CHRONICLE OF AN ERA
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Nov. 30, 1933, Dec. 1-2, 1933
Demon Rum in 1919 Could Have Forseen Aftermath
Editor's Note: An age is ending this coming week - the age of prohibition, voted out of existence by thundering acclamation in elections throughout the country. To some it seemed a sorry age, in others simply an age of promise that was not fulfilled. In any event, it was an age, a distinct era in the history of the country and at Pittsburgh, with new customs, new ways of thinking - even a new type of government, in the sinister "super-government" of racketeers that developed. From the first day of prohibition, through the long, colorful years it lasted, it left its mark on Pittsburgh - and the principal events of those years are detailed herein in the first of a series of three articles that will tell of the rise and fall of the dry law in Pittsburgh.
Eat, drink and be merry, lads - for next week you can only get it legal.
Gone, gone forever, after next Tuesday will be the days you will recall to the grand-children as the good old times - the days when a free American citizen would walk right up to a peephole, tell Sam that Joe sent him, and get a drink, unhampered by the meddling fingers of the government.
Tick, tock, sounds the clock that grinds away the minutes left to the life of good old Prohibition - relentlessly it ticks, until Tuesday afternoon, if the fates are agreeable, you'll be drinking on Government time again.
The Golden Age of Graft, the Halycon Days of Snoopery, the Era of the White Mule and the Third Rail, the Decline and Fall of The Rum Ring Empire - all that brash and noisy succession of years will be over in Pittsburgh, as in every other city of the country, when the last repeal convention meets next week and, to the utter surprise of its delegates, votes to grab old Demon Rum and put some clean clothes on him again and get him a shave.
Gone Are The Days.
No longer will a hard-working laborer be able to sit down at night in the cool repose of a speakeasy and have his whisky straight, and drop a nickel or two into the slot machine to hear it drop. If the governor has his way, your hard-working laborer will have to take a pint and carry the confounded thing home with him. As for the slot machine, even if bars were revived, they'd have to be open to the street.
Indeed, indeed, the good old days are gone. There'll be no more funny news stories about politicians declaring for strict enforcement, about staunch dry advocates glorying in the success of prohibition, about 16 or 17 high officials being indicted and one speakeasy bartender finally being sent to jail. It's all over now. You can only get it legal.
They were great days while they lasted in Pittsburgh, those days of prohibition. Thousands made fortunes in drinking material that would have burned the stomach out of the Sphinx. Millions who might never otherwise have known the delights of a good straight shot of alky - - 190 proof found out that with a little water one can get almost anything past his nose.
The Dawn of Deceit.
Prohibition agents came and went in a milling throng - the first eager and hungry batch taking theirs from the distillery-withdrawal business, the next from the beer runners, another crowd from the speakeasy and the still-operator - each in his turn, according to the changes of the Moon.
Acute alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver became popular ailments at the county morgue. Night clubs boomed and flourished, lighted automatically by guests who were lighted up like torches. Black-and-tan joints rose in the Hill district to make the night hideous with strictly colored syncopation imported from Forty-second street. Racket murders became an epidemic. Reformers came and went and were forgotten.
No one walked through downtown Pittsburgh the night of June 30, back in 1919, when the wartime prohibition law took what has since been laughingly described as effect, would have had the boldness to predict the changes that those 15 years would bring.
They Couldn't Believe It.
Prohibition that night was in the same sad situation as the duck-billed platypus in the zoo - nobody would believe it. To saloonkeepers and liquor wholesalers the bright and certain hope still shone that President Wilson would shortly drop the war-time act, as least for a couple of months after demobilization of the troops, as the act provided. Then would come the Eighteenth Amendment, and no one thought that could last longer than it took the next Congress to change it. The man in the street knew it wouldn't last, because what are pretzels without beer, and who ever heard of such a thing?
Besides, there were other things to argue about, too. Dempsey was to fight Willard at Toledo four days away. How would the big guy stand up with his new fellow? The Bolsheviks had just stormed Bologna in Italy, and the big bond issue election to authorize the $6,000,000 for Pittsburgh's well-known subway was in the offing.
What To Do Now.
The actual day of prohibition's advent had crept up on everybody and more or less taken them by surprise. All but the saloonkeepers, or course. For a few days before July 1 there was lots of kidding about it.
"What are you going to do after July the first?" was the greeting a bartender was as sure to get as most of us are to get "Is it hot enough for you?" And the bartender's answer, given with a lift of the eyebrows, was always:
"Well - what are you going to do?"
Saloons had been selling out their slowest-moving stock for weeks. Anxious customers, looking ahead to the drought, would buy up bottles of stuff they had never seen before, sure that there would be a shortage. Many a man who didn't know "sloe gin" or crème-de-menthe from a bowl of goldfish bought one fancy looking bottle after another from a bartender who had only a vague idea of what they were himself. He had seldom sold them.
Cautious bartenders, convinced that prohibition would last, had been busy getting jobs as street car motormen, as drivers and in a hundred other occupations in which they had worked before they donned the white apron. There were little tragedies, too - little jobs gone that meant much to those who had had them - like the old fellows who picked up a few extra dollars at Christmastime painting those gorgeous, florid landscapes and "Merry Christmas" greetings on the mirrors behind the bars. There'd be no more of that to do. But among the public generally, prohibition came almost as if it had not been announced in advance.
The streets were thronged that night of June 30, of course. There was going to be a drought, sure enough, and nobody was going to be caught without his water-canteens. Down in Diamond square the crowds milled thicker than anywhere else in town. Baskets were on the arms of hundreds standing in line waiting to squeeze in to the bars and get their supplies. Some came back time after time for new loads. Many borrowed money to make sure of an adequate supply.
Prices Went Climbing.
All day long the price of wet goods had been climbing. Saloonkeepers were at least determined to stick to the letter of the law. They were selling out, but not at a lost. Gin jumped $1 a quart between morning and mid-afternoon. Good whisky that sold in the morning for $36 a case of 12 quarts was going fast at $40 a case at 3 o'clock.
A. L. Caprini Company had the sidewalk in front of its establishment in Diamond square stacked 12 feet high with cases of whisky throughout the day. Twelve thousand quarts passed off that huge pile into the baskets of eager buyers.
For some reason, the idea got about that people who quit drinking whisky were going to start eating ice-cream. Vanilla suddenly jumped from $1.20 a gallon wholesale to $1.40. You remember that ice-cream idea, don't you?
The crowds were huge throughout the downtown, where, behind the long brass-resplendent bars, even the porters were pressed into service to hand the bottles out by dozens to customers who went through single file. Very few of the throngs were drunk, or even drinking. They had heard there would be a big rush for refreshments the night liquor went out, and they were there to see it. Everyone was so busy hunting the expected riot of drunkenness, that few got anything under their belts.
Funeral for Old John.
By midnight, the excitement had died away. There were few mourners to lament John Barleycorn in the streets. It was hardly necessary to pronounce his funeral oration anyhow. The "drys" had already attended to that.
Out at a Frankstown avenue club, the membership did find another was to mourn John's passing the night he passed out. They gathered before his coffin in a mock funeral service, with receptacles to catch their tears - which, strangely enough, were empty when they finished.
So the night passed away and the first day of the new era dawned the morning of July 1, when the country "went dry."
Agents on the Snoop.
In Diamond Square, Fifth avenue, all through the downtown, the bars looked empty and deserted. Only 2.75 beer was being served and that was threatened with a Federal "verboten." One saloonkeeper was already under arrest on the Northside. Revenue agents were on the snoop. There was a feeling of uncertainty about - an uneasy premonition that perhaps this really was prohibition after all.
In contrast to the night before, Diamond Square was depopulated. The hoary old facades of Dimling Brothers, Kramer's Harry Dach's - the workingman's favorite saloon - looked down for the first time on the streets of a "dry" country. There was no crowd to drink Hammel's 2.75 beer in the Jenkins Arcade. The 100-foot bar in Newell's famous hostelry on Fifth avenue soon to become, of all things, a movie theater looked 10 miles long in its emptiness.
"No intoxicating liquors allowed to be drank on these premises," read a sign in a Liberty avenue saloon. The saloonkeepers, most of them, were determined to show that they were law-abiding, no matter what the reformers called them.
Strange Concoctions Appear.
The first morning of prohibition, bottles bearing names never seen before on hand or sea made their appearance - the "non-alcoholic" substitutes that were supposed to give a confirmed drinker the joy without the kick.
"Pep," "Lotus," "Excelso," "Jo-La," "Bevo," Piels "Kovar," these and many more appeared boldly masquerading as beer.
"What's that?" asked a melancholy customer in a Liberty avenue hotel, pointing to what looked like a bottle of mud solution as a news story of that day had it.
"That," answered Morris Jaffe, "why, that's good six-year-old Lotus."
"Yeah?" agreed him who hungered and thirsted. "Well, I don't know no more than I did before."
[several paragraphs unreadable]
But up in the Hill district and abroad in the great ____ were no decisions about "Nardini Cocktails". The boys were wise to them already - well, anyhow, wise. [partially unreadable]
Volstead Makes Page One.
On the same day a man named Volstead which was then a family name, [unreadable]
A colored man in Washington, Pa. had just gone blind from denatured alcohol. But the price of pigs had jumped 300 per cent and the kaiser's trial was holding a prominent place in the news, and one ____ of suits had just been found by Newark's police, so no one noticed some little item that fueled a nation-wide epidemic of government-sponsored death. [unreadable]
Neither Inefficiency Nor Ignorance Can Be Blamed For Failure To 'Dry-Up' Pittsburgh Area.
Editor's Note: With prohibition repeal only five days away, much has been written to date of the colorful pre-prohibition era., while little attention has been devoted to the dry hears between 1919 and 1933, a period as colorful in its own way as any in the city's history. Here, in the second article of a series telling of the attempts to enforce prohibition in Pittsburgh, is the story of the first noisy years of the dry age here.
Looking back at the desert trail stretching from 1919 to 1933 and the whitening of bones of prohibition crusaders scattered thereon, it seems little less than remarkable that the dry law did not get itself enforced better in Pittsburgh than it did, right from the start.
For the Federal dry-up wizards who were in charge of local enforcement were honorable men and efficient and determined to clean up the town from the moment of their arrival. They said so, themselves.
Nor were they ignorant of what was going on and where. They made it clear that they knew where the wildcat distilleries were and the speakeasies were, and there seemed little reason to doubt their work, especially in the early years of the Nobel Experiment, when one could hardly turn around in such joints without falling over one of their agents.
No, it was neither inefficiency nor ignorance. It must have been something else.
At any rate, by the time July of 1920 arrived, a year after wartime prohibition went into effect and a little less than a year after Jail Warden Lewis had uttered his happy prophecy about the dry law emptying the jails, prohibition was going full blast.
"Wettest Spot in U.S."
Already Western Pennsylvania was officially recognized in Washington as the "wettest spot in the United States." Already the Night Club era was begun. In Sixth street had sprung into existence a Great White Way, where saloons and speakeasies and cabarets let loose a flood of booze and beer that made the town forget there was a dry law.
The town was soaking, wringing wet. Booze barons already were raiding in flashy cars and being pointed out as local celebrities, the drys were crying out against the wide-open aspect of the city.
National prohibition had slipped unobtrusively on Jan. 17, 1920, killing all the hopes of the liquor dealers that it was just a joke. By July, the anniversary of the war-time act, the Federal courts were swamped with liquor cases, and already were drawing their share of criticism for the light penalties imposed on bootleggers. One newspaper ran a daily "bargain day" story, showing the sort of fines being dished out in the courts. The Government, nevertheless, had collected $100,000 in fines in local courts and had confiscated $1,500,000 worth of liquor - a tribute, indeed, to the persistence of the numerous gentlemen turning a dishonest dollar her and there in the new booze trade - and also an indication of the profits they were taking.
Whisky at $16 a Quart.
Good whisky was selling at $16 a quart of $150 a case. For all the dire statements of the drys, such whisky really was good. It had not yet become necessary to make "third-fail," except for those who couldn't afford the better stuff. Most of the business in the first two years was in the sale of liquor that either was held by ex-saloonkeepers and wholesalers in their private cellars or withdrawn from distilleries on crooked Government permits.
And if $16 a quart sounds big to you, remember that at the same time, City Supplies Director James F. Malone was offering to the public surplus sugar purchased for the city institutions at 26 cents a pound in 100-pound bags - and selling every bit of it. Prices were prices in those days. Even milk was 15 cents a quart - so what of whisky?
J. W. Connors was the first prohibition agent in charge of enforcement in the Pittsburgh district. He could point with pride to the fact that there were only 50 per cent as many in the jail and workhouse as in the year before the war-time prohibition - but the pointing with p ride just about ended there, despite the rash prediction he made on July 1, 1920, that "before another anniversary of the prohibition laws is observed, Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania will take on the semblance of a Sahara, and the whisky dealer will gradually become extinct."
Night Life Moves.
By the latter part of 1921 the city's night life had shifted from Diamond Square to Sixth street. There were still many places operating in the Diamond, of course, but Sixth street was the street of the new era.
Night club followed night club in that street, one would die away under the heavy hand of the prohibition agents and a new one would take its place by the simple process of changing the name. There were the "White Cat" and the Devil's Cave," which also was known for a time as the "Black Cat." There were hotels, and second and third-floor speakeasies galore, not to mention the barrooms that still flourished without a thing missing but the swinging doors. Whisky was 50 cents a shot in the bars. There was never any lack of it under the tables of the cabarets, where blaring bands, shrieking out the newly-popular jazz tunes, filled the streets with the roar of life, and kept close-packed crowds dancing till dawn.
Up Penn avenue, at Twelfth street, was another center of the new-found night life - the Penn-Italian Restaurant, where the first booze murders of the prohibition era occurred. There was a fight between rival liquor runners there one morning, one man, at a table and not involved, was killed, and the place was promptly closed. Police had not yet grown indifferent to booze killings. There were other places too numerous to mention.
Good Times, Big Money.
Those first months were a riot of good times and big money for the men who ran the illicit business in the Downtown. One saloon proprietor in the Sixth street region, paying his monthly $100 fine in Federal court, told newspapermen it was "just the same as paying for a license."
There were the prohibition agents to worry about, or course. It was a happy custom with those of them who were "on the take" - and nobody could say certainly how many weren't - to rush in on the cabarets on a big night, such as New Year's Eve, after one of their number stationed at the door had fanned the hip pockets of customers going in earlier in the evening. If the proprietor knew what was good for him he handed out a little token of his esteem, and the raiders left.
In the Hill district there sprang up a "Little Harlem," after the "Little Paris Café" had proved that idea a success. These black-an-tan dugouts became another night-life district and another free outlet for booze. The Little Paris originally was strictly a colored place. It was in a cellar, with booths lining the walls, a big dance floor, and lusty voiced entertainers who would stand before the booths in the dim red and blue lights and sing for tips. It was "discovered" by white folks and became one of the places to go. Dozens of others opened up to imitate it. Most of them were dives. All of them sold liquor openly.
Booze Plentiful, Deaths Mount.
As the first hectic years of prohibition fled, the "Little Harlem" district passed away. As the white trade crowded out the colored, the "Little Paris," too, degenerated into a den, and finally was closed by police, more as a common nuisance than as a booze resort.
All through the county, conditions rivaled those of Pittsburgh. There was no town or township so small or sparsely settled that booze could not be bought in any quantity desired.
Deaths from alcoholism already were on the increase. By 1923, the morgue records show they had jumped from the 1819-19 average of 25 a year, to 78, and they kept mounting steadily, reaching their high in 1927, when there were 137 deaths from that cause, not counting cirrhosis of the liver and other related ailments. From 1927, the toll began to drop, as bootleggers learned their business and the quality of illicit booze began to get better.
Prohibition Agent Connors apparently could not cope with the situation, and it did not even improve notably under the administration of his successor, John English, the idol of the "drys." It was apparent that a shakeup was coming for the Pittsburgh district, and on October 19, it came.
John Exnicios Arrives.
On that day, one enthusiastic newspaper hailed the arrival of John Exnicios, "the terror of the Pacific coast." In a story, it was reported that "Pittsburgh's bootlegging ring is in terror. John Exnicios arrived in town today to take charge of the local prohibition office." The story hailed him as "the man who couldn't be reached."
Gray-haired, affable and soft-spoken, he received newspapermen and told them of his plans. He was going to have "action within 48 hours." He had, in fact, already got action before his arrival. He had had withdrawals of liquor from distilleries on Government permits checked throughout the district. He was going to find out who had been permitting this free withdrawal of liquor and send them over the road. The list was going down on Pittsburgh. There'd be no more booze.
It wouldn't be hard for him, he intimated. In the Government service many years, he had cleared out the squatters in the Redfoot Lake district of Tennessee, raided opium rings in San Francisco, broke up smuggling on the West Coast with an efficiency that made his name feared from Seattle to Lower California.
Exnicios Ready For Action.
Pittsburgh watched open-mouthed. The man was a whirlwind of action. He began firing and hiring agents with ruthless speed. He announced before a luncheon club on October 28 that three big whisky rings were operating in Pittsburgh and had cleared millions of dollars, that he had submitted his evidence to Washington, and that unless he was given enough men to clean up the situation he wouldn't stay.
