Shamrock" Marcello, is what Mars told that jury.

"This is not a case of guilt by association. It is guilt by participation in a criminal organization that protected itself and its members by homicide," Mars said. "They lived to kill. They lived to have money, and they lived to kill."

The "Them are lies" shriek was the dramatic highlight of the day, but here's one thing that isn't a lie:

Since the Chicago Outfit began controlling select politicians at City Hall, and select businesses and select cops and county judges, there have been hundreds of Outfit hits. And local law enforcement hasn't solved one for more than 40 years. They've only solved a scant few Outfit killings since Paul "The Waiter" Ricca let Al Capone pretend to be boss of Chicago.

I might be wrong. There might be one, or two, solved in the last four decades by local law enforcement, perhaps the real police in blue uniforms, the men and women who don't get promoted because they don't know the secret political passwords. And if I'm wrong, I'm sure that interim Chicago Police Supt. Dana Starks will invite me to Cafe Bionda for lunch and lecture me on my heresy, as legendary Bionda chef and Reserve nightclub fixture Joe Farina whips us up something tasty. But according to a Chicago Tribune investigation in 1989, no Outfit murder had been solved in Cook County in 20 years.

That was 18 years ago.

The report focused on the Cook County sheriff's office, and how high-ranking sheriff's officials "sabotaged investigations of brutal, execution-style murders and covered up evidence of possible crimes of other law enforcement officials, and judges."

Back then, sheriff's officers, the Tribune said, systematically concealed evidence, blocked efforts by other law enforcement agencies to interview witnesses, and hid their own relationships with organized crime suspects in murder investigations.

One of the murders was the 1976 slaying of Michael Curtin, a chemical company executive found facedown in the back of his tan Cadillac in Maywood, strangled, Chinatown-style, and shot twice in the head for good measure.

Curtin's murder was not one of the 18 homicides in the Family Secrets trial.

A tiny black notebook was discovered in Curtin's pocket. In that notebook, the Tribune reported, were the names of Cook County judges and lawyers, with dollar amounts written alongside.

Lt. James Keating seized the evidence, including Curtin's precious little black book, which vanished forever, as did the bullets that were mysteriously removed from Curtin's cold skull. Keating was convicted in 1986 for taking payoffs to protect Outfit vice operations in the suburbs. And in 1989, he was convicted in federal court for racketeering and murder conspiracy.

Since then, he's been in prison. Some literary muse must have whispered to him in the federal pen, because he's written a novel, "All on the Same Side," about the friendships between politicians, local cops and the Outfit.

One of the characters in the book is a so-called Chief William Murphy -- who vaguely resembles former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt, himself in federal prison for running an Outfit jewelry heist ring with Schiro.

Murphy's buddy is a mob boss named Dominic, who answers to another mob boss named Johnny, who may or may not have been shot in the nose years ago in real life, ruining his looks. And Murphy promises to kill investigations.

The book is fiction, sort of. But here are two facts:

If it weren't for the feds, the Chicago Outfit wouldn't worry about murder cases. And Frank Calabrese wouldn't have to scream "Them are lies" to the jury deciding the rest of his life.

Thanks to John Kass

Friday, August 17, 2007

End of the Clown's Days?

The Joey "The Clown" Lombardo who testified Tuesday in his own defense was the boss of nothing, in his own mind.

Street boss, what street boss? Clown, what clown?

He was just an old man with a gray face in a gray suit with a cane, pushing 80, working his jaw, his tongue fishing some flecks of lunch out of his gums as he sat in the witness box, taking the one chance left to him in this historic Family Secrets trial of the Chicago Outfit in federal court:

To convince the jury he wasn't the Joey Lombardo of legend, but instead a humble shoeshine boy from the old neighborhood who hustled a bit for extra cash.

Lombardo said he grew up on the West Side, that his father worked at the Tribune in some unspecified capacity, and that Joe later took fencing lessons in high school, played handball, even rollerbladed in later years, ending up with a small interest in a floating craps game while running minor errands for bail bondsman and Outfit wiretapper Irwin Weiner.

Lombardo didn't kill anyone, he insisted. He wasn't the boss of anything. He wasn't a made member of the Outfit, which forms the base of the triangle that runs the town. Politicians, Lombardo said, were the real hoodlums.

"There's 50 bosses in Chicago," Lombardo said, "The 50 bosses are the 50 aldermen; without them you can't get anything done. If you want zoning, you see the alderman. If you want to run a card game, you go see the alderman. If you want a dice game, go see the alderman."

In Lombardo's mind, what does that make the boss of all the aldermen, that guy I used to call Mayor Fredo, who sits on the 5th Floor of City Hall? I couldn't ask Lombardo, since he's only talking from the witness stand.

The last time I tried speaking to Lombardo was years ago, at Bella Notte, a nice Italian restaurant on Grand Avenue, just after former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt was indicted for running an Outfit-sanctioned jewelry-heist ring. I wanted to ask Lombardo about Hanhardt, another friend of the Outfit-connected Weiner. But before I could saunter over to Lombardo's table, he snapped his fingers, the busboys shoveled his food into containers and he walked out. The manager trotted over and said I was sadly mistaken if I thought he catered to clowns.

"Clown? Clown? What are you talking about, clown? What clown?" the manager said.

Well, wasn't that the Clown? "No, that was Mr. Irwin Goldman," the manager said, forgetting to explain why Mr. Goldman was wearing a St. Dismas medallion -- the Good Thief crucified next to Christ -- around his neck.

That was sure amusing, but Lombardo is weirdly amusing, and when he testified in court on Tuesday he got a laugh when he talked about shining shoes as a boy. Gamblers would tip him a dollar. The cops only gave him a nickel. "They were very cheap people," said Lombardo, and there was a loud chuckle in the courtroom, prompting U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel to admonish other lawyers laughing at Lombardo's wisecracks.

