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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Newsie

Today's victim, Louis DeMaria, whose body was found on this date in 1932, was considered by police to be a small time racketeer. That may have been true but he also may have some how been involved with Vincent Coll or his murder five days before.

DeMaria had been shot three times and his body dumped on a road, where it was spotted by a bus driver. Oddly, earlier that day the car used for the murder was found just a hundred feet away, wrecked, with bloodstains and a pistol missing three shots. Apparently the killers tossed DeMaria's corpse out of the car and then crashed moments later. No one inspecting the car however, found the dead man.

How does Coll fit in? Glad you asked. DeMaria's body was found amidst a number of newspaper clippings pertaining to the Coll murder. Police were unable to place the dead man in either Coll's or Dutch Schultz's gangs so were unable to say with any certainty whether his death was a result of the murder. Perhaps he was some how involved either as a spotter or as the mystery man who entered the London Chemist drug store with the "Mad Dog" only to walk out moments later when Coll's killer entered. If in fact DeMaria was involved with Coll then there are three motives for his murder.

One, he was a Coll guy who simply liked to carry around news clippings of his boss and was a natural target as all Coll guys were.
Two, if DeMaria was the mystery man who walked out of the drug store, then the remaining members of the Coll mob figured out that he was the double crosser who set up their leader and meted out their own justice.
Three, if the news clippings were DeMaria's, chances are he was talking about it to anyone who would listen as well, perhaps bragging in his neighborhood to show that he was more than the petty racketeer the police considered him. If the killers of Coll did use him in some capacity they probably decided that his loose tongue was liability and rubbed him out.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Couple buys it in the Bronx

Carmine Barelli and May Smith had been a couple for about two years. Barelli was a safecracker and gambler and Smith was a hostess at the Dreamland Dance Academy on 125th Street. February 12, 1930 found the couple returning from somewhere and parking their car in the garage at 1416 Inwood Avenue, the Bronx. The couple was exiting the garage when a large sedan pulled up to the curb. The duo must have recognized the men in the car because the attendant on duty said that Barelli and May took off running in opposite directions with panic stricken faces. Four men jumped out of the sedan and two began to chase Smith and two went after Barelli. Smith only managed to run a few yards before tripping and falling down. The gunmen approached her and shot her in the back of the neck and between the shoulder blades. Meanwhile the two men who were chasing Barelli caught up with him on a ramp in the garage and fired five shots at him hitting him in both the chin and the chest, killing him instantly. After the killers got away Miss Smith was placed in a cab and died en-route to the hospital. Vincent Coll was picked up as one of the killers but nothing ever came of it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

No dumping

With a bullet in the head, the dead body of Joe Galas was carelessly tossed in the street on this date back in 1928. Leave it to gangsters to ignore all those "Do Not Litter" signs all over New York. Police said that Joe was the victim of a bootleggers feud. Police said a lot of things that weren't necessarily true but we will take their word for it in Joe's case

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Black Hand red blood

At 11:20pm 109-years ago today thirty-five year old Felipo Randazzo locked the door to his butcher shop, located at 177 Christie Street, and turned to begin his walk home. After a couple of steps a large caliber bullet fired from a powerful rifle plowed through his heart, went out his back, passed through the shop door and hit a column inside before coming to a rest on the floor.

At first it was thought that he was an innocent victim of the Black Hand until a search of his shop turned up a dynamite cartridge of the type used in some recent Black Hand explosions.
The NYPD's famous Mafia fight cop Lt. Petrosino put his entire sixteen man Italian Squad on the case and soon learned that Randazzo was indeed a member of the Black Hand. He had come over from Palermo three years previously and worked as a plasterer before hooking up with a nefarious band of extortionist. With his profits he was able to open his butcher shop three months before being shot down.

During the investigation the Italian Squad learned through one of Randazzo's friends that the dead man had had a falling out with some of the members of his gang and he [Randazzo] intended to supply the police with information that would have resulted in their arrests but his confederates were faster and took care of him first.

Monday, February 8, 2016

If they only had cell phones back then

It was 84-years ago today, a mere week after the bloodbath in the Bronx where some of his gang was decimated [see Feb. 1], that New York City rid itself of Vince "the Mick" Coll, or "Irish" as his contemporaries also called him (It was the press that dubbed him Mad Dog.) after he and an associate entered a drug store on Manhattan's W. 23rd Street.

The victim of a double cross, Irish entered a phone booth to make a prearranged call to underworld powerhouse Owney Madden while his pal took a seat at the counter. While the Mad Dog and Owney were conversing, a car containing a hit squad pulled up front. Gunmen hopped out and covered the store's front door. Coll's pal was allowed to leave as a machine-gun toting hoodlum made his way back to the phone booths. Finding the booth containing Coll the gunman lined himself up and blasted the Mick into gangster history.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sunday Night is Alright for Fighting

Ninety-five years ago tonight, a Sunday it was, a large group of guys and dolls were lining the stairwell of a lower eastside building waiting to get into a night club on the third floor. As the band was getting ready to play a couple of shots rang out and the throng of people ran out into the streets. One man, Michael Dimesci, ran across the street and dropped dead with a bullet in the heart.
Frankie Uale
The police sent officers to all the hospitals in the area to see if anyone else showed up. Within the hour Brooklyn mobster Frankie Uale stumbled into one with a bullet wound to the lung. Uale said he just happened to be walking by the club when the shooting took place and had no idea what it was about. Police later asserted that they believe the Brooklyn Mafioso was the intended target and that Dimesci may have been an innocent bystander.