"If I get the men I've requested next week, I shall put the bootlegger out of business," he said.
Pittsburgh waited. There was no doubt, the liquor supply was shut off. Not even drug stores could get it for medicinal use. There was not a withdrawal from a distillery in six weeks.
Night Life Grew Gay and Prosperous As Cabaret Owners Discovered Ways to Circumvent The Law
But suddenly those "in the know" saw that there was a catch in the situation. Whisky was shut off, but beer was coming into the city in a veritable flood. The streets of the town rumbled from midnight till dawn under the wheels of the big trucks rolling in with amber fluids. City detectives, who had shown an unwonted willingness to co-operated with Exnicios, were suddenly observed to be riding in with the beer trucks, armed to the teeth with shotguns - guarding the shipments of beer!
Rumor went out about $10 a barrel going to someone for all the beer let out of the Government-guarded breweries. The rumors were confirmed by men in the distilleries themselves.
Reinforcements Fail To Come.
The dry reinforcements apparently never arrived from Washington, and no more was heard from Exnicios about the three big rings. One of these rings, the biggest formed up to that time, was still rolling its trucks out of the garage in Webster avenue which was its headquarters, carrying the booze it had brought there to every corner of the county. The "terror of the Pacific coast" didn't seem to frighten its members at all. The cabarets continued to pay their tribute to raiders for the privilege of rending the night with music and revelry.
To those who did not know, the promises of Exnicios continued to have the appearance of validity, however. On November 13, Exnicios declared in a speech at Second Presbyterian church that "the difficulty in the enforcement of prohibition in Pittsburgh is that some federal judges of the district do not understand the Volstead Act. In California I could make 700 arrests in a day, while here it would take me three years to make that many."
The next day Federal Judge W.H.S. Thompson put that statement before the grand jury in federal court, asking the jury if it were not, in their judgment, contempt of court. The jury promptly said it thought so too, branded Exnicios "erratic and unfit" and recommended his dismissal. The recommendation was promptly forwarded to Washington.
Drys Change Their Minds.
Immediately the high esteem in which Exnicios was held by dry advocates was made evident in no uncertain way. On November 21 Rev. Dr. George W. Shelton presented Exnicios in person before his congregation at Second Presbyterian Church to show them "what sort of man he was," and to denounce the effort to oust him.
"The reason why trouble has been made for him," declared the minister, "is because the bootleggers and crooked politicians of the city want to get him out of the way."
Over in Philadelphia Rev. Harry M. Chalfant, editorial director of the Pennsylvania Anti-Saloon League, was telling another other church [unreadable paragraphs]
Beer Trucks Rumble On.
"There is a flood of beer in this district," Rev. ____ and "under Exnicios conditions have not improved but have become more open and ___." His record of arrests can't compare with those of his predecessor, it was pointed out that it was time for him to go.
The skids were newly greased for the "terror." He stayed on for ___ months longer, but finally was taken out of the____. That affront to the Federal judges had not been forgotten ____.
Exnicios left with a ___ angry denunciation of the government in November. He hadn't been treated fairly, he had been denied a vacation ____ and was entitled to it and so he was reassigned back to California. There were some eyebrows ___ in bootlegging circles that ___ was going to head___
Who was to ___ of drying up this city?
Politicians Take Over the Regulation of Bootleg Business, Proving of Little or No Help to Enforcers.
Editor's Note: Prohibition will come to its official end in Pittsburgh next Tuesday, and with it will end an era as bizarre as any the city has ever seen. In previous articles of this series, the story of the birth and infancy of the Age of Snoopery in Pittsburgh has been told in some detail, and here, in the final one, is a review of its maturity and decay, when booze became a political pawn.
By the time Prohibition Administrator Frederick C. Baird took over the job of enforcement in 1923 and the first legions of brassy Federal agents had disappeared from the Pittsburgh scene with their loot, the dry advocates of the city were aroused. They had grown watchful after seeing, in the case of Chief Agent Exnicios, how easily their confidence might be misplaced in one whose work in drying up the Pittsburgh area consisted of promises.
The, too, there was a new factor to be reckoned with. The politicians had taken over the regulation of the bootleg business.
Not that politicians had ever been ardent drys. They had winked at evasion of the prohibition laws from the beginning, and there were plenty of them whose hands were greased with the same graft that had made the lives of the first prohibition agents luxurious. But there was no real attempt to organize the graft and make a system of it till then. The system, indeed, was not perfected completely until 1926, when Mayor Charles H. Kline took office and his administration put it on a business basis.
During Administrator Baird's term, the system was born and began to grow. Ward politicians in virtually every section of the city began using their influence to protect the bootleggers, calling off police for whose appointments they were responsible from raiding favored spots, and sharing with the police officials the money received for this protection. There was scandal after scandal arising from this flagrant graft, and for a while one shakeup followed another in the police department. High city officials had not yet embraced the philosophy that graft disclosures couldn't harm them. They still took such things somewhat seriously.
Police Less Than No Help
But with so many tieups between police and booze barons, what could a well-intentioned prohibition administrator do? There was no cooperation to make his difficult task easier. Police loafed and drank in speakeasies, their superiors took dividends from the booze business, stills operated often within a stone's throw of police stations. And there weren't so many prohibition agents, anyhow, and not all of those could be counted on to show virtuous indignation if offered a bribe.
"Good whisky" by that time had all played out. It was no longer possible to work the old and now well-publicized game of withdrawing liquor from distilleries on Government permits by bribing those who issued them.
The still was the thing now - booze was manufactured by those who sold it. The air in many a street reeked with the perfume of "third rail" dripping from the coils, to be bottled at once, aged for approximately an hour, then sent out to the thirsty thousands. Such good liquor as did come through from Canada or elsewhere was cut with alcohol and sold at $7.50 a pint.
The there was the "steamo" racket. Somewhere in these years an inspired genius of the booze racket discovered that you could steam good liquor out of the wood of barrels that formerly held it, and for months there were plants operating throughout the town, mostly in attics, where fierce steam pressure worked night and day wringing the last drop out of reluctant wood.
Hamstrung by many Federal regulations, the prohibition enforcement division finally got the courts to recognize the "smell warrant." If an agent smelled liquor or mash at a given place, he could get a warrant on that evidence, without bothering to get in the place first and make a buy.
"Smell Warrant" Trouble.
The speakeasies were in consternation. Of course, any "prohi" could imagine he smelled liquor, if he knew it was being sold in a place, and what was to become of the business? The booze places turned suddenly to a "hip-pocket" sales policy. In hundreds of places the customer was rushed in through the steel doors, the bartender reached into his back pocket, took out a bottle and a glass and poured him a drink.
"Get it down quick, " would be the whisper, as the "bartender" looked nervously toward the door.
And the buyer gulped his drink and cursed the "prohis" and thanked his stars he could get a drink at all. So long as the drink went down, the "bartender" couldn't be arrested for running a drinking place, because he was just carrying it on his person. It was months before the use of the "smell warrant" died down sufficiently for speakeasies to resume normal operations.
For all this guerilla warfare Administrator Baird had to admit before the Yale Alumni Association's luncheon on March 25, 1926, that there was plenty of liquor in Pittsburgh for anyone who had the money to buy it; that 10,000 stills were going in Allegheny county alone; and that, despite his efforts to employ only men of good character, he fired 10 every day because their fingers stuck to graft money or other causes.
For that matter, it required no statement from Baird to show that prohibition was not being very heavily enforced. Even in 1926, when he made that speech, there were placed in Diamond square, the old barroom center, selling whisky over the bar quite openly, with sawdust on the floor, swinging doors and all. The number of open saloons, indeed, was not greatly reduced below that of pre-prohibition days.
"Good Beer" Caused Rush.
Periodically the word would go out over the downtown district that "There's good beer today at So-and-So's," and the rush of customers would be fearful and wonderful to behold. They would live up three or four deep at So-and-So's till the last drop was gone. That year that Chief Agent Connors had said would be required to turn Pittsburgh into a Sahara was turning out to be a long one. The raucous night-club bands were blaring now out the county roads, where they had more privacy and fewer raids than in the defunct Sixth street White Way, and the Hill District had become the center of a monstrous booze business.
Baird resigned in disgust early in 1926 and went back to the railroad business, where at least one could be reasonably sure of getting an order carried out.
The Kline political machine, in which the ward chairman was made dictator of his ward, decided who could and couldn't sell liquor or other illicit goods and collected the graft that was paid for "protection," was already beginning to function smoothly, and this, with the breakdown of Federal enforcement, now moved the ministers and the reform groups of the city to take some action of their own to check the wide-open vice and racketeering in the city.
Colonel Samuel Harden Church, of Carnegie Institute, could thunder with all his eloquence before the Senate committee investigating prohibition enforcement that year that the churches were trying to link up church and state through their interference in the liquor controversy, but nevertheless the Washington prohibition authorities had to recognize that their demands for drastic action to check the flow of booze here were justified by conditions.
Accordingly, John D. Pennington, former navy officer, was appointed to the post of prohibition administrator in July, 1926. It was only a short time after his arrival that an improvement in enforcement began to show. He started off by padlocking the open saloons, then carried his warfare into the hidden territory of the speakeasy. He obtained hundreds of convictions in the courts where his predecessors could count theirs in dozens.
For seven years he remained in charge of the district, despite repeated political attempts to oust him, and in that time he enforced the dry law as well, probably, as it could ever be enforced under the circumstances.
Nevertheless, the district did not dry up, and there was never a time and never a community so dry that he who could pay for it could not get a drink, or many drinks.
With Pennington appointed, and some action assured from the Federal agents, the ministers and their associates turned their attention to the city government in 1926. Police Superintendent Peter P. Walsh became their first target, for obviously there would have been no wide-open town if he had given the order to close it.
Early in the summer a committee of 24 prominent ministers and laymen was sent to Mayor Kline to ask him to fire the superintendent. The mayor received the committee pleasantly, heard its complaints non-commitally, ushered them out and forgot about it, as well as he could.
William L. King New Hope.
The committee was not disposed to be forgotten, and after reiterating its demands for a cleanup all summer without response it called a public mass meeting late in the fall, organized the Citizens' Committee of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and sent a call to William L. King, who had gained some fame for his vice crusading on behalf of the Anti-Saloon League in Kansas City, to come and do likewise for Pittsburgh.
King was given the title of executive secretary. For months the bespectacled, owlish-looking man from Kansas City worked at getting new members for the league, collecting funds at mass meeting, and speaking in behalf of the organization before churches and other groups. He was almost forgotten when, one day in the spring of 1927 he suddenly appeared, armed with warrants, in a downtown speakeasy, accompanied by Federal agents, and cleaned it out.
He had been sending "undercover men" out quietly all the months he seemed to be doing nothing, and they had been gathering evidence on one joint after another - speakeasies, gambling-houses and others.
Raids Followed Fast.
One raid followed another in rapid succession. The news that a young mail flier named Lindbergh was waiting in New York for favorable weather for a non-stop flight to Paris had to move over in the papers the morning of May 8, 1927, to make room for the announcement that King and the state police had "knocked off" the biggest and costliest gambling house in the city at 5604 Baum boulevard, seized its cargo of costly liquors and stopped the big roulette wheel, the "bird-cage" dice game and the other games around which men and women dressed in fashionable evening clothes had been excitedly watching the torn of their luck when the raiders entered. John Duffy, "The Wheeling Kid," who was arrested five years later by Federal officers on a charge of having gathered an income of $250,000, in 1929 and paid no tax on it, was arrested, along with Maxie Friedberg and Al Pinkus as the operators of the place.
A few days later the six of the biggest bookmaking places in the city were raided, including one alleged to have been owned by Maxie Friedberg, at 110 Penn avenue. King told at the hearings that night of having hidden behind a dresser in a room at the William Penn hotel and heard one of the gambling operators tell that it cost him $50 a week to get police protection indirectly from Superintendent Walsh's office.
Then King Disappears
These were samples of the raids King and his investigators brought about. By mid-summer he had brought about the indictment of 77 persons in speakeasy and gambling house raids. It looked very much like a cleanup. The administration politicians were discomfited. When three of King's investigators entered Castle Gardens, a notorious Hill district cabaret, one June night, thugs fell upon them and beat them unmercifully. It later developed that one of the investigators, Herman Steubenrauch, was also on Superintendent Walsh's payroll secretly, and had given the signal to the leader of the thugs, after steering his companions into the place. He must have got the signals mixed, for he was beaten worse than either of the others.
A constant, under-cover campaign was carried on all summer by police spied seeking to "get something" on King. Two of his men were arrested at one time, and a huge mass of evidence they had gathered against the joints was seized and destroyed after they had been locked in cell.
William L. King, "New Hope" of Drys, Created Stir, Left Under a Cloud, Prohibition Still Unenforced.
Suddenly, late in July, King disappeared. His room at Webster Hall was deserted, he left no word. Citizens' League officials were convinced he was kidnapped. The mystery continued for days. Then a letter came to the Pittsburgh newspapers telling that he had resigned from the Citizens' League because he found its purposes were political.
King Comes Back.
Rev. J. Alvin Orr, head of the league, said he did not believe the letter was genuine. He trusted King implicitly. Sure enough, within 48 hours a newspaperman located King in Kansas City by phone, and receive the vice crusader's assurance that he was coming back to tell things that would startle the town. There was an attempt on to blackmail him and he had gone back home to get time to combat them, he said. Incidentally, he had also married Mrs. Rachel Carr, of Des Moines, while he was there, and he let it be known that it was through her that the would-be blackmailers had been attempting to "get him."
He kept his promise and returned under guard of Federal officers. He told his story to the Citizens' League. All the details of it never became public, but one part - in which King charged that he had been forced to leave town by threat of blackmail, and that Jakie Klein, alleged "payoff man" for Pittsburgh gamblers, had given him $300 to leave town and drop prosecutions - resulted in Klein and Police Superintendent Peter P. Walsh being indicted together on charges to trying to tamper with a Federal witness. King said he had taken the money because he had to get back to Iowa quickly to gather witnesses to clear himself in preparation for the blackmail attempt. Jakie Klein disagreed on one point. He said it was $22,500 he had given King to "skip."
Cleanup Drive Fails
There was a premonition among the Citizen's League group all summer that their executive secretary had betrayed their confidence, and would be found wanting when the prosecution of his raid cases came up. They were right. A month after his return, King again left hurriedly, after signing a confession that he had faked evidence in many of the raids, to make it appear that "buys" had been made before the raids by his agents.
King never returned. He and two of his agents were indicted, the Citizens' League joined with the other persons involved in the prosecutions in asking the Federal courts to nolle-prosse the cases, and one of the biggest concerted drives to clean up the city in its history collapsed.
Things Open Wide.
With the threat of organized opposition gone for the time, the political "higher-ups" now went out for graft money wildly and without restraint. The town opened up hilariously, and the only check was the prohibition force, which did what it could to stop the flow of booze, but found it couldn’t do enough.
In a single year - 1928, there were 31,759 arrests in Pittsburgh alone for drunkenness. The same year there were 126 deaths from alcoholism in the county. The booze racket was hooked up now with the disorderly houses and gambling joints in one big reservoir of crooked money for politicians and police.
The Federal Government did its nickel's worth in the interests of cleaner and better community life by starting a city-wide liquor conspiracy prosecution late in 1928, but [unreadable]
Guns [?] Blazing
Meanwhile the booze raids had entered the ___ state here, as in the other metropolitan center of the East. Within five years there were ___ racket murders in the county that never were solved. The ___ organized booze syndicate ___ sprung up in the county to fix the price at which liquor could be sold, decided who should sell it in a given territory, and from whom they should buy their supplies. Those who refused to ___ were "taken for a ride," ___ their places did not ___ them yield.
Most sensational of all was the killing of the three Volpe brothers, "Prince Johnny," James and Arthur, in the Hiss district and the subsequent murder in New York of John Barranzo ___ thought to have plotted in his death.
Long, Good Show Ends
The last years of prohibition were productive, too, of some of the most sensational raids ___ Federal agents. Two in particular were notable, the ___ raid early in the morning of ___ 15, 1931, in which the ___ night club and gambling hall at the Sixth street location was closed, and the __ raid on July ____, 1927. Both were staged by Deputy Public Administrator Harold (___ Gun) Wilson, after Agent Pennington had been transferred to Philadelphia.
In the raid on the ___ picnic at Indian ___, McKees, Rocks, Wilson probably made more enemies for ___ in a single day than any prohibition agent in America had ever made with so little effort. County and city officials by the hundreds were there to boo as the dry raiders' trucks hauled barrels of high-test beer away for destruction.
Wilson was transferred to ___ aware in a very short time,___ a few months ago work ___ from there that he was dropped from the Government payroll entirely.
The long ---- ended six months ago. The government cut off funds for the agents ___ . The dry era was over. Next Tuesday marks the official end.
It was a good idea while it lasted - and it appears it lasted [unreadable]
The New York Times, July 6, 1891
“The Illegal Speak-easies; Defiance of the law in Pennsylvania;
Saloons in which beer and whisky are sold without license—how the term “speak-easy” was first applied to them.”