Rick Halprin, the seasoned criminal lawyer whose job it is to try and keep Lombardo from dying in prison, took a gamble in putting Lombardo on the stand. Halprin had no real choice, with Lombardo's fingerprint on the title application from a car used in the killing of Danny Seifert, a Lombardo partner-turned-federal witness in 1974. That fingerprint has an itch the Outfit can't scratch. It waits, still, quiet, filed, hanging over Lombardo's head.

In 1974, Seifert was killed in front of his family. Seifert was the key witness in the federal case against Lombardo. The case against him exploded the way Seifert exploded, when the shotguns came out. Halprin had to gamble the jury would see a cane in the fingers of the grandpa on the stand, not a shotgun.

The other accused Outfit bosses and soldiers on trial must be thinking that now they've got to follow him up there, too, and swear another oath, this one before God. They watched Lombardo in cold blood. There was Paul "The Indian" Schiro, James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. and former Chicago Police Officer Anthony Doyle, accused of warning the Outfit when the FBI began investigating the 18 formerly unsolved mob killings that are part of this landmark case.

Their eyes black, their heads framed against black leather courtroom chairs, they leaned back and watched the shoeshine boy. Their chins rested on fists, they took deep breaths, their eyes sponging up the light of the world.

Halprin: "On Sept. 27, 1974, did you kill Danny Seifert?"

Lombardo: "Positively, no."

Halprin: "Have you ever been a capo or a made member of the Chicago Outfit?"

Lombardo: "Positively, no."

The old man pushed that second "positively, no" too quickly past his choppers, the delivery was rushed, so it fell in front of the jury with a thunk, like a car trunk slamming shut in a lonely parking lot.

There wasn't anything amusing about it.

It wasn't funny, like a clown.

It was desperate, an old man holding his cane, seeing the end of days.

Thanks to John Kass

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

Friday, June 22, 2007

How Do 18 Chicago Outfit Murders Remain Unsolved for Decades?

How do 18 Chicago Outfit murders remain unsolved for decades?

It might help to have the cops on your side.

This came out in the opening statement by Assistant U.S. Atty. John Scully in the historic Family Secrets trial, when Scully pointed at one of the accused, a fellow with the intriguing nickname of "Twan."

He's called Twan in the 11th Ward, in Bridgeport and Chinatown, where not only the wiseguys are nervous about this trial, but presumably some 11th Ward politicians, too, about information gushing from the mouths of Outfit informants.

Twan is a tough-looking fellow, with a muscly forehead and plates for eyebrows, a Chinatown Sammy Sosa in a nice suit, and the only one of five defendants not accused of being involved in the 18 murders.

The name Twan remains a mystery. If any of you know his longtime friend, Bridgeport's former labor boss, Frank "Toots" Caruso, and you ask Toots and he tells you, please call me. On a pay phone.

Scully's suggestion about how things work isn't in the name Twan, but in another, official name used by Twan: Chicago Police Officer Anthony Doyle.

According to Scully, Doyle was with the Outfit and a loan shark, but Doyle also worked in the evidence section of the Chicago Police Department for a time. If Scully's allegations are correct -- and Scully was correct a few years ago when he put former Chicago Police Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt behind bars for running the Outfit's jewelry-heist crew -- the Outfit's reach into local law enforcement will be demonstrated once again.

Good cops who make small mistakes are often publicly humiliated, trotted out and yelled at by politicians who wag their fingers for TV cameras. Their families are ruined. But law-and-order politicians somehow always forget to wag their fingers at cops like Hanhardt or Twan.

If you're a loyal reader, you might remember that I wrote about Outfit tough guy John Fecarotta years ago, after reporting that Chinatown crew member Nicholas Calabrese had sought refuge in the federal witness protection program, which started Family Secrets. Fecarotta was implicated in many of the 18 murders by Scully on Thursday, including the 1986 beating deaths of brothers Anthony and Michael Spilotro. It was Fecarotta's job to bury them. He blew it by inserting them in a shallow grave in an Indiana cornfield.

After the Spilotros' bodies were found, Fecarotta was invited to go on another crime, on Belmont Avenue. But he didn't know he was the intended target until Nick Calabrese pointed a gun at his face. There was a struggle, Nick was shot, and though Fecarotta ended up dead, a bloody glove was found, dripping with Nick's DNA. The glove ended up in the police evidence section where Doyle worked.

When the FBI began asking about the glove, Scully said Doyle became quite interested in this development, figuring that his Outfit superiors would be equally interested, if not more so. Scully alleged that Doyle told Nick Calabrese's brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., about the glove that could put the Calabrese family in the Fecarotta murder.

"He betrayed his oath to the public and decided to remain loyal to Outfit interests," Scully said.

There were other highlights in court Thursday, including Frank Calabrese Sr.'s lawyer, the dynamic and splendidly dressed Joseph Lopez, the only lawyer in town tough enough to pull off pink socks and work for mobsters while remaining a loyal reader of my column.

He described his client as a man ruined by an ungrateful son, another informant witness, Frank Calabrese Jr. Junior was a drug addict who didn't want to go into the trucking business and who cared more about a tarty wife than his own father's love, Lopez said.

He pointed to his client, who allegedly strangled several people until their eyes popped out but who was so soft and kindly-looking in court, he could have been in a TV commercial for facial tissue.

"Who is this man in the powder blue suit who could be a cheese salesman from Wisconsin?" Lopez asked the jury about Frank Calabrese Sr.

Gentle Wisconsin cheese salesman? I wonder where he read that oneThief.

Other highlights included the lists of the Outfit soldiers allegedly in on the 18 killings. And the repeated mention of Bridgeport hit man Ronnie Jarrett, who worked for Bridgeport trucking boss/mayoral favorite Michael Tadin and was the model for the James Caan crime classic "Thief."

Jarrett was gunned down in 1999, about the time that Twan was getting worried about the glove. Jarrett's murder is not included in this case.

