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Monday, July 21, 2014

Choose your friends wisely

Eighty four years ago today marks the exit of one Peter "Ash Can Pete" Inserio from the Chicago underworld. Now before you go making assumptions about Pete's hygiene please know that he was known as Ash Can Pete because he was proprietor of the Ash Can club. Now if you would like to make assumptions about a drinking hole called the Ash Can, go ahead. Others possibly did because Pete changed the name to the Idle Hour club by this date in 1930.

So here we have Ash Can Pete, (Perhaps if he lived longer he would have become Idle Hour Pete, we'll never know) Sitting outside his club when somebody(ies) came up and fired six bullets into him. Police arrived and Pete was still kicking. They took him to the hospital and along the way asked who it was who shot him. "I don't know," said Pete, "but they did a good job." and so they did, Pete died a short time later.

When asked for a motive the police stated that Pete had recently aligned himself with the Moran-Aiello gang. They, by the way, were Al Capone's top enemies. If true, not a good move on Pete's part.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Goodbye Larry

At 2:00am on this date back in 1931 Cincinnati gangster Larry Coates had just left a camp on the outskirts of town. In the car with him was his father. They met outside of town because Larry was persona non grata in Cinncy. Why? Well for a number of reasons but mainly because a gun  found in his possession after an arrest in Florida was found by ballistic experts to have fired the bullets that killed another Southern Ohio gangster by the name of Jew John Marcus earlier that year. Coates beat it from Florida.

After the campground rendesvous, Coates was giving the old man a ride home in his high dollar sedan complete with bullet proof windows. However, if bullet proof windows are to be effective they must be rolled up. Being that this was a warm July night, Larry had his window down.

As they approached the city limits another car pulled up alongside them. Larry looked over and didn't care for what he saw and hit the gas. The other car did like wise and caught up. A shotgun, and possibly other guns, went off and Larry slumped over the wheel with shot in the back of his head, neck and shoulder. The elder Coates grabbed the wheel and managed to steer the car into an embankment.

Coates was rushed to the hospital After the crash senior Coates stood around waiting for help. After some time a cab pulled over saw the dying gangster and took off. Once back in town he called the cops who sent an ambulance. Coates was taken to the hospital where he lingered until shedding his mortal coil on July 28.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Live by the gun, die know the rest.

On the evening of this date back in nineteen hundred and twenty-nine Philadelpia gangster Richard "Patsy" Morella was loitering in front of a store on Girard Avenue just east of Broad Street whence from the middle of Girard one gunman, said to be Sam Cohen, pulled out a pistol and began firing.

For some reason Patsy thought the shots were coming from inside the store he was standing in front of and turned and began to fire blindly into the shop. Using Patsy's confusion to his advantage, Cohen ran up and knock him to the ground with a blow to the head. Once Patsy was down, Cohen put his gun to the prone man's head and fired. Then he took off.

Cohen was arrested the following the day. Police say that Patsy was rubbed because he killed this guy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

We only kill each other - Occasionally at the same time

It was a good old fashion duel in Chicago's 19th ward  back in the USA, back in the bad old days.
It happened like this friends, In the heat of a summer night, in the land of the dollar bill...wait, that's a different Chicago story.

Those shooting it up cowboy style on this date in 1925 were James Vinci and Joseph "Machine gun Joe" Grannada. Chicagoans were already familiar with Vinci. He drove the car of shooters who murdered labor racketeer Mossy Enright in 1920. As for Grannada, well, his moniker says it all. Both men were in a saloon when a fight broke out between them and they took to the streets to let their guns finish the argument.

What was the fight over? I think it went something like this:
"My good man, surely you'll agree that Mack Sennett is the king of comedy."
"You're daft Sir, the king is surely Hal Roach."
"Mack Sennet!"
"Hal Roach!"
"To the street sir, I demand satisfaction."
"After you, sir."

The DGIS Institute is open to other possibilities if you care to share.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Unholy Toledo*

Today in 1931 the body of "Cleveland Beer Baron" Al Jaffee, (not to be confused with Mad Magazine artist Al Jaffee) was found on a lonely Toledo road just south of the Michigan border. He wasn't by himself either. the fellers who bound, gagged and fired a couple of .45 bullets into his head figured they should send him off with a companion and so did the same to his body guard Harry "The Carpenter" Gertzlin.

A couple reasons offered for the offing were that they were trying to muscle in on the Toledo alcohol scene and that they were there to settle a situation regarding the hijacking of one of their liquor trucks. If it was the latter then I doubt they were satisfied with resolution.

*Didn't come up with that one ourselves, it's a title of book about Toledo gangsters.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gas, Guns & Gus

Gus Buselaki owned a filling station in downtown St. Louis back when you didn't have to pump your own gas. You just sat back while some guy in an appropriate outfit filled your tank, washed your windshield and probably even thanked you for coming in.

Yes, Gus was a proprietor of just such a place. Gus was some other things too. Gus was also an organizer for the "Service Car Drivers Association". Gangster was also listed as one of Gus's occupations.

So there Gus was standing about his station just after midnight back on this date in 1931 when a sedan drove by and either two machine-guns with 25 round drums or one gun with a 50 round drum opened fire from a window spraying Gus's establishment as well as Gus himself with upwards of fifty bullets.

Nine other people were about and two woman were slightly wounded. As for Gus, a good percentage of the fifty bullets came to rest in him.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Since Chicago has been so bountiful with dgis we shall remain here another day and remember one Edgar "Spiker" Smith who went the way of all gangster flesh on this date back in 1931.

Yes friends it was eighty-three years ago this evening that a citizen of Chicago's south side went to the coppers and reported that he saw, right in front of his own house mind you,  a man get shot in a sedan. Later that night said car was found with "Spiker" (not to be confused with Edward "Spike" O'Donnell, another Chicago hoodlum and survivor of numerous assassination attempts) slumped over in the front passenger side.

Spiker was called both a Capone hoodlum as well as the body guard of Danny Stanton. Regarding the latter, both he and Spiker were wanted in Waukesha, Wisconsin for the murder of prominent Chicago hoodlum Jack Zuta who got a fatal dose of lead while hiding out there in a resort. Together with Danny, Spiker was fighting extradition to Wisconsin to stand trial.

Police said that Spiker was bumped off because of a south side beer war or possibly for retaliation for killing a film projectionist in a labor feud. Being sentimentalists we here at the institute like to think he got it from his "friends". Maybe he was getting nervous about the Zuta business and they thought it would be better if he went on a one way vacation.