PITTSBURG, July 5.—The commonest item in the police news in Pittsburg is the raid of a “speak-easy.” A speak-easy is an unlicensed saloon. In Pennsylvania it is the illegitimate child of the Brooks high-license law.
The term “speak-easy” is said to have originated in McKeesport, this county. Mrs. Kate Hester has for years been a saloon keeper there. She greeted the High-License act by defying it and continuing to sell beer without license. Her customers were a boisterous lot. When their conviviality became too noisy it was her custom to approach with warning finger upraised and awe-inspiring look and whisper: “Speak easy, boys! speak easy!” Soon the expression became common in McKeesport and spread to Pittsburg. Here the newspaper men accepted the term as filling a long-felt want. It now passes current all over the country as descriptive of a resort where strong drink is sold without license. Some day, perhaps, Webster’s Dictionary will take it up.
The speak-easy has all hours and all seasons for its own. It flourishes best through the week between 12 midnight and the hour when legalized saloons open—3 A. M. Sunday is its harvest time, for then it is not possible in Pittsburg or Allegheny County for the thirsty mortal to buy openly even so harmless a draught as soda water to quench his thirst. There are nearly 400 licensed saloons in Pittsburg, and more than that number of speak-easies. There are four classes of speak-easies—drug stores, houses of ill repute, low groggeries, and gilded dens—which the so-called better classes patronize. The police know the location of all of these, but refuse to molest them unless the inmates become disorderly.
The raids usually occur on Sunday, when the illegal traffic is at its height. All hands are captured and carted in the patrol wagon to a police station. There the patrons are fined $10 and costs each for disorderly conduct, and the proprietor $100. The fines are paid and the offending seller resumes business as if nothing has occurred. He is not troubled again until his house becomes noise once more, when the raiding farce is repeated. Some speak-easy keepers have been arrested half a dozen times, and there is one in the East End who has been taken ten times, and meanwhile has grown rich despite the fines paid. There is no attempt made, except in aggravated cases, to punish the illegal selling in the Court of Quarter Sessions, where a conviction makes fine and imprisonment imperative. The punishment inflicted by the police is for disorderly conduct. The more serious violation of law is winked at.
While one gang of police were raiding these tip-toppers in the speak-easy line, another posse went to the other extreme of the business and arrested Mrs. Mollie Reagan. She ran a groggery in a hovel on the hillside right by Holy Ghost College. She sold beer without license to support her crippled husband and twelve children. Five tipplers who were in the house at the time were arrested with her. The place was foul, noisome and filthy. When the police swept down on her, Mrs. Reagan's ready Irish wit served her well. She ran and borrowed her sister's nursing child, a babe of eight months, and took the little one to Central Station with her. "Sure," she said, "they’ll let me off easy when they see the babe." So they did. Next day the police magistrate sent her home in peace, whereupon she proceeded to sell beer as complacently as ever.
Speak-easies usually sell only beer and whisky. The beer is seldom iced, while the whisky is as relentless as death. Recently an exception to this rule was found at 150 Fourth Avenue, this city, right in the shadow of Allegheny County's two-million-five-hundred-thousand dollar Temple of Justice. Here the police raided a speak-easy kept by Prof. Alexander Schoeb, a young teacher of music. His sweet-faced, blue-eyes little wife was taken to the lock-up with him. The pair had fitted out three second-floor rooms with richly-carved furniture and dainty gimcracks to make them attractive. Champagne and fine wines were served, and the house became a popular resort for young men and women who figure away up in the ordinary social scale. The place, the attendants, and the drinks had a peculiar charm. Besides, the house was so "eminently respectable" that only the "best people" were admitted.
Even the usually law-abiding Jews have their speak-easies. Mrs. Keyser, at 18 Liberty Avenue, has repeatedly been arrested. If fined, she pays promptly and resumes. If sent to the workhouse she submits to imprisonment philosophically. The last time her house was raided it was found to have been arranged uniquely. A trapdoor had been cut in the floor and an ice chest constructed underneath. The floor was carpeted and an innocent-looking table stood over the trapdoor. There was every arrangement to quickly conceal all evidence of the traffic in case of surprise.
There are speak-easies that have stool pigeons to keep an eye on the police and fly with their warning at the first sign of danger. Others have a code of signals without the aid of which none can enter. Still others furnish pass keys to their patrons and supply only a limited number with beverages. There are all-night drug stores that from 12 midnight to 3 a.m. sell raw whisky at 10 cents a drink strong enough to take the hair off a dog. These derive their patronage from flitting night owls.
There is another class of illegal liquor sellers that flourishes all over Western Pennsylvania in the summer time. It is known as the "walking speak-easy." Under low license beer and whisky were sold at picnics, fairs, and country auctions without let or hindrance. The $500 fine and at least thirty days' imprisonment prescribed by the Brooks law killed that business. Now certain slick gentry with capacious gripsacks frequent such public assemblages as are on pleasure bent. Their mission is to peddle whisky by the drink, their stock being carried in the satchel. The business is done stealthily and prices are necessarily steep, but the enterprise flourishes nevertheless.
A peculiar speak-easy case came to light a day or two ago, when it was discovered that councilman William Dessel of Beltzhoover Borough was mysteriously missing. He had started for Kansas upon learning that the Grand July had indicted him for selling liquor on Sunday and without a license. Dessel had the yard surrounding his home on the hillside fitted out after the fashion of a German beer garden. Here for two years he had been driving a thrifty business. On the premises was a cool spring house of peculiar excellence. Dessel claimed that Sunday picnic parties sent the beer to his place and he put it in the spring to cool, charging 10 cents a keg for storage, and then allowing them to enjoy themselves in his garden. Justice James Barr, however, says the resort has been disorderly for two years, and the only reason it wasn't proceeded against was because the borough constable studiously refused to interfere. This spring the borough got a new law officer and Councilman Dessel has fallen from grace.
The Washington Reporter, Mar. 23, 1893
Pritts Still at Large.
Somerset, Pa. - Sheriff Good and a posse have been up in the mountains after "Bill" Pritts, the famous moonshiner, who is wanted for the murder of old man Hochstetler, but has failed to catch him. People who know whereof they speak say that Pritts is working his still in a secluded spot in the mountain, and is turning out moonshine at a very profitable rate. With all the raids that were made by the revenue officers in these mountains lately, there are several illicit stills that were not found. They have been operated all winter.
The New York Times, Dec. 28, 1919
PITTSBURGH DOCTORS CHARGED WITH PRESCRIBING WHISKY UNLAWFULLY.
Four Pittsburgh physicians and a druggist were arrested here today by a Deputy United States Marshal and held in $1,500 bail each on a charge of having violated the war-time prohibition law.
The physicians, S. F. Marcus, H. W. Wuerthele, H. K. Kalet and George Rosenthal, were charged in bills of complaint with "knowingly and unlawfully prescribing whisky" for A. E. Kummerling, a special agent of the Department of Justice. The bills stated Kummerling was not a patient of any of the accused doctors.
Julius Finkelpearl, a pharmacist, the other prisoner, was charged with having sold to the Federal agent a quart of whisky "for beverage purposes."
The Gazette Times, Dec. 30, 1919
$1,265 SWINDLE IN WHISKY IS ALLEGED IN SUIT FILED AGAINST MAN IN DUQUESNE.
Proceedings Before Homestead Alderman Bare Alleged Agreement
Goods Never Delivered, Man Declares in Starting Action Before Justice.
Others are involved.
What is alleged by the police to be one of the largest whisky swindles in Allegheny county was revealed yesterday when an information involving residents of Homestead and Duquesne was made public by Alderman M. A. Riley, 431 Diamond Street.
Charles Geilert, of Duquesne is named in the information, the technical charge against him being larceny by trick.
The information was made before Alderman Riley last Wednesday by Anthony Lyczerek of Homestead. The plaintiff, in the information, accuses Geiler of obtaining "through artifice and device," $1,265 for whisky that Lyczerek alleges, was never delivered.
According to Lyczerek, he made an arrangement with Geilert by which the latter was to have delivered to him 12 cases of bonded whisky, charging approximately $10 a quart. Lyzcerek says he paid Geilert the $1,265 in cash as soon as the arrangement was consummated.
When the liquor was not delivered when promised, Lyzcerek says he became uneasy, but disliked to take any action in the matter. Finally, acting on the advice of friends, he filed the information against Geilert. The information was made December 24, the day after he says he paid the defendant.
It developed last night that Geilert had had a quiet hearing in Alderman Rileys' office Saturday night. Alderman Riley at that time reserved his decision in the case until next Saturday, when the case will be reopened. It was said last night an investigation now being made points to the fact that several other men may be called as witnesses.
Geilert was released on bail.
The Gazette Times, Dec. 30, 1919
Dr. Wuerthele to Stand Trial Under "Dry Law"
Federal Agents Continue Inquiry of Alleged Illicit Whisky Sales
Dr. Herman W. Wuerthele of 161 Greenfield avenue, arrested Saturday by Federal agents for alleged violation of the war-time prohibition act by issuing prescriptions for whisky to persons not under his care, yesterday waived a hearing before Commissioner Roger Knox and gave bail to stand trial during the May term of Federal Court.
The others arrested in Saturday's raid, Dr. Samuel J. Marcus, Dr. Harry J. Kalet, Dr. George Rosenthal and Joseph Finkelpearl, a druggist, each gave bail for a court trial when taken into custody.
All day yesterday A. E. Kemmerly, special agent of the Department of Justice, and his assistants were busy sorting prescriptions issued by physicians under arrest and obtained from druggists. There were many conferences between the Federal agents and the government attorneys. It was reported that additional arrests would be made today. Government officials say there will be no let up in the efforts to apprehend all offenders of the war-time prohibition law.
LIQUOR SEIZED IN RAID ON UNDERTAKING ROOMS
47 Cases Found in Braddock
Proprietor Told to "Visit' Prohibition Police Headquarters to Explain Matters
First Under Amendment
Two Truck Loads of Liquor Taken on Road Near Greensburg by State Police
First seizure of intoxicating liquor in this district by Federal prohibition agents since the constitutional prohibition amendment went into effect, was made yesterday afternoon when 47 cases of whisky were confiscated at the undertaking establishment of A. P. Pusting, 1020 Washington Ave., Braddock. No arrests were made, but it was reported the proprietor received instructions to visit the office of United States District Attorney E. Lowry Humes this morning and explain how the whisky happened to be in his place of business.
The whisky was taken to the Federal Building where it was put into the custody of United States Marshal John F. Short. On each of the 47 cases is a label showing that the whisky was taken out of bond to be used for medicinal purposes, the non-beverage tax being $2.20 a gallon.
While the truck was being unloaded at the Fourth avenue entrance of the Federal Building and the whisky turned over to Deputy Marshal Benjamin D. Budin, a large crowd gathered and watched the banned liquor being carried into the building.
Found After Search
The whisky was found in Braddock after a search for several days. The government authorities engaged in enforcing the nation-wide prohibition laws learned a large supply of whisky had been stored, contrary to law, in Braddock. Late yesterday afternoon, the efforts of the prohibition agents were rewarded by finding 47 cases of whisky on the second floor of the Pustinger undertaking rooms. Neither would they say whether there were any records of sales made since the whisky was received at the undertaking establishment. Immediately after the cases arrived at the Federal Building the agents began checking up the numbers on the cases, and a wide discrepancy was found in the rotation in which they came.
The confiscated liquor greatly increased the supply in the store room of the Federal Building, making a total of about 600 cases placed there during the past two months.
The New York Times, June 6, 1920
SEIZE LIQUOR FOR NEW YORK
25 Cases Addressed to "Albert Stanley" Confiscated in Pittsburgh
Arrested last night with twenty-five cases of whisky on their automobile truck and no permit to show for it, five men were turned over to the Federal prohibition agents this morning. They gave their names as Anthony Burkes, Bernard Grace, Tony Marchina, George Blair and Joseph Smith all of this city.
The whisky was addressed to Albert Stanley, 408 West Fourteenth Street, New York, and was estimated to be worth $3,000.
In the campaign to break up the illegal liquor traffic, Director Hindman took away permits to transport liquor from ten men out of fifteen who were up for hearing. Investigation has disclosed that at least fifty other truckers have been conveying liquor illegally.
In the last five months thirteen whisky warehouses have been robbed of more than $1,000,000 worth of whisky. Unguarded because of the Government's failure to appropriate funds with which to provide the necessary men, these outlying districts have been an easy prey for the bootleggers. The distilleries of these companies have been completely emptied: Monongahela Distilling Company, E. Fred Emery, Grey Distilling Company, Mesmore Distilling Company, Somerset Distilling Company, Fairchance Distilling Company, White Rock Distilling Company, Stewart Distilling Company. Other plants robbed were the Bouquet Distilling Company, Vandergrift Distilling Company, Latrobe Distilling Company and the Thomas Moore Distilling Company.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 19, 1920
MUCH WHISKY TAKEN IN RAID IN BRADDOCK
Prohibition agents Rev. W. N. Woodfin of Homestead and D. J. McLaughlin, assisted by the police of Braddock, conducted raids yesterday resulting in the seizure of 768 quarts of bonded whisky in the attic of Morris Rubenstein, at 1100 Washington St., Braddock, the capture of a truck containing 13 cases of whisky and the accidental discovery of two gallons of the prohibited fluid in a touring car.
Rev. Woodfin, with McLaughlin, entered the saloon yesterday afternoon and walked to the rear. The minister started up the stairs and to the third floor of the house, the proprietor meanwhile remonstrating with him and telling him that there was no liquor in the house. When the prohibition agents reached the third floor, which is the attic of the house, Rev. Woodfin began to take up some of the floor boards, pointing out to the other agent where to take up other boards. The agents say 768 quarts of liquor were found under the floor.
Police Aid in Raid
When the liquor had been removed from its hiding place, Rev. Woodfin called the Braddock police station, and asked Chief of Police Fred Seim if he would bring a conveyance to haul the liquor to the police station. Chief Seim took a truck to the saloon, and the liquor was hauled to the station, where it was placed in a cell under lock and key. It will be turned over to the Federal agents tomorrow.
Shortly before the raid, a suspicious looking truck had attracted the attention of Chief Seim, and when he had stopped it, it was found to contain 13 cases of whisky. The driver of the truck escaped, but an assistant, Mike Lopekok, aged 30, of 334 Fourth ave., Homestead, was arrested and lodged in the police station.
While the prohibition agents were going home, they stopped and searched a touring car driven by George Pirhalla of Rankin, near the Rankin bridge. They said they found two gallons of whisky in the car. Pirhalla was arrested and lodged in the Munhall police station, charged with illegally transporting liquor. The whisky was confiscated and taken to the Munhall station.
The New York Times, Jan. 30, 1921
ARREST TWO MORE FOR LIQUOR FRAUD
Dry Agents Find Stolen Papers & Forged Permits on Men in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Raid Woman's Apartment
Freight Load of "Sugar" and Cases of "vinegar" on Pier Found to Be Beer and Whisky
Two more men arrested yesterday in Pittsburgh, Pa., in connection with the liquor frauds recently unearthed in New York by agents of Hugh McQuillan, head of the Special Intelligence Unit of the Internal Revenue Bureau. They were Benjamin L. Moses and Herman Sattler, who are said to have attended parties at the Hotel McAlpin, where many of the liquor schemes involving clerks in the office of Director O'Connor are alleged to have been planned.
When revenue agents raided the apartment of Mrs. Mary A. Parkins, formerly a clerk in Director O'Connor's office, in the Hotel McAlpin, some weeks ago they arrested, besides Mrs. Parkins, Edward Donegan, a Brooklyn contractor; Sigmund ("Beansy") Rosenfeld, and Miss Regina Sassone. Later they arrested William F. McCoy, formerly information clerk in Mr. O'Connor's office. All are under heavy bail. A few days ago Mrs. Volberg Castillio, also a former clerk, was arrested in Los Angeles, having disappeared from here soon after the arrests in the Hotel McAlpin.
The Morning Leader, Mar. 14, 1921 (Regina, Sask)
BOOTLEGGERS BATTLE PITTSBURGH PARSONS
Pittsburgh, Pa., March 13. Bootleggers scored in the first round of their battle with the Carnegie ministers when they cut the electric wires furnishing current to the Baptist, United Presbyterian, Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal and Primitive Methodist churches during the preaching of sermons on "Prohibition in Carnegie" in each of the five churches at the same time. The ministers had just launched their sermons when the lights went out.
Quick investigation disclosed the main switch controlling the lighting system in each church had been thrown. Further investigation developed the fact that the power line outside of each of the churches had been cut.
Despite the darkness, the ministers, after telephone communication with one another, decided to finish their sermons. This plan, however, did not prove a howling success, as many people in the audiences left when it was learned that the light could not be restored for the services.
Every effort was made following the trouble to prevent the news of the wire cutting leaking out.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 17, 1921
BOOZE TRUCK HELD UP ON SOUTHSIDE; FIVE MEN ARRESTED
After an automobile truck driver had been held up at South Twenty-second and Jane Sts., at 2:40 a.m. today and 25 cases of whisky stolen from the machine, police at the Southside station were notified and within one hour had seized 95 cases of contraband goods which had been delivered in Edwards way. The stolen liquor was not recovered.