"Unfortunately," said Lopez, arguing that his client was not involved in other murders, "people get killed for various reasons all the time."

"The truth," Lopez said, quoting a lyrical Italian proverb, "is somewhere between the clouds."

But I think it's in the evidence room of the Chicago Police Department.

Thanks to John Kass

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Blood and Gore Highlight Opening Statements at Family Secrets Mob Trial

Friends of ours: Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr., Paul Schiro, Anthony Doyle, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Nicholas Calabrese, Michael "Hambone" Albergo
Friends of mine: William Hanhardt

Chicago's biggest mob trial in years started Thursday with a prosecutor urging the jury to forget what they know about movie mobsters and see the now-elderly defendants for who they are: men who "committed brutal crimes on behalf of the Chicago Outfit."

"This is not The Sopranos. This is not The Godfather. These are real people, very corrupt and without honor," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully told the jury.

As Scully described a blood-drenched litany of murders, he showed the jury large photos of the victims. He talked about Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, once the Chicago mob's man in Las Vegas and the inspiration for Joe Pesci's character in the movie Casino. Spilotro and his brother were allegedly lured into a basement and beaten to death, then buried in an Indiana cornfield.

The men on trial — reputed mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78, James Marcello, 65, Frank Calabrese Sr., 70, Paul Schiro, 69, and former Chicago police officer Anthony Doyle, 62 — are accused in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 murders. All have pleaded not guilty.

An anonymous jury is hearing the case, with the jurors being identified only by court-issued numbers to protect their identities.

"Four of the five defendants in this room committed brutal crimes on behalf of the Chicago Outfit," Scully told the jury in his opening statement. The fifth, Doyle, protected them, he said.

Scully described Calabrese as a violent loan shark who strangled witnesses with a rope and cut their throats to make sure they were dead.

Defense attorney Joseph Lopez painted a different picture for the jury, describing Calabrese as a much-maligned, deeply religious man "who believes in peace" and loved his family. He ripped into Calabrese's son, Frank Jr., who is expected to be a key witness for the government against his father.

"He's going to say, 'My father is a rotten S.O.B., my father never loved me' — none of this is true," Lopez said. He said the jurors would see letters between the father and son "expressing love for one another."

"You're going to hear that Frank did slap his son around on numerous occasions," Lopez said. But he said that was only because the youngster was robbing the neighbors of their jewelry and taking cocaine.

He said Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, also expected to be a key witness, once stole a rifle with a silencer from Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, where it had been used to shoot birds that congregated on the scoreboard.

Scully described Marcello as one of the top leaders of the Chicago Outfit. He said Lombardo was the boss of the mob's Grand Avenue crew. Schiro was jailed five years ago for taking part in a jewel theft ring led by the Chicago police department's one-time chief of detectives, William Hanhardt.

Doyle, the retired Chicago police officer, also worked as a loan shark under Calabrese, according to federal prosecutors. He is the one defendant in the case not directly accused of murdering anyone. But Scully said that he aided and abetted the others in their work.

Scully was graphic in describing the killings, but it was Lopez who offered the juiciest details.

He recounted how FBI agents, acting on an informant's tip, tore up concrete in a parking lot near U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, looking for the last remains of murdered loan shark Michael Albergo. He said they found "thousands of bones" under the parking lot. But DNA testing couldn't tie any of the bones to Albergo, Lopez said, repeatedly referring to the victim by his mob nickname of "Hambone."

4th of July Sale

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Widow Wants Jewelry from Top Chicago Outfit Cop Returned

Friends of mine: William Hanhardt

Marlene Rolecek wants her stolen jewelry back. It's worth more than $100,000.

The jewelry was not stolen from her. It was stolen from unsuspecting salesmen targeted by a highly sophisticated theft ring, overseen by former Chicago Police chief of detectives William Hanhardt, now in prison.

Dynamic Auto Updating Coupon BannerIn an unusual twist in the Hanhardt case, Rolecek, 75, filed court papers recently asking for 22 pieces of jewelry, including gems and watches, to be returned to her. The federal government seized the jewelry as evidence in 2000. The items include a gold Rolex watch, a three-carat pearl-shaped pendant, and a diamond and ruby cocktail ring, court records show.

Rolecek's husband, Charles Rolecek, a onetime Chicago Police officer, bought the pieces over several years from Hanhardt's right-hand man in the jewelry theft ring, Joseph Basinski, according to court records.

Marlene Rolecek did not return phone messages but said in court papers neither she nor her husband had any idea the jewelry was stolen, so she deserves it back.

Federal prosecutors argue Marlene Rolecek knew full well her husband wasn't buying the baubles at Tiffany's. Prosecutors point to her grand jury testimony in June 2000 as part of the investigation.

Rolecek said she didn't question where the jewelry was coming from or how her husband afforded it.

Charles Rolecek bought jewelry from Basinski for as little as one-fourth its appraised value.

"My husband says mind your own business. It's a gift. It's a gift for you. And that was it. And if I wanted more gifts, I shut my mouth," Rolecek said, according to the grand jury transcript.

Now, it's up to a judge to decide if she gets the jewelry back.

Thanks to NBC5

Hanhardt Seeks to Overturn Conviction

Friends of mine: William Hanhardt

A legendary former Chicago police deputy superintendent serving 12 years in prison for heading a sophisticated jewelry theft ring is seeking to overturn his 2001 conviction, arguing he was mentally unfit to plead guilty days after a suicide attempt.

In a federal lawsuit, William Hanhardt contends his lawyers at the time were incompetent for pushing him to plead guilty despite the fact that "my emotions were completely overwhelmed."

Hanhardt, 78 and said to be suffering from a long list of medical woes, also sought to be moved to a prison camp closer to his family.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle sentenced Hanhardt to almost 16 years in prison in 2002 for heading a mob-connected crew that used pinpoint timing and meticulous planning to steal millions of dollars of jewels from traveling salesmen. After a federal appeals court took issue with a part of the sentence, Norgle resentenced Hanhardt in 2004 to 11 years and 9 months in prison.