Five men, who gave their names and addresses as Nathan Harris, aged 41, Negro, of 1213 Wylie Ave.; T. A. Henry, aged 40, a Negro, of 21 Crawford St.; Joseph Sczhata, aged 36, of 1106 Freyburg St.; Stanley Kapinski, aged 31, of 1825 Edwards way, and Joseph Reczyriski, aged 64, also of 1823 Edwards way, were arrested and placed in the Southside station on charges of being suspicious persons.
Find Much Booze.
Sergt. Joseph Walker received a telephone call at 2: 40 a.m. that the driver of an automobile truck was held up by men in two automobile touring cars and 25 cases of whisky stolen. Wagonmen Herbert Gardner and James Pemberton were sent to the scene in the auto patrol. The perpetrators of the holdup had gone with their loot.
A search was started in the streets of the neighborhood and Lieut. Bernard Kirley and Policeman Martin Milowski and Frank Walinski joined in the search for the truck which had transported the booze. A large truck covered with canvas was found in Edwards way near South Eighteenth St., and, according to the police, Henry was about to drive away from the scene. Liquor evidently had been delivered.
The officers searched all yards in the vicinity after Henry told them he had been held up and robbed of 25 cases of whisky. Eight packages, similar to the ones found at the scene of the holdup, and each containing six quarts of whisky were found in the basement of the dwelling at 1825 Edwards way and a further search revealed that 177 packages, each containing six quarts of whisky and 36 quarts unwrapped were also found in the yard.
Had No Permit
Kapinsky and Reczyriski were arrested in their home at 1825 Edwards way. Sczhata found wandering in Edwards way near South Eighteenth st., was unable to give a good account of himself and he was also placed under arrest.
The four men were taken to the police station and questioned by Commissioner William J. Kane. Henry told the police that he was engaged by Harris to transport the liquor and admitted that he had no permit. Harris learned of the robbery and went to the police station where Commissioner Kane placed him under arrest in connection with the case at 5 o'clock this morning. Henry repeated his story to Commissioner Kane that he had been held up by men in automobiles. The police are searching for these men.
The seized whisky and truck were taken to the police station.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 23, 1921
RICH BOOTLEGGERS HERE
TO BE ARRESTED
Nine Distilleries Will Be Closed; Arrests Promised
Scores of arrests and the closing of nine distilleries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky and Ohio will be made within a few days, it was stated at the office of Prohibition Commissioner Haynes today.
Haynes said that many wealthy bootleggers are to be taken in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Philadelphia, possibly Chicago, and a number of smaller eastern cities.
Officials said they have evidence of the existence of an enormous national bootlegging organization. Much of the evidence was uncovered following the arrest of Samuel Albrecht of Baltimore, wealthy, charged with attempting to bribe Prohibition Direct Yellowley in New York. The prohibition office here has just received detailed records of whisky transactions, running into millions of dollars, which were seized, it is officially stated, in the office of Albrecht in Baltimore.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 26, 1921
FIVE HELD IN ALLEGED LIQUOR CONSPIRACY; FOUR WAIVE HEARINGS.
Harry J. Alpern, proprietor of a transfer company on Fourth ave., yesterday was held under $5.000 bond for trial at the November term of federal court by the United States commissioner, after a preliminary hearing on a charge of conspiracy, pertaining to the alleged withdrawal of a large consignment of bonded whisky from a warehouse on a Pennsylvania permit issued to the Liberty Extract Co.
B. Samuels, David Labowitz, Moe Morrison and Ruben Kanarek, also defendants in the suit, waived preliminary hearings and each furnished $5,000 bond for appearance in court. The preliminary hearing of Sol Astrow, a wholesale dealer in drug supplies at 300 Federal st., another defendant, was postponed one week. The suit against the six men was brought by Thomas E. Stone, a special federal prohibition agent from Washington, working the Pittsburgh district under direction of John Exnicios. The six defendants were arrested last week.
The complaint against the defendants involved the alleged withdrawal of 1,444 cases of whisky from a distillery in Kentucky on a Pennsylvania permit, dated Sept. 15. It was testified at the hearing of Alpern that he transported the whisky from the Try st. yard of the Pennsylvania to a place unknown to the government investigators. A representative of the American Railways Express Co. testified that the whisky upon its arrival in Pittsburgh was removed from the railroad car to trucks of the Alpern Bros. Co. and that Alpern was present when the transfer was made.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 27, 1921
SMALL BOOZE RAIDS MARK CLEANUP CRUSADE.
Two saloons and one restaurant were raided yesterday and in each place liquor was found and confiscated, according to Prohibition Agents A. E. Kemmerling, J. G. Miller and T. M. Christley, who conducted the raids under orders of John Exnicios, agent in charge of the Pittsburgh district.
The saloon of Julius Ebel, 6295 Frankstown ave., was the first visited. Several glasses of whisky and four bottles of liquor were found in the place, according to the agents.
In the saloon conducted by W. W. Cook, 6303 Penn ave., a small amount of whisky behind the bar was confiscated, the agents say.
The Italian restaurant of Pease and Sparano at 709 Webster ave. was raided earlier in the day and several half-pint bottles of whiskey and a partly filled barrel of wine were confiscated.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 28, 1921
5 HELD IN ALLEGED LIQUOR CONSPIRACY; FOUR WAIVE HEARINGS
Harry J. Alpern, proprietor of a transfer company on Fourth ave., yesterday was held under $5,000 bond for trial at the November term of federal court by the United States commissioner, after a preliminary hearing on a charge of conspiracy pertaining to the alleged withdrawal of a large consignment of bonded whisky from a warehouse on a Pennsylvania permit issued to the Liberty Extract Co.
B. Samuels, David Labowitz, Moe Morrison and Ruben Kanarek, also defendants in the suit, waived preliminary hearings and each furnished $5,000 bond for appearance in court. The preliminary hearing of Sol Astrow, a wholesale dealer in drug supplies at 300 Federal St., another defendant, was postponed one week. The suit against the six men was brought by Thomas E. Stone, a special federal prohibition agent from Washington, working in the Pittsburgh district under direction of John Exnicios. The six defendants were arrested last week.
The complaint against the defendants involves the alleged withdrawal of 1,444 cases of whisky from a distillery in Kentucky on a Pennsylvania permit, dated Sept. 15. It was testified at the hearing of Alpern that he transported the whisky from the Try St. yard of the Pennsylvania to a place unknown to the government investigators. A representative of the American Railways Express Co. testified that the whisky upon its arrival in Pittsburgh was removed from the railroad car to trucks of the Alpern Bros. Co. and that Alpern was present when the transfer was made.
The Gazette Times, Nov. 13, 1921
FEDERAL AGENTS RAID SALOONS AND REPORT LIQUOR CONFISCATIONS
Second Visit Within Two Weeks Made at Bar In East Liberty.
Federal prohibition agents carrying search warrants, yesterday raided two saloons in the Lawrenceville district and a saloon in the East Liberty district. The largest quantity of liquor was found in the saloon conducted by Julius Ebau at Station street and Frankstown avenue. It was their second visit there in two weeks.
The agents said they found about one dozed glasses containing whisky behind the bar, a quart of whisky in a cupboard adjoining the bar, two quarts of whisky in a dumb waiter, and several pints of whisky in a room on the second floor. The previous search resulted in the confiscation of a small quantity of liquor.
The places raided in the Lawrenceville district were the saloon conducted by Ben Zwolski at 3519 Butler street and the Markokulos saloon at Fifty-second and Butler streets. In the latter they agents reported confiscating a quart of whisky and a bottle of wine on the second floor. The agents said they confiscated a quart of moonshine whisky in the saloon conducted by Zwolski.
The Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 26, 1921
POISONED LIQUOR SOLD FOR WHISKY
The tightening up of the supply of alcohol in this city has resulted in the manufacture by unscrupulous persons of a poisonous concoction, marked with bogus labels as whisky, much of which is being sold by "runners" in downtown hotels at high prices, according to prohibition agents, police and hotel detectives who are cooperating in driving this latest type of law violator from the city.
According to John Exnicios, agent in charge of the Pittsburgh district, a quart of poison made from denatured alcohol and marked with cleverly worded fake labels and revenue stamps was sold to a guest at a leading downtown hotel yesterday through the medium of a bellboy in the hotel. The guest was made seriously ill from the concoction.
The grocery store of Francis Haeck, 51 Washington place, was raided a short time later by prohibition agents and a quantity of denatured alcohol, coloring matter, bogus labels and other ingredients were confiscated, according to the agents. Haeck, the bellboy and a booze "runner" whom it is alleged was selling the poison in the hotel, were arrested.
The saloon of P. Heiser, 414 East Ohio st., was raided yesterday and two teapots of whisky were found behind the bar and several bottles of wine and whisky in other parts of the building, according to prohibition agents.
Exnicios left for Washington late yesterday for a conference with Prohibition Commissioner Roy A. Haynes and S. P. Rutter, associate prohibition director for Pennsylvania. He will return Monday.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 9, 1921
PITTSBURGH RUM PLOT CASE GOES TO JURY.
Cleveland. - Taking of testimony in the trial of Moe H. Baron, Brooklyn, N.Y. and Hyman Barnett and Ike Simon, of Pittsburgh, ended in federal court here yesterday and the case went to the jury today. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to defraud the government in what is said to be a $1,000,000 whisky deal.
Baron's counsel declared Baron withdrew the whisky from a Pittsburgh warehouse to be sold in Brooklyn for medicinal purposes. The government contents the whisky was to have been sold in Youngstown for beverage purposes.
Barnett said he was hired by Baron as a guard at $10 a day. He saw that the permits were regular and undertook the work.
Congressman John Morin, of Pittsburgh and Dr. Edward R. Walters, former president of Pittsburgh city council, testified to the good character of Barnett and Simon. Simon formerly was a councilman.
The News-Dispatch, Jan. 16, 1922 (Jeannette, Pa.)
PROHIBITION AGENT SEIZES BEER TRUCK
Prohibition Agent Dan E. Dunmire on Friday evening seized a truck load of beer of the Star Brewing company, in charges of S. J. Martin, one of the company's truck drivers. The seizure took place following several complaints of residents who notified Agent Dunmire that a number of truck loads of beer were being hauled away from the brewing plant.
Agent Dunmire then communicated with John Exnicios and seizure of the one truck load of beer followed. While on their way to Pittsburgh with the beer, the truck stalled, and it was necessary to place it in the Westmoreland garage on the Lincoln highway. Samples of the beer were taken by Agent Dunmire.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 11, 1922
EXNICIOS ASKS THAT SEIZED RUM BE HELD.
John Exnicios, Federal prohibition agent in charge of the Western Pennsylvania district, has sent a letter to Nevin Cort, district attorney of this county, asking him to hold the 200 cases of bonded whisky which are now being held in the jail here, and for which alleged illegal transportation of same Frank Brown and William Lickett of Pittsburgh were acquitted in court here this week.
Mr. Exnicios, in his letter stated that he has in his possession now a copy of a permit issued to Ernest Esposito for the purchase of said liquor from the Penwick distillery, and says that he has reason to believe that an investigation should be made as to the validity of the permit.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 12, 1922
FAKE PRESCRIPTIONS BEING FILLED HERE, EXNICIOS DECLARES
With the names of local physicians forged to them, prescriptions are being flooded in this district by unknown person or persons, and whisky is being secured by them, according to General Prohibition Agent John Exnicios, in charge of the local office.
Agent Exnicios said yesterday the book of prescription blacks is genuine, bearing No. 94,639. Three of the prescriptions which had been filled were made out to Joseph Gray, 422 East North st.; P. J. Nemo of the Monongahela hotel, and Harry Richie, Henry hotel, all of this city. Agent Exnicios says the name are fictitious.
The names signed on the prescription blanks as those of the prescribing physicians were forged, Agent Exnicios days. Several physicians were called to his office and they denied all knowledge of issuing the prescriptions, and denied that the signatures had been made by them. They told Agent Exnicios their prescription books had different numbers from that on the forged blanks.
Agent Exnicios has notified all druggists to communicate with his office should any of the prescription blanks bearing No. 94,639 be presented to them to be filled.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 12, 1922
CITY PATROLMAN HELD FOR BREAKING DRY LAW
Charged with violating the national prohibition act, Policeman John Bauer was held for court trial following a hearing yesterday before a United States Commissioner. It is alleged Bauer was one of the principals in a transaction involving the sale of whisky valued at $225. According to James W. Powers, a hotel keepers of 4106 Penn ave., a witness against Bauer, he had arranged for the purchase of whisky prior to last Jan. 25, when it arrived. He alleged Bauer approached him and said "fifty-fifty" while the liquor was being delivered to the hotel. He further testified he was told Bauer had sold the whisky to August Frederich, a saloon keeper of 4627 Liberty ave. Frederich testified he purchased the whisky for $225 from Bauer.
The Pittsburgh Press, Mar.22, 1922
EXNICIOS SEIZES CAR OF BEER IN GREENSBURG.
Greensburg, Pa. - Federal State Prohibition Officer John Exnicios, of Pittsburgh, located a car of beer on a siding in the Ludwick yards, here which after a test, was found to contain more than one-half of one per cent alcohol. The liquor was shipped from Aliquippa, Beaver county, to Frank Jackson, Greensburg. The car which contained 100 barrels of liquor, was confiscated by Exnicios and his men, and placed in storage where it will be kept until disposition is made of it by the federal court.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 27, 1922
Uniontown, Pa., June 27. No move will be made by Sheriff Shaw to remove the $50,000 worth of liquor, owned by Charles W. Johnson, from a box car on the Pennsylvania railroad freight siding at Church st., until he has received further legal advice from the Federal prohibition agent. It is claimed that, owing to the fact that Johnson was given a regularly executed permit to remove the liquor from Uniontown to Philadelphia, the sheriff has no authority to remove it from the car.
Nevada Daily Mail, Oct 10, 1922
BIG WHISKEY CASE AT PITTSBURGH, PA.
It was expected today that prosecution would be started of some or perhaps all of the officers of the Guggenhiemer Distiller Company of Freeport, Pa., following the seizure of the plane under orders of Internal Revenue Collector Blair. The seizure was made under the old revenue law and not under the new prohibition law. Internal revenue officers estimate that more than one hundred thousand gallons of whiskey have been withdrawn from the distillery since 1921.
The Pittsburgh Press, March 17, 1923
TROOPERS RAID MANY SALOONS
Troopers Conduct Sweeping Cleanup of Booze in 2 Towns
Pennsylvania state police today carried their prohibition enforcement activities to the city's border. Thirty-two strong the troopers swooped down on Sharpsburg and Etna and within two hours virtually every saloon, hotel and know "speakeasy" in the two boroughs had been visited. Sixteen placed in all were raided.
The places raided follows:
P. & W. house, Bridge St., Joseph Morslovic, proprietor
Etna Hotel, Butler St., Jacob Jorgovic, proprietor
Now Freeport Hotel, 17 Freeport st., Dennis Duffy, proprietor
Park View Hotel, 1881 Main St., Edward Rosemeier , proprietor
Mechler Hotel, 1856 Main St., Mrs. Adolph Mechler, proprietor
Summit hotel, 1811 Main st., Peter Callonella, proprietor
Reliance hotel, 1300 Main St., John Reddinger, proprietor
Saloon, 1211 Main St., Joseph F. Gawrenski, proprietor
Horseman house, North Canal and Clay Sts., Mrs. Catherine Altmeyer, proprietor
Saloon, Tenth and Clay Sts., E. Frkanja, proprietor
Union hotel, Eighth and Main Sts., Edward Lutz, proprietor
Saloon, 401 South Main St., M. Auski, proprietor
Speakeasy, 1028 Main St., Walter Dorrig, Negro, proprietor
Speakeasy, 211 Twelfth St., Marglot Grant, proprietor
Pool Room, 1026 Main St., Mike Lucasein proprietor
Alleged "Speakeasy", 1321 Main St., Andy Zeilonski , proprietor
The Pittsburgh Press, Sep. 21, 1923
POISON BOOZE FLOODS EASTEND
Police Launch Probe to Locate Source of Deadly Liquor
Believing the Eastend flooded with poisonous booze, Police Commissioner Jerry Deasy ordered a sweeping investigation today to check the flow of deadly liquor.
The first aim of the probe is to determine where three men purchased liquor that put them in the Pittsburgh hospital, suffering from acute alcoholism, the work of poisoned drinks.
The men were arrested last night by policemen from the Frankstown ave. police station in various sections of the district. They are: Claire Luffy, aged 21, Carrick; John McIntier, aged 55, 1776 Campania st., and Edward Roush, aged 48, 7034 Bennett st.
To cut off the source of supply and to choke off the underworld springs which send forth a stream of deadly liquor is the first mission of the police squads that are at work today, combing the district for the hiding-places of those who distribute and manufacture the dangerous liquor.
Within a few hours last night, eight men were arrested on a charge of drunkenness and lodged in the Frankstown ave. police station. The three men who are now in the hospital complained of acute pain a short time after being placed in a cell. A city physician was called. He ordered the men to the hospital. There it was determined they were suffering from alcoholism. Today hospital authorities reported the men out of danger.
The Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 25, 1923
CRUSADE AGAINST PEDDLERS BEGINS
Six men are dead as the result of drinking poison booze purchased in various places throughout the city during the week, the records of the police and coroner's office revealed, following the death of the sixth victim last night.
As a result, a police and detective crusade is in prospect, it being feared that there may be more deaths unless the flow of poisoned moonshine is cut off.
Samuel McCarthy , aged 30, 700 East Ohio St., found dead in the rear of 700 East Ohio St., last night.
Archie Wright, aged 28, Negro, 1218 Penn Ave.
Patrick Sweeney, aged 37, Oil City.
Ray Neelan, aged 28, 300 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks
Frank Kerelusk, aged 39, Hutchison Ave., Edgewood.
John Gillison, aged 56, Negro, Archer St.
The first of the deaths occurred Sunday, and the ratio of one a day has been maintained since.
All six deaths have been attributed to drinking the "near-poison" which is being sold in hundreds of speakeasies throughout the city and county, it is said, and a cleanup on a gigantic scale is probable.
Police raids throughout the week have resulted in dozens of moonshine peddlers being fined or sent to jail, but the flow of death-dealing liquor has apparently not been halted.
Numerous saloons where it is said moonshine has been dispensed, along with so-called near-beer, are said to be in line for investigation by police, and the Pinchot padlock system may be used, it is said, if other methods of halting the illegal sale cannot be found.
Eight persons were arrested when squads of police under the direction of Commissioner Jerry L. Deasy raided three places in Eastend district last night. The raids were made on warrants issued by Magistrate Ralph E. Smith, after information had been made before him that whisky had been purchased in the places.
A pint of moonshine was seized, police say, in the restaurant of Mrs. Laura Pallo, 120 Lambert St. She was arrested, charged with violating the Snyder act.
The next place visited by the police was the establishment of W. W. Frazier, aged 92, Negro herb doctor at 100 Paulson ave. Frazier, believed to be the oldest person ever arrested in the city for violation of the dry laws, was charged with violating the Snyder act.
A soft drink establishment conducted by Dan Martino, aged 20, of 304 Larimer Ave., and Ralph Morpo, aged 45, of Thirty-Fourth St., at 114 North St. Clair St., was raided and three quarts of moonshine whisky were confiscated, police say. Ralph and Morno, was charged with violating the Snyder act.
Three customers were arrested, accused of visiting a disorderly house. All of those arrested were lodged in the Frankstown ave. station.
The Gazette Times, Nov. 30, 1923
POISON LIQUOR CLAIMS EIGHTH VICTIM HERE
Another death yesterday as a result of drinking poisonous intoxicating liquor brought the total number of fatalities from that cause to eight within the last two weeks.
Michael Jenno, aged 48, of Collinsburg, was the latest victim. He died at 11 o'clock yesterday morning in the Mercy Hospital. Jenno was taken to the hospital Wednesday from his home after he had become violently ill.
The Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 30, 1923
POISON BOOZE VICTIM DYING IN HOSPITAL
Wood alcohol poisoning will claim another victim today, physicians at Presbyterian hospital said shortly after they admitted T. J. Angelski, aged 37, no home, when he complained to Magistrate Succop in Northside police station today that he was ill. He was arraigned before the magistrate on a drunk charge.
Angelski was picked up last night near Woods Run in an intoxicated condition. He was taken to the Northside police station for a hearing, and when the magistrate noted his paleness, ordered him to a hospital. Physicians there said he lapsed into unconsciousness a few minutes after admission. He will not recover, they said.
The Pittsburgh Press, Mar. 30, 1924
WARRANTS OUT FOR PITTSBURGH MEN IN RUM CASE
Bench warrants were issued today by the District of Columbia Supreme Court for the arrest of Russell M. Sackett, Ben L. Moses, Harry Sattler and Sidney Reis, who were named in connection with the indictment of Congressman Langley, of Kentucky, for conspiracy to violate the prohibition act.
They were permitted to appear before United States commissioners in their home cities and give bond for their later appearance.
Sackett resides in Philadelphia, Moses and Sattler in Pittsburgh and Reis in New York.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 19, 1924
FEDERAL AGENTS MAKE BIG RAID IN EAST PITTSBURGH
Twenty-six federal prohibition agents late last night swooped down on East Pittsburgh, raided nine places, confiscated a large quantity of moonshine, wine and alcohol and arrested 17 bartenders and four alleged proprietors.
The arrested men were all taken before Justice of the Peace Cox, at Munhall, where informations charging violation of the state prohibition law had been made, and the bartenders posted $500 forfeits, while the proprietors posted $1,000 each.
The places raided were at 717 Braddock Ave., 112 Electric Ave., 103 Beech Way, 706 Linden Ave., 209 Electric Ave., 714 Linden Ave., 801 Braddock ave., 835 Linden ave., 821 Braddock ave., J. Myers, R.T. Musliun, Nicholas solar and Louis Levin were the alleged proprietors arrested.
The Pittsburgh Press, May 27, 1925
PITTSBURGH BOOTLEGGERS LAUGH AS DRY NAVY STRIKES AT "BASE OF LIQUOR SUPPLY" OFF NEW ENGLAND COAST
"Sure! I've got lots of it.
"Don't make me laugh! What effect would a blockade of the New York rum row have on my supply?
"Most of my 'brands' are made right in Pittsburgh."
This was a Pittsburgh bootlegger's answer to the blockade which the U.S. dry navy has thrown about the New York and New England coast in another effort to stop the flow of imported liquor into the United States.
As he pointed to well-filled shelves lining a large room on every side, this trafficker in illicit liquors smiled. It was a confident little smile, the smirk of a man who knows the dangers of his calling and knows that he has them beaten.
The bootlegger is like his smile. He is confident. Every movement of his body, every line of his posture and the very cut of his well-tailored clothes bespeak confidence - carry the unmistakable brand of the man who gambles and wins.
He points to a cluster of triangular cartoons, "Old Smuggler," he says.
He reaches into a case on the floor and brings forth a well-wrapped bottle. He pulls away the swathing and reads the label aloud, "Peter Dawson."
"Non-refillable bottle, too," he adds and smiles again, this time the pitying smile that a beast of prey must smile as it crouches for the spring upon its unsuspecting victim.
He grasps the "non-refillable bottle." A few twists, a slight jerk and the cork, non-refillable top, seal and all have been removed. A few more twists, a little pressure of the fingers and all are back in place and the bottle is once again, to the unexperienced, the uninitiated and the over-thirsty, non -refillable.
He walks around the room. Each section of the shelving seems to hold a different brand of liquor or wine. All the favorites are here.
The bootlegger opens another door. The room is lines with bottles. Great cases of labels and stoppers in a myriad of designs are about the door. Two vats, one much larger than the other, crowd one corner. He smiles.
"See!" He draws a little of the amber liquid from the larger vat into a glass. He seized two bottles and deftly drops a sprinkle from each into the glass.
He draws a little more of the amber fluid from the same vat into another glass. He seizes two different bottles and again sprinkles the second glass.
And once more the little smile flits across the liquor seller's face. That little smile that says so much. All the contempt for the "suckers," for the "butter and egg man," for the "big man from Wheeling," and for the common, ordinary everyday Pittsburgher, flit across his eyes as he thinks of an every-gaining bank account.
As he thinks another smile runs through his eyes and lips. This time a grin of thankfulness - but whether thankful to the lenience of police or the folly of legislators, only the bootlegger knows.
He grows loquacious.
"I'll tell you something. Ninety per cent of the liquor, 'bonded' and otherwise, consumed in Pittsburgh is made in or within 20 miles of this city.
"It all comes from the same stock. A little different flavoring, a different bottle and a different label. That's the secret.
"The average liquor consumer today can't tell the difference between really good bootleg and the genuine stuff.
"My two men here are experts. I'll take a bottle of their stuff and set it beside the genuine article of the same brand and then I'll gamble 100 to 1 you can't pick out the bootleg from the bonded. And I'll gamble that 99 out of 100 others can't.
"You know this game is like all the rest. You've got to know your man. The average liquor consumer today is pretty much of a fall guy. He wants to be 'wise.' He demands bonded stuff. And we give it to him. He's to blame for the high price of bootleg liquor today.
"See that bottle of 'Old Smuggler' there. Well, the price on that varies from $6 to $16 a bottle when it gets out in retail trade, according to the trade which the retailer serves. It costs me less than $2 a quart.
"Of course, there's the 'sugar.' The law must be noticed if not observed. The 'honey' that goes to grease the skids of justice costs me more than my liquor material does.
"Here's a bottle of Gordon gin. That is, it's in a Gordon bottle. At the hotels, the retailers get $5 to $10 a bottle for it. It costs me about 50 cents.
No Set Price
"What do I get for it?
"Whatever I can. The consumer isn't the only sucker in this game, you know.
"Why that blockade of New York doesn't mean a thing here except that some of the cafes and saloons may use it as an excuse to jack up prices.
"The liquor that comes in here from the eastern coast is negligible.
"Some dealers will tell you all of their's does. Most of them will be lying to you. Some will be telling you what they believe is the truth and in a few cases such actually may be a fact.
"I know one café operator - with a reputation as a shrewd business man and as considerable of a 'wise guy' - who is paying top prices for liquor 'smuggled through the New England coast.'
"It is delivered to him in a car bearing a Massachusetts license. And after the delivery the car drives back to Braddock, changes to Pennsylvania licenses and goes out for a second load - of the same stuff sold the first dealer - but which will be sold probably $30 a case lower because the buyer happens to know it is made within 10 miles of his saloon."
And that's that.
The Youngstown Vindicator, Sep 8, 1925
FIRE DRY CHIEF AND 30 AGENTS.
Pittsburgh Prohibition Sleuths Ousted - Wouldn't Work Holidays.
Gus J. Simons, divisional prohibition chief and 30 of his agents, were discharged this afternoon by District Director Fred C. Baird. The director said the divisional chief and his men had ignored orders to report for duty over the week-end and Labor Day.
Early yesterday Director Baird said, he found but one agent on duty. Later he visited one of the downtown railroad yards and witnessed a gang of men unloading barreled beer from freight cars, unhindered by officers who were supposed to be on duty in the vicinity.
Director Baird, who took his post here only recently, said that during the first week of his administration he had decreased Pittsburgh's moonshine supply by about 3,000 gallons a day.
The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 2, 1926
FOUR ARRESTED IN PROHIBITION RAIDS
Four persons were arrested, two homes and a restaurant raided and a quantity of liquor seized as the result of prohibition agent activities in the Pittsburgh district late yesterday.
John Bonder and wife, restaurateurs, of 431 Water St., were arrested in a raid and were locked in jail.
The home of Frank Pulupa, 2216 Forbes St. and the home of Mrs. Bessie Epstein, 3055 Preble ave., were raided following the alleged purchase of liquor in those places by federal agents.
Lebanon Daily News, May 28, 1926
MONESSEN CONSTABLE ARRESTED FOR PROTECTION HE OFFERED TO LAW VIOLATORS.
Greensburg, Pa. - Following an investigation by county authorities and internal revenue agents, Andy Dudas, of Monessen is under arrest here, charged with extortion in an alleged scheme to obtain funds in return for "protection" for violators of the liquor laws. Dudas was arrested last night in Monessen. He is constable of the First Ward. The arrest followed a pre-arranged meeting between Dudas and Archie Negelman of Monessen. Negelman told authorities he had been offered protection for the operation of a 200-gallon still at the rate of $125 a month. Negelman last night was said to have handed Dudas two marked bills, one of $20 and one of $6. Dudas then was arrested and lodged in the county jail here.
The Gazette Times, June 6, 1926
EX-POLICE CHIEF NABBED IN RAID IN SHARPSBURG
Murray Hits 42 Places in Swoop in District - Find Still in Store.
Lawrence Baler, former chief of police of Sharpsburg, was arrested yesterday by prohibition officers when they raided a saloon at 1300 Main street, Sharpsburg, which they allege was owned by Blaser. The said Blaser was in the act of filling a bottle with liquor when they entered.
It was the second time within a month, according to officers, that Blaser has been arrested in liquor raids. In yesterday's raid the prohibition officers said they confiscated 13 half-pint bottles of "red" whisky.
Blaser and William J. Wallace, a bartender, were released under bonds pending a hearing before the United States Commissioner.
Raiding squads operating under the direction of Capt. W. R. Murray, assistant administrator, made 26 raids in Pittsburgh and nearby towns. They said they found but few "dry" places. Among the raids was the seizure of a 100-gallon still in the store of Charles Infantino, on the Library road, near Finleyville. Besides the still they reported confiscating moonshine whisky and mash and arresting Joseph Infantino.
Raid Saloon Second Time
One of the first places raided was the restaurant of Louis Druges on Water street, a few doors from prohibition headquarters in the House Building, where they said they found two gallons of wine and a quart of whisky.
The saloon of Clark Klug at 1412 Columbus avenue, North Side, which was raided last Saturday, received another visit yesterday by officers, who reported confiscating 400 bottles of unlabeled beer. Other places at which search warrants were executed were the saloon of P. J. Brown, 1238 Juniata Street; saloon of Steve Unkmanic, 801 Fifth avenue, McKeesport; saloon of Paul Ade, 1904 Brownsville Road; saloon of Frank Weis, 406 Brownsville road; confectionery store of Herman Chatiner, 1412 Columbus avenue; confectionery store of Andrew Papale, 6248 Station street; confectionery store of Morris Sigman, 113 River avenue, Duquesne; Chartiers Hotel, Chartiers and Main streets, Carnegie; residence of Mrs. Goldie Lernes, 23 Elmore Street; saloon of George D. Murphy, 24 Cayou way, North Side; saloon of John Hornals, 1701 Fifth avenue, McKeesport; Central Hotel 35-37 West Main street, Carnegie, Harry C. Luebbe, proprietor; saloon and hotel of Bernard Logue, 255 Crothers street, Glendale; hotel of William Woods, 6334-6336 Station street; confectionery store of Bertha Harris, 212 Sixth avenue. Homestead; Hotel McKnight 2208 Fifth avenue; saloon of Peter Brown, 7203 Frankstown avenue; saloon and dining room of Howard Payton, 582 Mountain street; saloon and dining room of Frank Robinson, 6486 Frankstown avenue; speakeasy operated by Frank White, 27 Chatham street; confectionery store and news stand operated by C. E. Nicholas, 5425 Walnut Street.
The Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 27, 1926
ARREST LAWYER IN ALE THEFT.
Wesley Moffatt, Pittsburgh Attorney, Charged With Conspiracy
BULLETIN: John Quinn, 69-year-old dry agent and a former group head of the Erie prohibition unit, and Wesley Moffatt, an attorney attached to the office of John D. Pennington, prohibition administrator, confessed to the theft of over 500 cases of Canadian ale from a government warehouse in Erie. The confessions of Moffatt and Quinn were made to Director Pennington and United States Attorney John D. Meyer.
Wesley Moffatt, an attorney attached to the office of Prohibition Administrator John D. Pennington, was placed under arrest here today, charged with conspiracy against the United States government and obtaining government property from an Erie storage house.
Charges were made against Moffatt before United States Commissioner Roger Knox. Moffatt furnished bail for a hearing in Erie next month.
The arrest of Moffatt is the second in the government's investigation of the removal of over 500 cases of Canadian ale from an Erie warehouse here after Amos Vandeveer, owner of the ale, had been acquitted of a charge of rum-running and his store of liquor ordered returned to him.
John Quinn, former group head at Erie, is now under arrest in connection with the ale theft.
Reading Eagle, Nov. 23, 1926
Liquor Kills Man; 9 Arrested
Pittsburgh, Nov. 23. - Nine persons, including Mrs. Esther Walters, restaurant owner, and J. Landau, alleged operator of a still found in Squirrel Hill mansion, were arrested today following the death of Herman Mimi in a Water street hotel from drinking poison liquor.
Iva Lake, who accompanied Mimi to the hotel after his arrest, told police that Mimi obtained the moonshine at the Walters restaurant, located nearby. A raid on the place yielded several 5-gallon cans and a number of pint bottles of moonshine. Six men, who said they lived at the place, were arrested.
On information supplies by Mrs. Walters, the police raiding squad went to the Squirrel Hill mansion, where they found a 50-gallon still and several barrels of mash amid a setting of expensive furniture and draperies. Eighty gallons of moonshine were confiscated.
Those arrested were held for the coroner. An analysis was ordered of the liquor seized at both the restaurant and Squirrel Hill house.
The Beaver Falls Times, Jan. 17, 1927
DRY AGENTS RAID THE EAGLES CLUB
Prohibition agents operating from the office of John D. Pennington, Pittsburgh, raided the Eagles club, Ninth street, New Brighton, about 5 o'clock Saturday evening. The agents found, it is reported, twenty-five cases of beer, three 20-gallon crocks of beer and two pints of moonshine.
The officers of this club are reported to be Paul Allison, president; Walter Sleeson, vice president; William B. Little, secretary; Clyde C. Morgan, treasurer; George M. Nippert, Hiram Gordon and John Bush, trustees.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 11, 1927
SAYS DEFENDANTS CLAIMED WHISKY
Further testimony was taken today as to the legality of permits in the trial in federal court of John T. Hoover and others charged with conspiracy in attempting to transport 330 cases of whisky on forged permits from Uniontown to Pittsburgh.
Lucian F. Boring, of the postal department in Philadelphia, testified as to registered letters received in the Philadelphia post office concerning permits alleged to be forged. L. A. Bunam, of Richmond, Ky., testified that when the whisky was seized John T. and Charles Hoover said that it belonged to them.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 25, 1927
3 DISTILLERIES FOUND IN RAIDS
Dry Law Officers Seize Brewery and Arrest Seven Men.
Pittsburgh prohibition enforcement officers bagged three moonshine distilleries, and a wildcat brewery in three raids within the county yesterday.
Ferree Thompson and Robert Westman were arrested when the officers found the brewery in a barn on the Thompson farm, Southside Ave., extension. Over 3,000 gallons of beer was seized. Leonard Williamson, William Bittner and Richard Hauser also were arrested when they arrived at the farm in a truck during the raid.
Charles Olesky was arrested when the officers found a still operating in a chicken coop on the Library road, Bethel Township, and John Chappata was arrested for operating a still in a building on Bethel Road.
John Woods was arrested when the officers seized a still in a Sprague st. house.
The Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 8, 1927
REPEATING RAIDS NET RUM CACHE
Dry Agents Strike Fifth Ave., "Spot" Twice
There's an old adage "lightning never strikes twice in the same place."
J. W. Jefferis, of 3920 Fifth ave., doubts its reliability for he is at liberty today only after posting $2,000 for hearings before a United States Marshal. Dry agents raided his home Friday and Saturday and reported finding liquor each time. Saturday the agents found 30 gallons of alcohol, concealed in a concrete cache.
Country Club Raided
The Wexford Country Club, according to prohibition officers, seems to be considerably more than a country club. They arrested Edward Byers, aged 40, of 1014 High st., the club proprietor. The raiders reported confiscation Saturday of a half-barrel of beer and six pints of moonshine liquor in the club.
Three stills were seized in Wilmerding late Saturday, the dry agents reporting finding two at 134 Middle ave., and one at 130 Middle ave., the adjoining residence. They arrested Alfred Calette, 28, of 2 Miller St., Wilmerding, James Lombardo, aged 45 of 134 Middle Ave., and Vincenty Zalenowsky, aged 50, of 130 Middle ave. The first two were released under 1,000 bail and Zalenowski under $500.
Fifty-four pints of home brew was found in a car parked at Broadway and Center ave., Pitcairn on Saturday, according to H. J. Elstrodt, of Pitcairn and prohibition officers. A warrant was sworn out for Norman Deitrich, of Pitcairn, the alleged owned of the car.
A "moonshine" plant, with two stills in operation and a plentiful supply of its materials and product scattered about, was confiscated near Portage Saturday by agents from the Pittsburgh prohibition office. Julius Salustrini, aged 35, alleged owner of the plant was released under $1,000 bond for a hearing before United States Commissioner Ray P. Smith at Johnstown.
The Pittsburgh Press, Sep. 7, 1927
LOCAL MEN ARE HELD
Allege Others Took Their Liquor Without Pay.
An inter-mixing of bootlegging and hijacking on the part of four alleged Canton, O., and Pittsburgh liquor law violators was dealt with summarily today by United States Commissioner H. K. Cochrane.
After hearing the story of the Pittsburgh men, Joseph Krizmanich and Joseph Margolias, to the effect that they had been hijacked by Arthur C. Lucas and Harry Eggleston of Canton, Cochrane bound the four over to the federal grand jury under bond of $7,500 each.
The Pittsburgh pair alleged they arranged for the sale and delivery of a quantity of liquor to the Canton men only to have the liquor taken away without remuneration. The four men are charged with conspiracy to violate the national prohibition law.
Pittsburgh Press, Oct, 28, 1927
MOONSHINE IS SEIZED IN RAID IN BRADDOCK
Owner of Alleged Speakeasy Arrested by Prohibition Officers.
A raid on an alleged speak-easy at 903 Washington st., Braddock, resulted in the confiscation of 90 gallons of moonshine, part of which was display, prohibition agents reported. Alex Mendelitz, age 55, same address, was arrested.
An automobile containing liquor was seized and Morris Blaustein, aged 36, of Montclaire St., and Jake Sokol, aged 32, of 1852 Rose st., were arrested.
Four men pleaded guilty to violating the liquor laws and were fined in Federal court. They are: Philip Lerner of Pittsburgh and Frank Grdich, of McKeesport, $100 each; Soleat Griffin, Pittsburgh, $60; and C. W. Kosinski, Pittsburgh, $5.
Northside police made two raids last night and confiscated four stills and a large quantity of moonshine and mash.
The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 3, 1928
RAID MOOSE, EAGLES
Dry Agents Arrest Club Attaches, Seize Rum
Raids on three Moose lodges, an Eagles lodge and a Slavish club in Washington county by prohibition agents and county police over New Year produced wine, home brew, liquor and slot machines, agents reported. The attendants were arrested and warrants will be issued for the officers.
The places raided included Moose clubs in Bentleyville, Donora and Roscoe; Eagles' club in Bentleyville and the Slavish club in Roscoe.
Louis Harris and Russell Hathaway, both of Pittsburgh, were arrested in Monongahela City yesterday, for transporting two cases of whisky in an automobile, it was alleged. Agents are seeking the alleged owners of 105 gallons of alcohol found last night in a field in Fourth st., Braddock, where it was hidden.
The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 11, 1928
TWO MORE DIE IN GANG WARS
Black Hand and Bootleg Wars Blamed in Killings
With two men dead, their bodies riddled with bullets, the war among members of Blackhand and bootleg gangs broke out anew late yesterday and county and city detectives are making an attempt today to apprehend the murderers.
Joseph Luciasano, aged 32, of 80 Norton St., Mt. Washington, was shot and killed while at work in the shoe repair establishment of Pangallo brothers, 643 Broadway avenue, Stowe township.
County Detectives W. O. Alexander and Michael Ford expressed the opinion today the Luciasano was shot and killed by members of a Blackhand society who were seeking Joseph Pangallo who, with his brother, Joseph Pangallo, conducts the shop.
Three Escape Bullets.
Joseph Pangallo usually works where Luciasano was stationed last night when two men entered and opened fire from revolvers.
Paul Degiovene, aged 14; Louis Ceross, aged 20, and Joseph Formoso, aged 15, all of Stowe township, who were in the shop, narrowly escaped being shot.
The witnesses were unable to give the detectives a description of the two gunmen, who fled in an automobile, leaving a revolver in front of the establishment.
Joseph Pangallo had a narrow escape from death last September when a bomb was planted beneath the hood of his automobile in Wylie avenue. As Pangallo started the machine the bomb exploded and he was injured seriously.
Pangallo was removed to Mercy hospital. His cousin, Joseph Gorilla, of Cleveland, O., came here to visit him, and while walking near the hospital, was shot and seriously wounded, police say, by members of the society who placed the bomb in the Pangallo machine. The detectives believe the murderers of Luciasano had intended to slay Pangallo.
Shot Dead In Auto.
John Daniels, aged 24, of 25 Reed st., who, members of the homicide squad say, was a member of a bootleg organization, was found dead, his body riddled with bullets, in an automobile, which was badly damaged when it crashed into a wall at Fourteenth st. and Liberty ave.
Daniele, detectives say, is an Italian, and from the appearances of the automobile, he likely had delivered containers, it is said. The seat had been removed and there was clothing in the machine, which apparently had been used to cover the containers.
The Beaver Falls Tribune, Jan 12, 1928
TWO MEN KILLED IN GANG WARFARE.
Pittsburgh, Jan. 11. - Two more victims were added to the list of underworld killings in the Pittsburgh district today.
One of the slain men, according to detectives, was killed last night a short time after he or his companion who is being sought, had shot to death another man.
Two Italians walked into a shoe store in Stowe township and shot to death Joseph Lucisano, 32, an employe in the store.
Leaving the store they sped into Pittsburgh in an automobile.
An hour later an automobile, believed to have been the one used in the Stowe township murder, was found wrecked in Pittsburgh and in it was the body of John Daniels, an Italian.
The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 30, 1928
MANY WEEKEND RAIDS ARE MADE
Dry Agents Seize Liquor in Several Places.
Prohibition agents and constables carrying state warrants made a number of raids in Manown, McKees Rocks and Pittsburgh on Saturday night seizing a number of small stills and raiding several liquor establishments, reported confiscating quantities of whisky and beer.
Raids were conducted at the following places: Saloon in Chartiers ave., McKees Rocks where three and one-half barrels of beer were seized along with a pint of whisky and Jim Dorgan placed under arrest; a residence in Manown occupied by Joseph Snaeranotoyna where a 50-gallon still was seized; residence of Mrs. Vencent Cupiaisso, Manown Road., East Monongahela, where a 25-gallon still was seized; the residence of Joseph Marks, Boggs Ave., where a small amount of beer and whisky were taken; the residence of Carl Hendricks, Manown, where three barrels of mash were destroyed; a building at 300 Hamilton ave., Duquesne, where liquor with an estimated value of less than two dollars was taken and Mike Greicus and Thomas Conley, placed under arrest; residence in Ridge ave., where a small quantity of liquor was found and Jack Backer arrested; lunch room in Southern ave., where five gallons of liquor was seized and Joe Letesa arrested and a residence in Boggs ave., where one-half gallon of liquor was found and A. J. Timmins arrested.
The Reading Eagle, Feb. 26, 1928
14 PADLOCKS IN PITTSBURGH
Charged with having failed to have paid an income tax on profits from alleged bootlegging activities, Samuel Sussman pleaded guilty in Federal Court today. He was fined $2,500 and place under parole for 18 months, under $40,000 bond. The tax he must pay amounts to $30,000, including a penalty.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mar 15, 1928
ELEVEN TAKEN IN DOZEN RAIDS BY DRY AGENTS.
Stills, Liquor, Wine, Beer, Alcohol Are Confiscated.
Get Still in Dance Hall
Braddock, Homestead Places Hit in Minor Drive By U. S. Squad
Federal prohibition agents and constables yesterday and late Tuesday seized quantities of beer, alcohol, moonshine and wine and three stills in 12 raids in Pittsburgh, Braddock, Homestead and other parts of Allegheny county. Eleven men were arrested charged with violating prohibition laws.
In a rooming house at 241 McKee place, the agents reported finding a cutting plant with four gallons of whiskey, 30 gallons of alcohol and a quantity of wine. At "The Pennsylvania Sportsman's Club", 72 Walter street, they found 14 barrels of beer, 132 pints of beer, 34 quarts of wine and 19 gallons of whisky, and arrested Bernard Smith, 54, of 1712 Wharton street, the agents reported. A house at 225 Walter street, where William Artman, 36, was arrested, yielded three gallons of alcohol and a quantity of moonshine, the agents said.
Still In Dance Hall
Raiding a dance hall at Keown station, dry agents seized a 50-gallon still and five gallons of moonshine and arrested Charles Noll, 47, and raiding two adjacent houses in Webster avenue they seized a 100-gallon still at 2137 Webster avenue, where Jacob Dektor, 40, was arrested and a 25-gallon still at 2135 Webster avenue, where Mrs. Anna Kelley, 35, Negro, was arrested.
In Braddock, the agents raided Alex Mendelwitz, 50, at 904 Washington street, and seized 10 gallons of moonshine, arresting Mendelwitz. In the rear of his house, they raided another building and seized 12 gallons of moonshine and arrested Rufus Simpson, 50, Negro. At 1013 Washington street, Braddock, the raiders arrested Mike Sherman, 36, and seized 32 barrels of mash and 1,000 pound of corn sugar.
Get Beer In Ross Township
Five barrels of beer were seized and George Miller, 60, arrested when agents raided a saloon at 600 Amity street, Homestead. Lewis Wellets, 41, of Perrysville road, Ross township, was arrested when 23 cases of beer and a small quantity of moonshine were seized in his home and Tony Joe, 33, of Lotton street, Penn township, was arrested when five gallons of moonshine was seized in his home.
The Washington Reporter, Mar. 27, 1928
Pittsburgh Men Raid Canonsburg Moonshine Plant
Saturday last Prohibition Agents Albert Scales and A. McDonnell, working out of the Pittsburgh office, swooped down on Canonsburg and raided three places. Elmer Fritz was taken into custody, and 29 full cases of beer, five empty cases, one whisky glass, about two ounces of colored moonshine, 15 pints of beer on ice, three empty 15-gallon crocks, one capping machine, one bottle washer and one boiler were all confiscated.
Fritz was arrested away from his home and when the officers went there the wife met them with a revolver and defied them to enter the house. She was arrested for pointing firearms and held on that charge. Bail was furnished by both.
The Pittsburgh Press, May 9, 1928
PROBE NORTH SIDE RUM RING
Prominent Men May Be Indicted By Federal Jury
Details of Gigantic Liquor Conspiracy Bared In Investigation by Pennington and Meyer - Many Witnesses Called in Secret Session.
Former Bootlegger Has "Told It All"
Was Distributor for Ring But "Lost Out" and Then Became Object of Persecution - Raided and Arrested 31 Times in Brief Period.
A gigantic politically- controlled rum ring operating on the North Side is being exposed before the Federal grand jury.
Three score witnesses have already been called to testify and another score are in waiting. Still others may be called before the probe is concluded.
Politicians of prominence, members of the police force equally prominent and many others are involved in the probe.
Indictments may be returned today - and if they are it is probably that two of the most prominent personages of the North Side in a political way will be involved - but it is doubtful, because of the wide scope of the probe, whether the grand jurors considering the mass of evidence will be able to get down to a decision for another 24 hours.
These facts obtained today by The Press as United States Attorney John D. Meyer and Prohibition Administrator John D. Pennington went on with the most mysterious grand jury probe of recent times.
With an air of utter mystery and secrecy surrounding the entire proceedings; without a word either from Meyer or Pennington as to what the proceedings might involve, but with witnesses going in and coming out of the grand jury room all yesterday afternoon and up until after midnight - while prohibition agents with subpoenas rushed hither and yon, but mostly to the North Side and particularly to the Woods Run district, it was apparent that a probe, the scope of which had not been before attempted here in federal court circles was in progress.
Air of Anxiety.
At the same time there was an air of anxiety in political circles as a decision - or an announcement as to what it is all about - was awaited.
The confession of a former bootlegger - alleged to have at one time been the distributor for the rum ring - is said to have been the spark which started the blaze.
Out of the ring, classed as a cheater, this former bootlegger - a bootlegger by his own admission to Pennington and other federal officials - has been harassed over an extended period by the present powers of the ring, he claims, and has now come to the point - after losing $25,000, he says - where he "doesn't care what happens" and has "told all."
Among the charges made is that politicians control the sale and distribution of all moonshine liquor on the North Side - and in other sections of the city, too.
The moonshine is manufactured at an average cost of 37 cents a gallon, it is said, and then is sold at $3 per gallon.
It is necessary, according to the edict of the powers, that the dispensers of moonshine purchase from the ring. The alternative is to be raided and arrested. "Cheaters" - those who buy a little from the ring and more from other points where it can be obtained at a lower figure than $3 - are very harshly dealt with, according to the available information.
For instance, one of the alleged cheaters claims he was arrested 31 times in two years and at another time was arrested as a suspect in a payroll robbery in the city.
It is said an "authorized list" of those permitted to operate moonshine dispensing establishments on the North Side is now in the hands of the federal authorities. It is a list of those places paying tribute to the rum ring, it is said. Police are said to have winked at the operations of these places while raiding those who were outside the ring.
Saloons, confectioneries, speakeasies and other places are said to be on the "preferred list."
In addition to controlling the distribution of moonshine, the rum ring was also said to control the "good beer" of the district.
It is said near-beer is shipped into the preferred places and after its arrival a "shooting crew" follows it to put in the "kick." The idea is that in event a load of beer is confiscated it will be found to be nothing but "near -beer." However, a few hours after its arrival, at its destination, it becomes "high-power stuff" through the operations of the "shooting squad."
According to the man, who is said to have made a complete confession, he was in the ring until about two years ago, doing most of the distributing.
Banished From Ring.
When a disagreement came and he was dropped from the ring, the man claims he immediately became the object of strenuous persecution, being arrested one time after another and paying fines and other assessments until his fortune - $25,000 - had been depleted.
"What can they do with me now but put me in jail," he is quoted as saying, after having gone to Pennington with his story of the operations of the ring.
He was told by a police official that he would be "put out of business," he claims, and in retort said that he would have the police official in jail first. He now fears nothing, he claims, and has made a clean breast of all he knows.
It is said now that immunity is being offered those who will testify for the government in the probe, but this is not verified by Attorney Meyer, who thus far has been silent on the purpose of the probe.
It is said all the witnesses - many of whom are known to be bootleggers or bartenders, it is alleged - are asked a series of questions concerning the source of their supply of liquor, to whom they pay the money, etc. Thus far it is said only a few have refused to answer and contempt proceedings are contemplated against those, according to report.
Some of the "higher-ups" whose names are already said to be deeply involved in the probe, are reported today to be "shaky" as to the outcome.