Hanhardt's guilty plea was postponed after he tried to commit suicide by overdosing on prescribed painkillers. The following week, Hanhardt pleaded guilty "blind" -- without a plea agreement with prosecutors.

In the federal lawsuit, filed Monday, Hanhardt's lawyer, Jeffrey Steinback, argued that Hanhardt was denied his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel when his lawyers pressed ahead with the guilty plea despite the suicide attempt. The suit contends that the lawyers ignored the concerns of Hanhardt's family that he needed psychological help and didn't want to plead guilty.

At the time of his guilty plea and sentencing, Hanhardt had little to say publicly. But in a four-page affidavit made part of his lawsuit, he said he participated in and witnessed "many dreadful and horrific" events in his more than three decades on the police force. "I regularly experience flashbacks to this day, which evoke powerful and, at times, overwhelming emotions," he wrote.

Since he was imprisoned, Hanhardt has been diagnosed by a psychologist as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, according to the lawsuit.

In his early days on the force, when counseling wasn't available after a deadly incident, Hanhardt states in the affidavit that he regularly drank after work to "take the edge off."

Eventually, he mixed alcohol and prescription painkillers and then began seeing a psychiatrist, Hanhardt states.

A few years ago, Hanhardt said he learned on separate occasions from the FBI that certain members of the Chicago Police Department and organized crime wanted him killed. "The pressures, past and present, overwhelmed my cognitive and emotional faculties," Hanhardt's affidavit states. "In short, my internal defenses were breaking down. I was unable to make rational decisions as to my future."

Steinback also said Hanhardt has battled testicular cancer and congestive heart failure, prostate and chronic back problems and an arthritic knee and severe hearing loss, virtually immobilizing him and leaving him in severe pain.

Steinback asked Norgle to review a ruling he made that has kept prison officials from moving Hanhardt to a federal prison camp in Oxford, Wis., so he can be closer to his family. Hanhardt is incarcerated in Minnesota.

Thanks to Matt O'Connor

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cullotta

Friends of ours: Tony Spilotro, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, James Marcello
Friends of mine: Frank Cullotta, Michael Spilotro

Frank Cullotta first met Anthony Spilotro when they were rival shoeshine boys on Grand Avenue in Chicago.

Spilotro's introduction went something like this: "What the f--- are you lookin' at?"

The volatile pair nearly brawled that day, but they became friends after realizing Cullotta's gangster-father had helped Spilotro's dad out of a jam once. The boys also became associates in crime, beating up enemies, sticking up bank messengers and -- as Spilotro rose to power as the Chicago mob's Las Vegas overseer -- robbing and killing people.

Cullotta's life is the subject of a soon-to-be-released autobiography titled Cullotta, from Nevada's Huntington Press Publishing.

The book is slated to hit stores this summer, possibly during the Family Secrets trial. The case aims to solve a host of old mob hits, including the 1986 murders of Spilotro and his brother Michael.

By the time of the Spilotros' demise -- they allegedly were killed by reputed mob boss James Marcello and others -- Cullotta already had flipped for the government, entered witness protection and begun testifying against fellow hoodlums, including Spilotro.

Cullotta, a hit man and burglar who ran Spilotro's infamous "Hole in the Wall Gang," left the mob 25 years ago this May as the law was bearing down and his relationship with Spilotro deteriorated to the point that Cullotta feared getting whacked.

Now, Cullotta might be called by the government to testify in the Family Secrets trial, expected to get under way in May.

Cullotta's book -- co-written with former cop Dennis Griffin with help from Cullotta's former FBI handler, Dennis Arnoldy -- is light on many details but does offer some nuggets for mob buffs, saying:

• • Cullotta had a strong inclination that associate Sal Romano was a snitch, and didn't want him along on the 1981 heist of Bertha's furniture and jewelry store that led to the gang's capture. But Spilotro reportedly insisted, and Romano indeed was an informant. Then Spilotro didn't bail out Cullotta or help him much in his legal troubles, slights that further soured Cullotta on Spilotro.

• • Reputed mob leader Joey "The Clown" Lombardo allegedly settled a dispute between Cullotta and another alleged mobster by letting the man beat Cullotta with a brick. Lombardo allegedly handled the matter this way because he feared the retribution would be worse when mob boss Joseph Aiuppa returned from vacation. Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin, however, called the story "fantasy" and said it had been discredited at a long-ago court hearing.

• • Cullotta befriended members of the Blackstone Rangers while in jail, and Spilotro once considered enlisting the gang to kill Las Vegas cops in retaliation for an earlier police shooting, the book says. The scheme never materialized, but Cullotta says he was hired by the gang to blow up a South Side business so the owner could collect insurance.

• • When Cullotta was in prison and wanted a plum assignment, he reached out to then-Chicago cop William Hanhardt to intervene because they knew each other from the street and Hanhardt was friendly with the warden. Cullotta ended up getting the assignment, he said. Years later, Hanhardt was convicted of running a jewelry theft ring with alleged ties to the mob.

• • Cullotta's father, Joe, a now-dead robber and getaway driver, allegedly helped Spilotro's restaurateur-dad Patsy out of a "Black Hand" extortion scheme. The elder Cullotta "and his crew hid in the back room of the restaurant until the Black Handers came in for the payoff," according to the book. "Then they burst out and killed them. After that Patsy wasn't bothered anymore."

If the book gets across one point, it's that Cullotta, 68, is a survivor -- because of his cunning, and luck. At least 44 pals or cohorts were killed by the mob or police.

Today, he has a new identity and lives out "west." He owns a business that leaves him "well off," although the book doesn't go deeply into the present day. He also is a partner in a new Las Vegas tour group that -- what else -- visits old mob haunts. He'll be making cameo appearances on the tour bus, but they won't be announced in advance.

Thanks to Robert C. Herguth

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Joey's a load of laughs ... or buckshot

Friends of ours: Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, Frank "the German" Schweihs, Paul Schiro
Friends of mine: William Hanhardt, Chris Spina

It must be difficult to tell jokes while you're wearing leg irons and an orange federal jumpsuit, facing the possibility you could spend the rest of your life sharing prison space with some Colombian drug dealer, a blue tattoo covering half his face. But Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, 77, couldn't help but be amusing in federal court Tuesday after spending nine months as a fugitive from the FBI until his arrest late last week.

He pleaded not-guilty to a charge of conspiring in the 1974 shotgun murder of government witness Daniel Seifert. Then U.S. District Judge James Zagel asked Lombardo if a doctor had examined him. "I didn't see my doctor since nine months ago," said Lombardo. "I was--what do they call it? I was unavailable."

That got laughs. Even Zagel smiled. The criminal defense lawyers representing other Outfit figures in the federal government's Operation Family Secrets prosecution laughed too. One of them slapped Lombardo hard on the back.

Though he's pushing 80, Lombardo's runty and bandy legged in his jumpsuit, suggesting he had an active youth. His pantlegs are short, the cuffs rolled up several times, and he leaned on one foot, then the other, the leg irons connecting his ankles. And though he was joking and polite and cast as a colorful rogue, you could see something in him still.

You could see it in his back and in the way he folded his fingers together and held the hands up to his face while the judge was speaking, how he rubbed his lips with his thumbs, listening, eyes moving quickly in his head. Here's what you could see: You could still see the ape in the man.

We asked Jack O'Rourke, a former FBI agent, what was so scary about the Clown. Jack was polite but sounded as if he thought it was a silly question. What was so scary about Lombardo? "Well, he had absolute power and he could get you killed, that's basically it," O'Rourke said.

I've heard that sometimes, if Lombardo's really in a clowning mood, he'll take a photograph of himself and cut his own head off, then stick his photograph head onto another picture, perhaps some gorgeous supermodel in a calendar or an athlete on a poster. That's funny, isn't it? Or he'll point to a fish on the wall, some bass that got caught and mounted, and he'll say, "Hey, he wouldn't get caught if he didn't open his mouth." That's funny too.

One of my favorite Lombardo jokes took place after he had served time in prison for conspiring to bribe U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon (D-Nev.) and another conviction for plotting to skim $2 million from a Las Vegas casino. In 1992 he took an ad in the Tribune and other papers saying he wasn't a mobster anymore:"If anyone hears my name used in connection with criminal activity, please notify the FBI, local police, and my parole officer, Ron Kumke."

At that time, he was being driven around town on the taxpayer's dime by a $30 per hour city Streets and San foreman, Chris Spina. Chris, or Christy, had a trucking company, Spingee Trucking, and that firm received contracts in the mayor's Hired Truck program, and Spina's trucks may even have had engines. Former City Inspector General Alexander Vroustouris made all of this public in 1993 and tried to get Spina fired. But that's not the funny part.

The funny part is that after Vroustouris moved to fire him, and exposed the trucks and the Lombardo connection, the Illinois Appellate Court reinstated Spina and he got a raise, and Spina only recently retired with a full city pension. So Spina didn't get fired. It was Vroustouris who got fired later.

Then there was the time five years ago that I went looking for Lombardo at a nice little restaurant on Grand Avenue with my first legman, named Slim the Legman.

We were there to ask Lombardo about William Hanhardt, the former chief of detectives for the Chicago Police Department, who was just indicted and who would later plead guilty to running an Outfit-sanctioned jewelry theft ring.

One of Hanhardt's partners in the ring, Paul Schiro, has been indicted in the Operation Family Secrets case that has also indicted Lombardo, reputed hit man Frank "The German" Schweihs and others.

Lombardo was in the restaurant, and he had a gold St. Christopher medallion around his neck.

Sitting with Slim, I took out my notebook and tape recorder, to let Lombardo know I was coming over. He snapped his fingers and bus boys ran over to shovel his food into takeout containers. Then he left.

I asked the manger why Lombardo left so quickly. The manager said it wasn't Lombardo.

"No. That was Mr. Irwin Goldman. I think it was, yeah, Mr. Goldman," he said.

Irwin Goldman wearing a St. Christopher medallion? Are you kidding?

"You're funny," the manager said. "That's funny."

But I'm not the funny one. I keep hearing how Lombardo is funny. I'm sure he's a riot.

I'm just wondering how funny he'd be with a shotgun in his hands.

Thanks to John Kass

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wintry grave may be part of mob's legacy

Friends of ours: Frank "the German" Schweihs, Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio, William Hanhardt, Paul Schiro, Richard Cain, Sam "Momo" Gianacana

In a few days, U.S. marshals will drive the fugitive Chicago Outfit enforcer Frank "The German" Schweihs from Kentucky back to Chicago. Here, he will stand trial for two gangland murders that are part of the FBI's Family Secrets investigation of unsolved mob killings. But once in the Chicago area, on the way to the federal lockup, the marshals might think about taking a short detour to Elmwood Cemetery in suburban River Grove.

They should drive about a half-mile past the cemetery office and start looking for a giant Norwegian pine that throws shade on the gravestones in the afternoon. From the road, with that tree as a marker, it is only a few paces to Section 47-Lot 15-Grave 2.

After that long drive up from Kentucky, it might be good for Schweihs to stretch his legs a bit, to take a short walk on the snow and stand at the grave I have in mind, one of those graves in the shadow of the big pine tree. That's where Eugenia Pappas, also known as "Becca," is buried. She's been there a long time now. She wasn't a tough guy. She wasn't a jewel thief or an iceman, wasn't a burglar or extortionist. She wasn't a puppet master, giving politicians orders. She was young and beautiful, with big brown eyes, only 18 years old when she dated Schweihs, a bodyguard for mobster Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio.