It is said many have already started to build their fences for defense and have taken steps to show an incentive for alleged confessions made by some of the witnesses called. Some of them have already consulted counsel, it is said, and anticipate arrest momentarily, although according to the best information available it is quite doubtful whether there will be any indictments - if there are any at all - before tomorrow.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 19, 1928
In the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Pennsylvania, United States of America vs. One Packard Touring Car, License No. D55112, 1927 Pa. Motor No. S166760 B, Serial No. S23610 (Joseph Marks) No. 4540 Criminal Docket.
To Joseph Marks, 2120 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: You are hereby notified that on the 9th day of May, A.D. 1928, the District Court of the United States made an order granting a rule upon you to appear and show cause, if you have any, why one Packard Touring Car, License No. D55112, 1927 Pa., Motor No. S166760 B, Serial No. S23610, which was seized by Federal Prohibition Agents at the corner of Crawford and Forsythe Streets, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 3, 1927, while the said car was in charge of Morris Hoffman and Benny Zick and was being illegally used by the said Morris Hoffman and Benny Zick in the transportation of ten five-gallon cans of white moonshine whisky, with the knowledge and by the consent of Joseph Marks, owner of said vehicle, should not be condemned and forfeited to the United States and ordered sold or otherwise disposed of, in accordance with the provisions of Section 26, Title II, of the National Prohibition Act; and that notice of rule be given to the aforesaid Joseph Marks, 2120 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by personal service, said rule to be returnable on May 28th, 1928.
John D. Pennington, Federal Prohibition Administrator.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 2, 1928
18 Arrests Made in 13 Liquor Raids
40 Dry Agents Take Part in Sorties in East Pittsburgh
Forty prohibition agents took part in raids in 13 East Pittsburgh places last night. Eighteen persons were arrested. Intoxicants were confiscated in each place, agents reported.
The places raided, and those arrested are: 713 Linden Ave., Edward Loehr and Otto Loehr; 311 Electric ave., Thomas Worrall; Beech and Linden Aves., Thomas Barrett; 641 Braddock ave., Nicholas Trbovich and James Murray; 671 Linden ave., Hugh Cassidy; 836 Linden Ave., John M. Roth; 821 Braddock ave., John A. Ford; 706 Linden ave., Louis Mayer; 801 Braddock ave., Robert Zakraysky. Joseph Urban and Andrew Balint, Jr.; 649 Braddock ave., Paul Sandoral and Leo Krakker; 298 Electric ave., Bert Dugan, and 820 Linden Ave., Mike Cibic.
The Pittsburgh Press, Jun 3, 1928
LINK GAMBLING BOSSES ON TAXES IN RUM PROBE
Slot Machine Owners Face Prosecution
Vice Ring Concessionaire May Be Implicated by Grand Jury
Hearing of Testimony May Not End Before Last of This Week.
Vice-ring concessionaires of the slot machines in Pittsburgh face indictment before the federal grand jury, it was revealed last night as the rum probers concluded the fourth week of their inquisition.
This is a new and unexpected angle as the probe started as an inquiry into the alleged politically-controlled liquor ring of Pittsburgh.
But federal agents and witnesses are alleged to have produced substantial evidence of the existence of a graft ring that protected and controlled these gambling devices in the various ward of the city of Pittsburgh.
May Involve Many Persons
Federal law gives the government no jurisdiction of the matter of vice and gambling aside from liquor and narcotics, but investigators are said to have been able to prove that certain politicians and political leaders collected graft from slot machines and failed to make the proper returns on their income tax return.
This, according to reports, makes them liable under federal statutes and involves them in the alleged gigantic conspiracy that forms the underpinning of the political graft ring of Pittsburgh.
Completion of the entire testimony of the liquor and graft ring will not be completed before the end of this week, according to the rate of speed with which witnesses are being heard.
Government witnesses are said to have produced evidence that every slot machine in the vice-ridden haunts of Pittsburgh produces an average revenue of $20 a week to politicians involved in their protection. This is the information upon which the complete federal investigation of conspiracy charges is based, it is said.
Four of the witnesses who appeared before the grand jury yesterday were arrested in the federal building on charges of perjury. They were Jake Seblosky of 1838 Rose St., Philip Sufrain of 1831 Rose St.; and Joseph Menczel of 926 Madison Ave., and Mark Epstein of Atwood St.
The office of the United States attorney alleges that these men testified before the grand jury on previous occasions and when recalled yesterday they perjured themselves. They were each arrested on the charge and bail was set at $5.000 for trial in the district court.
Bond is Posted.
All the prisoners posted the bond and were released.
These arrests on perjury charges are the forerunners of a dozen or more indictments to be returned Monday or Tuesday, according to the present schedule of the district attorney.
It is alleged that numbers of witnesses of the many hundreds summoned to testify before the grand jury have perjured themselves and thus hampered the case of the government.
Day and night sessions of the grand jury will make the closing days of the probe as several hundred witnesses still await the call of the investigators.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 4, 1928
ARREST WOMAN IN RUM PROBE
Perjury Charge Made Against Fair Witness.
Mrs. Mary Dozak of South Sixteenth St., South Side, was arrested late today in the corridor on the third floor of the Federal building after, it is alleged, she gave false testimony in the rum probe.
Mrs. Dozak, who is the first woman to be charged with perjury in connection with the probe, was taken into custody by Deputy United States Marshal David A. Goldman.
Before the grand jury ends it session tonight, government officials believe, the first group of indictments in the rum ring probe will be handed down by the investigating body.
It is predicted that this group will number about 15 - all based on charges of perjury growing out of testimony given the probers by witnesses summoned during the four weeks of the inquisition.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 5, 1928
Editor of The Pittsburgh Press:
The proposed identification marks to be work by enforcement agents upon the highways will certainly be a joke.
An enforcement officer should always be in civilian clothes unless he wants to become a target for rum runners and who is going to take a chance of bootlegger's bullets for the salary connected with the position?
The position is one that is not acceptable to every ordinary person, and I imagine the department will have to draft men for the service.
If stopping rum runners is to be a reality I would suggest that it be given a trail in a manner similar to the old toll-gate system, erect a good substantial gate at intervals along the highways, station two or three real policemen at each gate "men like our state troopers," arm them with the proper arms and connect each gate with the best of quick communications from one point to the other.
When a suspected vehicle approaches lower said gate, and if the driver does not stop, let the gate stop him. This will cost less than any mode of enforcement that has come to my view and I am sure innocent people will not be shot at as suspects without knowing the reason for it.
Charles Smith, Sharpsburg, Pa
The Pittsburgh Press, June 8, 1928
26 PADLOCKS ARE ASKED BY PENNINGTON
Prohibition Chief Springs Surprise in Rum Probe
North Side is Hit
Twenty-First Ward Republican Club Closing is Sought
Prohibition Administrator John D. Pennington sprung a surprise today in Pittsburgh's rum probe when he petitioned Federal court and was granted 26 temporary padlock injunctions against property owners whose buildings house illegal moonshine sellers.
Thirteen of the places are saloons in East Pittsburgh and Wilmerding, while the remaining 13 are located in Pittsburgh proper.
While the dry chieftain struck hardest at the East Pittsburgh district in the padlock petitions, the North Side felt the blow.
Club is Hit
Most prominent among the North Side places was the Twenty-first Ward Republican club, located at 1437 Beaver Ave. Six other places in the district are also named in the injunction.
Included in today's witness list were 25 bank officials, who were questioned regarding the accounts of certain persons who will probably be named in the indictments, which are scheduled to be returned tomorrow.
Will Name 200
Tomorrow's indictments are reported to include the names of more than 200 police, politicians and bootleggers, against whom evidence has been presented during the five weeks the grand jury has been in session.
The places, names, the owner and the proprietors of the places named in today's padlock injunctions follow:
E. and O. Loehr, proprietor, 713 Linden ave., saloon; Sarah Golden, owner, East Pittsburgh
Bert Dugan and R. Aiello, proprietors, 298 Electric Ave., saloon; Louis Sedler, owner, East Pittsburgh
William Leidman, proprietor, 6 W. General Robinson St., bar room and cabaret; Sarah A. Thornton, owner.
J. L. Rooney, proprietor, 528 W. General Robinson St., saloon, Margaret Rooney, owner
Andrew Lojan, proprietor, 1319 Penn ave., saloon; A. L. Lowrie, Mrs. Mary S. C. Brace, Mrs. Daisie S. C. Heck, Edwin S. Craig, George L. Craig, Percy L. Craig and Pressly T. Craig, owners.
Nick Manica, proprietor, 7143 Frankstown ave., saloon; Benjamin Pearlman, owner
Gambling House Claim
George Kokinakis, proprietor, 34 E. Lacock St., coffee house, gambling house and club in rear; George A. Stratigos, owner.
P. Sandoral and Leo Kraker, proprietors, 649 Braddock ave., saloon and hotel; Paul Sandoral, owner, East Pittsburgh
Patsy Tauro, proprietor, 6380 Penn ave., grocery store, drinking room in rear; John H. Sawert, owner.
A. E. Winkler, proprietor, 710 Linden ave., saloon; Lazarus Simon, owner, East Pittsburgh
Louis Mayer, proprietor, 706 Linden ave., saloon and hotel; Julius Weiss, owner, East Pittsburgh
Thomas Worrall, proprietor, 311-311 1/2 Electric ave., saloon; Lena Klein, owner, East Pittsburgh
J. A. Pord, proprietor, 821 Braddock ave., East Pittsburg, saloon; Carl T. Siebert, owner
A. L. Daily, proprietor, 22 Cajou way, club; Emily Brown, owner
Joseph DeAngelo, proprietor, 612 East Diamond St., saloon; M. Bovegno and Anna Bovegno, owners.
Julius Peduzzi and Frank Tucker, proprietors, Herman and Station sts., Wilmerding, saloon; George W. Redfern, Margaret A. Jones, Catherine M. Undercoffer and Sarah E. Fullmer, owners
John W. Acker, proprietor, 7203 Frankstown ave., saloon; William C. Heins, owner
Michael Leahy, proprietor, 1100 Beaver ave., saloon; Susan Donics, owner.
Felix Semask, proprietor, 1274 Ridge ave., saloon; Joseph G. Profeta and Josephine S. Profeta, owners.
Frank Donnelly, individual proprietor, 1437 Beaver ave., club; doing business as the Twenty-first Ward Republican Club, and Gregor Kudlak, owner.
Tom Barrett, proprietor, Beach and Linden aves., East Pittsburgh, saloon and hotel; Simo T. Musulin, owner
J. Urban, R. Zakravsky and A. Balint, proprietors, 801 Braddock ave., East Pittsburgh, saloon and hotel, Michael Joyce, owner.
Hugh Cassidy, proprietor, 671 Linden Ave., East Pittsburgh, saloon; Ida L. Stambaugh, owner
J. M. Roth, J. Rowe and M. Gross, proprietors, 836 Linden ave., East Pittsburgh, saloon, restaurant and hotel; William N. Weaver, owner
M. Zegio and F. Niehl, proprietors, 820 Linden ave., East Pittsburgh, saloon; Max Miller and Elizabeth Miller, owners.
M. Trbovitzh, J. Murray and J. Schadel, proprietors, 641 Braddock ave., East Pittsburgh, saloon and café; Dmitar Ciganovic, Dragic Vukelic and Toma Niksik, owners.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 9, 1928
FIVE REPUBLICAN WART CHAIRMEN, TWO POLICE MAGISTRATES ALSO HIT
Federal Investigators Make Report on Greatest Liquor Probe Ever Conducted; Put 167 Persons in One Blanket Indictment as North Side and "Strip" District Wards Are Cleaned Up; Arrests Ordered.
As a climax to one of the most sweeping liquor conspiracy investigations ever held since the advent of prohibition, the federal grand jury here today returned indictments against 167 persons as being involved in a gigantic rum ring which dictated the liquor business of the city of Pittsburgh.
Among the 167 were Peter P. Walsh, superintendent of police; three of his police inspectors, John J. McArdle of the South Side, Charles Faulkner of the North Side, and Joseph Elsner of the "Strip" wards; five ward chairmen of the Republican party, including John O'Donnells of the Twenty-second ward, Sam Grenet of the Twenty-sevenths war, Justus Schradel of the Twenty-fourth ward, Francis Kirley of the Sixteenth ward and William Herd of the Twenty-first ward, and two police magistrates, John W. Orie and John J. Sweeney.
In addition, 12 police lieutenants, John J. Lynch, John Loebig (retired), James J. Callahan, Patrick Dixon, John H. Schnorr, John Early, John Joyce, John Dye, John M. Vandall and Samuel Graham were among those who must go on trial in Federal court.
Virtually every section of the city was hit in the presentment of the grand jury. The North Side and "Strip" districts were especially hit hard.
Scores of alleged liquor peddlers, alleged "fix men, "go-betweens," minor politicians and four patrolmen were caught in the huge net which was dragged in by the federal authorities.
Strikes At Rum Ring Heart
The grand jury's return strikes at the very heart of a rum ring that has gripped the city for the past two years or more, according to federal officials.
It is a clean-up, the scope of which has never before been attempted, and is, in effect, the answer John D. Pennington, prohibition administrator for this district, and his assistant, Joseph A. Frayne, to threats and efforts at intimidation that have swamped them almost ever since they took office here and started to fit the moonshine ring that has been operating with police and political backing , it is charged throughout the city.
167 In One Indictment
One blanket indictment charging conspiracy to violate the prohibition law was returned. It named 167 individuals and was supported by four sub charges - conspiracy to manufacture intoxicating liquor, conspiracy to sell, conspiracy to transport and conspiracy to possess.
Bail Totals $835,000
Bail for those indicted will total $835,000, according to federal officials.
The bonds demanded will be $5,000 and $10,000, the lesser amount for the lesser personages and the larger for the more prominent.
The following are the persons indicted today by the United States grand jury as being implicated in a huge liquor conspiracy in the city of Pittsburgh:
Luke Sullivan, John W. Orie, Stanley Orie, Luke Hannan, Patrick O'Malley, Thomas O'Malley, "Moo" O'Malley, Frank DeLuce, Patrick Meehan, Frank Chlasta, John Pescke, Walter Stec, Charles Wolf, Steve Olekszak, Thomas Weist, Ignac Olekszak, Patrick Dixon, Stanley Schelecki, John Burke, Martin Gradi, John H. Schnurr, Joseph J. Elsner, John Dye, Charles J. Stedler, Darby Hicks, Harry Nehf, Robert Scarbar.
Named in the North Side Indictments were:
Joseph Abbott, David J. Adams, Simon Albert, Mike Ammato, Edward J. Arthurs, Charles H. Birger, Anthony Bittner, Herman Bioedel, Charles W. Bott, Martin J. Burke, James J. Callahan, Eugene Cappi, Regis Carr, Joseph A. Courtney, John Crnkovic, James DeAngelo, Joseph DeAngelo, Charles DePalma, Elliott Donnelly, Jack Duffy, Walter Etter.
Charles Faulkner, Alfred W. Forney, Angelo Gangelier, Harry Blick, Samuel Graham, Samuel J. Grenet, John Hannon, John Harkins, Otto Heck, William Herd, Edward Horigan, Thomas C. Johnson, Charles Jupinko, Sam Lagvatra, Galagera Laverde, Joseph Laverde, John Loebig, Lieut. John J. Lynch, John J. Lyons.
Daniel McLaughlin, James McNally, George Miladin, John Miller, Stefano Monastero, William Moore, Lieut. Edward J. Moser, Patrick Murphy, John J. O'Donnell, Henry Oermann, Herbert A. Ohl, Thomas Oliffe, Joseph Parks, Sam Pellegrino, Sam J. Pinello, Edward Quinn, Oscar Reister, John Risko, Michael Rogan, Edward D. Rosensteel, Frank Russo, Justus Schradle, Matthew Shine, Benjamin Shor, Augustine Skasik, Benedict Skasik, Fred Stratman, Norman G. Teske, Arnold Thornburg, John Tito, Benjamin Wagner, Alex Weinstein and Thomas Wills.
East End indictments were: Joseph Bove, Joseph Brown, Mike DeRosa, Jr., Mike DeRosa, Sr., Patrick Miele, Frank Ruscella, Anthony M. Thomas, John L. Thomas, Dominic Vigilietaa and Simon Bluestone.
Indicted for South Side operations were:
John Early, Mickey Meyers, Gus Meyers, Joe Meyers, Sam Meyers alias James Daley, James Swift alias John Adams, John J. McArdle, Francis Kirley, Anthony Orpikowski, Joseph Levandusky, Pete Hiland, James Regan, Patrick McArdle, James L. Challis, John Joyce, John M. Vandall, John Miller, Charles Casey, alias R. G. Barnes, alias W. W. Smith, alias M J. Harkin, alias J. W. Webb, alias John Brown John Weiner, alias Redd, alias Fats, alias Pop, alias Jock, alias W. H. Martin, alias J. A. Smith, alias A. H. Jackson, Chappie Burke Cyril K. Schleicher, John Smith, Peter J. McGann, alias John Harris; George Smith, Edward L. Smith, Jack Constantine, George Altmeyer, alias George Anderson; William Parchman, Joseph Tito, Frank Priorie, Herbert A. Ohl, J. N. Maisey, Walter Dimmick, James J. O'Brien and John Sweeney.