Her father, Christopher, and her mother, Helen, didn't like it that one of Chicago's most fearsome and untouchable hoodlums had taken a fancy to their daughter. Christopher moved the family to Arizona, to start a new life, to give his daughter a chance away from Schweihs. Eventually, though, she returned to Chicago. A few weeks later, she stopped dating Schweihs. She stopped dating him about the time a bullet pierced her heart.

I spoke to Pappas family members, but they were too afraid to be quoted in this column and declined to be interviewed. I also spoke to a family friend who told me about Pappas on the condition her name was not used. I understand. Every so often, some writer announces that the Outfit is dead. But if it's so dead, why are people in Chicago still afraid?

"The whole family, they were so close, so loving," the family friend told me Tuesday. "When Becca was found, it was so horrible, devastating. It was like somebody scooped their insides out and left the shells. Her mother, Helen, was a strong woman, she was American, but she wore black from that day on. She died later, but she really died the day Becca was found."

Becca was last seen a week or so before Christmas of 1962. Her distraught father went to the newspapers for help in mid-January. An article in the Tribune, under the headline "Girl Sought" ran in the Jan. 12, 1963, editions. "Left behind in the apartment, Pappas said, were all her clothes, except those she was wearing," the story said.

On Feb. 9, a tugboat captain found her body floating in the Chicago River. She'd been in the water about two weeks. Authorities surmised she was killed while sitting in the passenger's seat of an automobile. She was buried on Feb. 15, 1963. "You've seen those wakes where people get emotional and loud," the family friend told me. "This wasn't like that. It was silent, completely silent. That was worse."

Schweihs was hauled in for questioning by a celebrated crime fighter, Richard Cain, the homicide chief of the Cook County sheriff's police. After much questioning and investigating--or simply the appearance of questioning and investigating--the case against Schweihs, if there ever was one, fizzled. He was let go and no charges regarding the Pappas murder were ever filed against him. Schweihs, the papers noted, had a long police record, but no convictions. That's not hard to figure, since he was usually being investigated by one of those celebrated crime fighters.

It's a Chicago thing. The relationship between mobsters and top local cops isn't new, and it isn't old. William Hanhardt, the former chief of detectives for the Chicago Police Department, was recently convicted of running the Outfit's interstate jewelry theft ring, using police information to set up the victims. One of Hanhardt's convicted accomplices in the jewel ring is Paul Schiro, an Outfit enforcer. Schiro and Schweihs have been charged by the feds with an Outfit killing in Arizona.

When the victim is another mobster, Chicago shrugs. But this victim was a girl, a civilian, whose family had no power. So the local law spit on her and the Outfit spit on her and the investigation was dropped.

I said that Richard Cain, the detective who cleared Schweihs of the Pappas killing, was a celebrated crime fighter. He was celebrated, sure, the way Hanhardt was celebrated, in gushing media accounts as some heroic tough guy, ready-made for Hollywood. Cain was a bodyguard for Outfit boss Sam "Momo" Giancana. On Dec. 20, 1973, Cain was in Rose's Sandwich Shop on the West Side when two men entered with shotguns. He took two blasts to the face. The second one was just to make sure.

Schweihs is an old man, now, at 75, and Cain is dead. And Eugenia Pappas' grave was silent in the shadow of that pine tree in the snow. "Elusive in life," reads the inscription on her gravestone. "Elusive in death."

Thanks to John Kass

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bridgeview officials subpoenaed in probe

Friends of mine: Fred Pascente
Friends of ours: William Hanhardt


The U.S. attorney's office has subpoenaed trustees and employees of the Village of Bridgeview as part of its investigation into whether coercive tactics were used to lure the Chicago Fire soccer team to town.

John LaFlamboy, who was the owner of the World Golf Dome, filed a lawsuit in August against Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek and other town officials saying they ran a conspiracy to strong-arm him into selling his 50 percent ownership interest in the dome to the city. The village used the dome successfully to lure the Fire to Bridgeview.

Subpoenas went out to village trustees and to "a handful" of employees, said attorney Chris Gair, who is representing them. Landek and other possible targets of the investigation apparently did not get subpoenas. Landek declined to comment.

LaFlamboy charges he refused all pressure from the village to sell his dome, even after he said the village sent inspectors and police out to give him bogus tickets, including one for providing pizza without a proper license, even though the pizza was for disabled children. He also faced nuisance lawsuits, he said.

In September 2003, LaFlamboy said Landek's $3,200-a-month consultant, Steve Reynolds, and former Chicago Police detective Fred Pascente showed up at LaFlamboy's office and used strong-arm tactics to pressure him into selling his ownership stake to Pascente for $175,000. LaFlamboy said it was worth about $1.5 million.

Pascente, a friend of convicted former Chicago Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt, has denied wrongdoing or having mob connections, even though he is banned from Nevada casinos for alleged mob ties. He is a convicted felon.

Trustee Norma J. Pinion said she was informed there was a letter on her desk waiting for her regarding the subpoena.

Thanks to Mark J. Konkol and Abdon M. Pallasch

Monday, December 23, 2002

Did feds kill off the mob?

Friends of ours: Fred Roti, Frank Maltese, Joe Ferriola, Sam Giancana, Bill Daddano, Tony Accardo, Vincent "Jimmy" Cozzo
Friends of mine: John D'Arco Sr., Pat Marcy, Betty Loren-Maltese, Robert Natale, John Serpico, Don Stephens, John Duff, Ed Hanley, William Hanhardt, James Vondruska, Bob Cooley

A mere decade ago, the Chicago Outfit's political wing still had an address: Room 2306 of the Bismarck Hotel, at Randolph and LaSalle, the 1st Ward offices of Committeeman John D'Arco Sr. and Ald. Fred Roti, a made member of the mob. Downstairs at Counsellors Row Restaurant, D'Arco and Roti held court with mob-friendly aldermen, judges and state legislators like John D'Arco Jr. The feds installed a hidden camera at Counsellors Row and wired lawyer Bob Cooley. They caught D'Arco and Roti discussing mob business such as rigging elections, bribing judges to fix cases and greasing zoning and license deals.

"Yes sir," the judges and aldermen--some still in office--told ward Secretary Pat Marcy, and rushed off to get him a liquor license or whatever he asked for.

Roti and D'Arco Sr. went to jail and have since died. Counsellors Row was torn down and the old 1st Ward mapped out of existence. Even the Bismarck has a new name: Hotel Allegro. At the same time, the feds took over some of the most mobbed-up unions to try to clean them.

So did the feds kill the mob? Are local pols right to call mob influence in Chicago "ancient history?" Have the mobsters gone straight and quit trying to cultivate friends in government? Mob-watchers and cops say, "No."

The mob has always wanted friendly judges on the bench for help on cases and cops on the force to keep some crimes unsolved. Controlling unions provides jobs for flunkies and money for pols. Friendships with legislators prevent bills cracking down on video poker, which some say nets $100 million a year for the mob.

Most of all, the mob wants friends in government for jobs and contracts. The mob doesn't offer health insurance--mob lackeys need day jobs for that. "It used to be you'd give him $200 a week to get the [illegal betting] books--now you get him a city job," a city worker said at a Northwest Side coffee shop as he looked around cautiously and sipped coffee on his 11 a.m. break. "There's a lot of power with jobs," said Terrance Norton, the Better Government Association executive director.

A slew of convictions this year shows the downsized mob has just diversified and moved west. And the video poker games stay in the bars.

Stone Park Mayor Robert Natale went to prison this year for taking mob bribes to allow illegal video poker gambling at mob-linked bars.

Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, widow of convicted mobster Frank Maltese, will be sentenced next month for an insurance scam that skimmed $4 million from employee policies. The firm behind the scam gave $21,000 to Gov. Ryan, state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) and others.

Union boss John Serpico--appointed and reappointed by Gov. Jim Thompson and Gov. Jim Edgar to head the state port authority even though Serpico testified in 1985 he regularly met with mob boss Joe Ferriola--was sentenced this year on a loan scheme. Serpico showered union money on pols.

Still, elected officials whose campaigns benefit most from the generosity of businesses the state Gaming Board or the Chicago Crime Commission call mob-tied say the mob is dead: "I don't think there's a mob around anyway to run anything," said state Rep. Ralph Capparelli (D-Chicago). "They're still talking about 1924 and 1930. I think you use the word 'mob' because some guy has an Italian name." Saviano and state Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago) have made similar statements.

If a mob-linked legitimate business does good work and offers the low bid, why shouldn't it get the contract, one west suburban mayor asked.

With no official address or go-to guy in local government, it's hard to know the mob's legislative agenda. Mob-watchers say a new casino in Rosemont, or better yet, downtown Chicago, tops the list, along with more video poker.

The state Gaming Board refused to allow a casino in Rosemont, finding mob-linked firms already working on the site. Former Crime Commission chief investigator Wayne Johnson blasted twice-indicted, never-convicted Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens for ties to men the commission says are associated with organized crime, such as Sam Giancana and Bill Daddano.

Stephens sued Johnson for libel but admitted the ties to Giancana and Daddano in court filings. Stephens' suit silenced Johnson, the most vocal mob-watcher in town. Johnson left the commission and has been advised by attorneys not to discuss Stephens' alleged mob ties.

Mayor Daley has not cut all ties to the mob-linked Duff family, which donated $8,875 to his campaigns and reaped $100 million in local government contracts. Patriarch John F. Duff Jr. was a character witness for mob boss Tony Accardo. "I just know them. That's all," Daley said. "I'm not personal friends with them. I know them. So what?" A federal grand jury subpoenaed records of Duff contracts with local governments.

Daley's main ally in pushing a downtown casino in the early '90s was Ed Hanley, who had to give up control of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers union amid a federal probe of mob ties.

William Hanhardt was convicted this year of running a jewelry theft ring that stole more than $5 million while Hanhardt climbed the ranks of the Chicago Police Department to deputy superintendent. Cooley warned officials more than a decade ago that Hanhardt was the mob's main plant on the force, getting mob lackeys hired and promoted.

Police Supt. Matt Rodriguez quit five years ago after admitting a close friendship with a mob-linked felon questioned in an oil executive's murder.

Chicago police have watched as powerful ward committeemen still in office today huddled with mob higher-ups such as Vincent "Jimmy" Cozzo.

"What does the mob want from government? No. 1, money, and No. 2, power," Cooley said. "Nobody could ever get a city job or a promotion without the approval of the 1st Ward. They had all the jobs in McCormick Place, all the city jobs, police, sheriff's, state's attorney."

Mobbed-up unions provide an entree for mob types to get jobs in departments like Transportation and Streets and Sanitation that hire union members. A raid at Streets and Sanitation found 37 employees AWOL, including Chucky Miller, who was robbing a Wisconsin jewelry store of $250,000 on city time.

Transportation Department 'worker' James Vondruska, whom the commission calls a mob associate, pleaded guilty this year to playing the horses on city time. WBBM-TV reporter Pam Zekman taped him and other mob-linked workers playing hooky.

Mob-watchers say the mob wants to unionize workers at any new casino that opens in Rosemont or Chicago to work their way into the operation there. "John Serpico was out there with John Matassa 'cause they were going to unionize all the workers at the casino," one mob-watcher said.

The feds have taken over one union after another, from the Teamsters to the Laborers and Hotel and Restaurant Workers' locals, to try to purge them. Serpico was kicked out of the Laborers Union, then committed his loan fraud at Central States.

"The attraction of a union to a mob organization is the union's pension fund investments and medical plans, which are supposed to go to benefit union rank and file, most of whom could never enter the same restaurants ... as Hanley and his syndicate friends," said Combined Counties Police Association President John Flood. "And the main attraction of a union like that controlled by Hanley to the politicians also is the ability to dish out cash contributions."

Thanks to ABDON M. PALLASCH

Friday, February 08, 2002

Jewel Heist Fugitive "Cherry Nose" Brown is Captured by the @FBI

A 76-year-old fugitive accused of belonging to a $5 million jewel theft ring masterminded by Chicago's former chief of detectives was arrested in the suburbs outside Washington.

William "Cherry Nose" Brown was picked up by agents from the FBI's Washington field office in Woodbridge, Va., the FBI said in a statement. It said that the arrest was without incident.

Prosecutors say Brown was part of a ring of thieves led by former chief of detectives William Hanhardt that stole $5 million in gems, jewelry and watches in eight states over a decade. Hanhardt, a tough, crime-busting cop in his heyday who later became a technical adviser to Michael Mann's 1980s television series "Crime Story," was indicted in October 2000 along with five other men.

All but Brown have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Brown, who formerly lived in Gilbert, Ariz., has been a fugitive until now. Details of what he was doing in suburban Washington and how the FBI discovered his presence there were not immediately available.

The charge against Brown is not as extensive as those against other members of the ring. But he is charged with conspiring with Hanhardt and the others to transport stolen luxury watches in interstate commerce.

Prosecutors say that on Oct. 2, 1996, Brown was among ring members who trailed jewelry salesman Paul Lachterman from suburban Chicago to a Chesterton, Ind., restaurant. There, Brown allegedly served as a lookout while others opened Lachterman's trunk and removed a box of watches.

Ring members knew Lachterman sometimes traveled with as much as $500,000 worth of watches. On Oct. 4, 1984, $300,000 worth of watches had been stolen from the trunk of his car in suburban Milwaukee.

In the 1996 incident, though, the watches in the trunk had been planted there as bait by FBI agents who were already watching the gang.

The thieves drove the box a short distance, checked the weight and immediately returned it to Lachterman's trunk. Prosecutors say the light weight may have suggested the contents were not worth stealing.

Friday, October 26, 2001

Hanhardt Admits Masterminding Jewel Theft Ring

Wearing the bright orange jumpsuit of a federal prisoner, the Chicago Police Department's former chief of detectives pleaded guilty Thursday to masterminding $5 million in jewelry thefts.

William Hanhardt, 72, admitted to capping a 33-year career as one of the city's boldest crime-busting detectives by leading a band of thieves who pulled eight heists in seven states over more than a decade. Hanhardt agreed to pay $4,845,000 in restitution for stolen jewelry, gems and watches and faces as much as a dozen years in prison.

"It's remarkable that a person who was chief of detectives of the Chicago Police Department admits to being part of a racketeering conspiracy," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said afterward. "There's no controversy over whether Mr. Hanhardt is guilty -- he stood up in court and said that today," Fitzgerald said.

Hanhardt, who took an overdose of pills in what doctors called a suicide attempt only a week ago, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in racketeering and conspiracy to transport stolen jewels over state lines. While he pleaded guilty to the charges in the indictment, he made a point of saying he disagreed with some of the additional details of the case as outlined in court by federal prosecutor John Scully.

Which side federal U.S. District Charles R. Norgle Sr. ends up believing could have an effect on exactly how much time behind bars Hanhardt gets. Norgle set the sentencing for Jan. 31 and both sides said they might call witnesses.

Among other things, Scully told Norgle that two "active" Chicago police officers, one a detective, had provided information that was helpful to Hanhardt and his henchmen. Asked after the hearing about the term active, federal prosecutor John Podliska said it meant "active at the time." He declined to comment on whether the officers remain active on the force. Fitzgerald said all the information the police should have has been provided.

Prosecutors had said previously that Hanhardt, although retired from the force, had been able to make use of police computers to get information about such matters as car rentals by jewelry salesmen. Many of the thefts were from automobiles parked by unsuspecting salesmen.

Hanhardt was among six men indicted on the charges in October 2000 as the government surfaced its long simmering investigation of the once powerful police official. Four others also have pleaded guilty and a fifth defendant, William "Cherry Nose" Brown, has never been captured.

Federal law sets a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of at least $500,000 for Hanhardt's two offenses. But under sentencing guidelines, he is likely to get somewhere around 12 years.

Law enforcement officials say the first of the heists took place in Wisconsin in 1984, two years before Hanhardt retired from the force. "It's our evidence that for decades Bill Hanhardt has been a corrupt policeman," said Gary Shapiro, former chief of the federal organized crime strike force and now first assistant U.S. attorney.

The plea comes a week after Hanhardt was rushed to a hospital from his suburban home where he was found unconscious. Doctors determined that he had taken an overdose of a powerful pain killer in a suicide attempt. He was arrested and placed in the psychiatric unit at Bethany Hospital in Chicago. Since then, he has been moved to the government's Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Federal prosecutors say that the heists masterminded by Hanhardt took place in Arizona, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. While the gang actually got more than $5 million worth of goods, they had targeted more than 100 jewelry salesmen and $40 million in jewelry, gems and watches, according to federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors said the gang's operations were among the most sophisticated they have ever encountered, with smoke grenades, fake beards and mustaches, listening devices and other high-tech paraphernalia. "William A. Hanhardt directed one of the country's most successful and long-lasting organized-crime schemes," Scully told the judge.

Thursday, October 19, 2000

On This Day.....

On October 19, 2000, William Hanhardt, retired Chief of Detectives for the Chicago Police Department, was indicted along with five others, accused of masterminding a nationwide jewel theft ring. Hanhardt and his co-defendants eventually pled guilty to the charges. Hanhardt was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

When You Get Serious About Tailgating


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