In the downtown the following were indicted:
Peter P. Walsh, Alfred W. Forney, John Schneider, _____ Winkler, Bus Moffett, Murph Kelly, E. C. Campbell, Carl Campbell, Robert Nelson, Hoops Nelson, Harry Rothman, Charles Foster.
Charles Berger, Sam Caplan, John B. Wall, John E. Wall Jr., Robert Comie alias Robert Johnson, Frank DePietro, Simon Alpert, Earl Long, Richard S. Reilly, Chic Robinson, John Maginnes, L. D. Campbell
Max Solomon, Joseph V. Jeffries.
What the U.S. Charges In Rum Probe.
"Overt acts" charged by the government in its indictments against the more prominent of the 170 names were as follows"
PETER P. WALSH, Superintendent of Police.
During the years 1926 and 1927 the defendant Peter P. Walsh, was superintendent of police in the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and in the western district of Pennsylvania, and did know and permit certain dealings in concessions for the unlawful traffic in intoxicating liquor by various persons within the said city of Pittsburgh.
ALFRED W. FORNEY, Alleged Concessionaire.
Alfred W. Forney, at Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, on various occasions during the years 1926 and 1927 did install in confectionery stores, saloons and other places where intoxicating liquor was being sold illegally, certain gambling machines, known as "slot machines" and did promise protection from arrest for the possession of said machines and the traffic in intoxicating liquor to the proprietors of said places.
JOHN EARLY, Police Lieutenant
On or about Feb. 1, 1927, the defendants John Early and James L. Challis conducted a raid on the premises at 2328 Arlington ave., Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pa.
LUKE SULLIVAN, Member of Legislature
That between Sept. 1, 1925 and June 7, 1928 at Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, the defendants, Luke Sullivan, Stanley Orie and Luke Hannan solicited orders for moonshine whisky and promised protection to the buyers of the same; that Charles J. Stedler, John Burke, Thomas Weist, John Pescke, Frank Chlasta, Stanley Olekszak, Ignac Olekszak and Darby Hicks delivered said whisky to various persons who had ordered the same from the defendants Luke Sullivan, Stanley Orie and Luke Hannan, and thereafter Martin, Gradi, Patrick Meenan, Walter Stec and Charles Wolf collected the price therefor from said purchasers.
PAT O'MALLEY, Strip Political Leader; JOSEPH J. ELSNER, Police Inspector; JOHN DYE, Police Lieutenant; JOHN H. SCHNORR, Police Lieutenant.
Between Sept 1, 1925 and June 7, 1928, the defendants, Luke Sullivan, John W. Orie, Stanley Orie, Luke Hannan, Patrick O'Malley, Thomas O'Malley, "Moo" O'Malley, Frank DeLuce, Patrick Meehan, Frank Chlasta, John Pescke, Walter Stec, Charles Wolf, Steve Olekszak, Thomas Weist, Ignac Olekszak, Patrick Dixon, Stanley Schelecki, John Burke, Martin Gradi, John H. Schnorr, Joseph J. Elsner, John Dye, Charles J. Stedler, Darby Hicks, Harry Nehf, and Robert Scarbar, at Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, did willfully and unlawfully have and possess and aid and abet in the possession of intoxicating liquor containing more than one-half of one percentum of alcohol by volume, to wit, a large quantity of whisky, for the purpose of bartering, selling, and transporting same, in violation of the National Prohibition Act.
PATRICK DIXON, Police Lieutenant
On or about Dec. 25, 1927, the defendant, Patrick Dixon, visited the premises of one Frank Kralich at 4719 Hatfield St., Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pa.
JOHN J. McARDLE, Police Inspector; FRANCIS KIRLEY, Sixteenth Ward Chairman
That between Sept. 1, 1925, and June 7, 1928, the defendants, Francis Kirley and John J. McArdle, supervised the operation of saloon businesses in the South Side of the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, permitting certain individuals to conduct the same and preventing others from operating.
On or about Dec. 9, 1927, John J. McArdle, one of the defendants herein, was an inspector of police in the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, and as such, sanctioned the operation of certain saloons selling moonshine whisky in his official district, to wit, South Side, of the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania.
JOHN W. ORIE, Police Magistrate.
From the first day of January, 1928 to June 7, 1928, John W. Orie was a police magistrate of the city of Pittsburgh, county of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and acted in such capacity, and at various times during said period held meetings with Stanley Orie, Luke Sullivan and others of the defendants herein.
SAMUEL J. GRENET, Twenty-Seventh Ward Chairman.
That on or about the 15th day of February, 1928, Thomas Oliffe and Samuel J. Grenet has a conversation at the Fort Pitt Brewery.
JOHN J. LYNCH, Police Lieutenant
That on or about the 2nd day of March, 1928, John J. Lynch caused John Harkins to go to the vicinity of the 3000 block of Preble ave.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 10, 1928
INDICTMENTS ONLY PREAMBLE TO GREATER DRIVE SAYS PROBER
START ROUNDUP OF MEN ACCUSED BY GRAND JURY
"W have Just Started," Says U.S. Prosecutor, As Police Heads, Politicians and Legislators Scurry to Obtain Bondsmen.
Walsh and Faulkner Are Accused
Three Inspectors, Two Magistrates, Two Member of Assembly and Twelve Police Lieutenants on List
Five Ward Chairmen Must Face Court.
Striking at the very foundation of the state and city governments, the United States attorneys and prohibition enforcement officials characterized the indictment yesterday of 167 persons in Pittsburgh's rum ring probe as "only the opening broadside."
"We have just begun," one of the federal attorneys stated last night.
Into the law making body of the state - its legislature - into the political family of Pittsburgh's mayor - the office of his magistrates - the government has struck in a might effort to wipe a political whisky ring from the municipality.
Government agents began the roundup of those who are named in the findings of the jury, soon after the return was made yesterday.
They include Pittsburgh's superintendent of police, Peter P. Walsh; three of his police inspectors, Joseph Elsner of the "Strip," Charles Faulkner of the North Side and John J. McArdle of the South Side district, 12 police lieutenants and five Republican ward chairmen.
Into the mayor's cabinet and state legislature, the probers reached to indict two magistrates and two assemblymen.
Samuel J. Grenet and Luke Sullivan, members of the legislature are at liberty after posting $10,000 bond.
Magistrate John W. Orie and John J. Sweeney of the official family of Mayor Kline are among those who must face the federal courts to defend themselves of the charges of being a part of a gigantic rum ring.
They too are required to post $10,000 bail or go behind the bars to await a trial in the United States Court.
Face Long Terms
Of the 167 indicted each is facing four charges of conspiracy - conspiracy to transport, possess, manufacture and sell - to violate prohibition act of the government. If any one is convicted in federal courts on all charges, he will face eight years of imprisonment in the federal penitentiary at Atlanta and fines which would aggregate in the minimum $80,000.
Superintendent of Police Peter P. Walsh refused to comment on his indictment. He merely said he had been notified of the indictment and would post bond Monday in the office of the United States marshal.
Bonds aggregating $835,000 will be required by the government before all of those named by the grand jury as a part of Pittsburgh's liquor ring will have their freedom. All the police officials, members of legislature and those who are considered the chief personages in the indictments will be required to post $10,000 bond for the trial, while the remainder will be given their freedom on bail of $5,000.
Allowed to Appeal
The ward chairmen who are alleged to be a part of the rum ring include John O'Donnell of the 22nd ward, Samuel J. Grenet of the 27th ward (also a member of the state legislature), Justus Schroedel of the 24th ward, William Herd of the 21st ward and Francis Kirley of the 16th ward. Schroedel is on the payroll of Allegheny County as superintendent of county buildings.
Grenet is one of the owners of the Fort Pitt Brewing Co., and has been a prominent political figure on the North Side for years. He has also been re-nominated to the state legislature.
Luke Sullivan has been a controlling factor in the politics of the "Strip" for several years. He also is re-nominated to serve a term as an assemblyman in Harrisburg.
Among those indicted is Alfred W. Forney of the North Side. He is alleged to be and is charged by the government with being the slot machine concessionaire of certain districts of Pittsburgh. The indictments state that he place slot machines in booze purveying establishments and promised proprietors immunity from prosecution for the liquor selling if his machines were kept in operation.
The twelve police lieutenants who are named as a part of the gigantic rum conspiracy are John J. Lynch, John Loebig (retired), James J. Callahan, Patrick Dixon, John H. Schnorr, John Early, John Joyce, John Dye, John M. Vandall, Samuel Graham, Edward J. Moser and Edward J. Arthur.
Stanley Orie, a brother of the police magistrate; John Pescke, a former prohibition agent and John Schneider, a constable are among the indicted persons.
Those named in the indictments that comprise the alleged rum ring of the North Side of Pittsburgh are led by Grenet and his alleged cohorts. They include Police Inspector Charles W. Faulkner and several of his lieutenants.
Meanwhile Police Inspector Charles H. Faulkner, the one police or city official indicted to issue a statement, comes forward with the following:
"My only request is that my many friends withhold their judgment until such time as my case is brought to trial and I have a chance to defend myself. I have a clear conscience so far as having any connection with a so-called political or police-controlled rum ring. I expect to be vindicated in the eyes of the people."
South Side's alleged rum ring was presided over by Inspector of Police John J. McArdle and Francis J. Kirley, the ward chairman of the 16th ward.
They operated the saloon businesses of that district with an iron hand, according to the government. They permitted certain individuals to remain in business while the others were forced out, it is averred.
McArdle had many underworld lieutenants in partnership with him. Those men collected moneys - they were fixers - and thwarted the attempts of the United States government in enforcing the law.
Supt of Police Walsh enters into the rum ring via the 1st and 4th ward indictments. He is charges, together with various other person, with unlawful and feloniously conspiring to commit offenses against the United States of America.
He, together with the other in the indictment of that district, is alleged to have sold, permitted to be sold and sanctioned the sale of booze.
"Strip" politicians are next in the list of those who must face the courts of the county to prove they are innocent of being a part of the rum conspiracy.
Luke Sullivan, legislator, John W. Orie, police magistrate; his brother, Stanley; Pat O'Malley, former ward chairman; his two brothers, Tom and "Moo," together with policemen and lieutenants and their superior officer, Inspector Joseph Elsner, are among those who form the whisky ring of that district.
Harry Nehf, a policeman, is actually charged with delivering the liquor ring booze on one occasion.
Elsner and his policeman are also charged with manufacturing moonshine liquor on one of the indictments.
In the East End district Mike DeRosa, Sr., blind Italian politician, and his son, Mike Jr., are involved. They are the alleged conspirators in the booze ring of that portion of the city and were associated with numerous other persons in carrying out the alleged violations of the liquor laws.
During the grand jury procedure of 23 days, the government agents secured information that witnesses were being intimidated and as a result the jury also charges and returns indictments against five men who are said to be ring leaders in the booze ring.
They are Mickey Meyers, Gus Meyers, Sam Meyers, alias James Daly, Joe Meyers and Peter J. McCann alias John Harris.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 10, 1928
"OVERT ACTS" OF INDIVIDUALS LISTED
Government Makes Specific Charges in Many Rum Cases, But Withholds Information in Others to Avoid Showing Hand - Officials are Accused of Conspiracy.
"Overt acts" of the individuals indicted by the federal grand jury are listed in the blanket indictment which accuses 167 persons.
Federal attorneys explained that in many cases no "overt act" has been charged against an individual. That does not mean that there is no evidence on the individual. One the other hand, it is said the government has refrained from listing these cases to avoid showing its hand.
The "overt acts" listed on the blanket indictment follow:
1. On or about April 15, 1927, the defendants, Mickey Meyers, Joe Meyers and Sam Meyers, alias James Daley, at Pittsburgh, did unlawfully and willfully transport and possess eight gallons of moonshine whisky, intended for use for beverage purposes.
2. Between Sep. 1, 1925 and June 7, 1928, the said Mickey Meyers, Gus Meyers, Sam Meyers alias James Daley, Joe Meyers, John Miller and James Swift alias John Adams, at Pittsburgh, did unlawfully and willfully transport, sell and possess a large quantity of intoxicating liquor, to wit, moonshine whisky, for use for beverage purposes.
3. On March 4, 1928, Joseph Levandusky and Anthony Orpakowski did manufacture and possess a large quantity of intoxicating liquor, to wit beer, for use for beverage purposes, at Pittsburgh.
4. On May 28, 1928, Peter J. McGann alias John Harris, and George Smith possessed 165 gallons of moonshine whisky at La Place and Soho sts., Pittsburgh, unlawfully and in violation of the national prohibition act.
5. On Oct. 19, 1927, Edward L. Smith and Jack Constantine did transport and possess 100 gallons of moonshine whisky at Pittsburgh, unlawfully and in violation of the national prohibition act.
6. On or about Feb. 1, 1927, the defendants, John Early and James L. Challis, conducted a raid on the premises at 2328 Arlington Ave.
7. From May 1, 1927 to Jan. 30, 1928, the defendant, Patrick McArdle, together with one George Schadd conducted a saloon at No. 2328 Arlington ave.
8. On or about Nov. 29, 1926, the Lotus Club of Pittsburgh delivered to Charles Casey, alias R. G. Barnes, alias W. W. Smith, alias M. J. Harkin, alias W. H. Walker, alias E. H. West, alias J .W. Webb, alias John Brown, a check for $100 for whisky, which check was indorsed by said Charles Casey.
9. Between Jan. 30, 1928 and May 16, 1928, the Lotus Club of Pittsburgh paid to James Swift, alias John Adams, certain sums of money, totaling $2,420 for whisky delivered by James Swift, Mickey Meyers, Gus Meyers, Joe Meyers and Sam Meyers, alias James Daley.
10. On May 16, 2928, the Lotus club of Pittsburgh drew its check to the order of cash in the sum of $158, which check was indorsed by James Swift.
11. Between Jan. 24, 1927 and Mar. 12, 1928, the defendant, Cyril K. Schleicher, received of the Allentown Turn Verein certain checks, aggregating approximately $1,260.
12. On Nov. 15, 1928, the Lotus club of Pittsburgh delivered to William Parchman its check for $225 for whisky, which check was indorsed by said William Parchman to Joseph A. Courtney and said Joseph A. Courtney indorsed and negotiated the same.
13. Between Feb. 7, 1927 and Aug. 22, 1927, the Allentown Turn Verein delivered to George Altmeyer, alias George Anderson, five checks evidencing payment for case whisky and totaling $570.
14. That between Sep. 1, 1925 and June 7, 1928, the defendants, Francis Kirley and John J. McArdle, supervised the operation of saloon businesses in the South Side of the City of Pittsburgh, permitting certain individuals to conduct the same and preventing others from operating.
15. On or about Dec. 9, 1927, John J. McArdle, one of the defendants herein, was an inspector of police in the city of Pittsburgh, and as such, sanctioned the operation of certain saloons selling moonshine whisky in his official district.
16. On Feb. 11, 1928, the Lotus club of Pittsburgh purchased whisky from the defendant, James J. O'Brien and delivered to him in payment therefore a check for $50.
17. Between the 6th day of Jan. 1928, and the 28th day of May, 1927, at Pittsburgh, the Manhattan club delivered to James J. O'Brien in payment for whisky delivered by him, its checks, aggregating $1,650.
18. That on or about the 28th day of Jan. 1928, one John Crnkovic sold and caused to be sold a quantity of intoxicating liquor to the German club.
19. That on or about the 3rd day of April, 1928, one David J. Adams, transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor in a Chevrolet automobile.
20. That on or about the 15th day of Oct. 1927, one Daniel McLaughlin transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor to the vicinity of Reedsdale St.
21. That on or about the 1st day of May, 1928 Oscar Reister, Fred Stratman and Charles W. Bott, transported and caused to be transported a barrel of beer to the vicinity of Ohio St.
22. That on or about the 1st day of May, 1928, Oscar Reister, Fred Stratman and Charles W. Bott transported and caused to be transported a barrel of beer to the vicinity of East St.
23. That on or about the 17th day of May, 1928, Oscar Reister and some person to your grand jurors unknown and for that reason not herein named, transported and caused to be transported a barrel of beer to the vicinity of Ohio St.
24. That on or about the 14th day of May, 1928 Herman Bloedel, and some person to your grand jurors unknown and for that reason not named herein, transported and caused to be transported a quantity of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Indian Rd.
25. That on or about the 1st day of May, 1928, Martin J. Burke and John Harkins transported and caused to be transported a quantity of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Preble Ave.
26. That on or about the 7th day of May, 1928, Eugene Cappi and Arnold Thornburg sold and caused to be sold one can of moonshine whisky.
27. That on or about the 15th day of Feb. 1928, Thomas Oliffe and Samuel J. Grenet had a conversation at the Fort Pitt Brewery.
28. That on or about the 2nd day of March, 1928, John J. Lynch caused John Harkins to go to the vicinity of the 3000 block of Preble Ave.
29. That on or about the 15th day of May, 1928, Thomas C. Johnson transported and caused to be transported a quantity of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Springdale Ave.
30. That on or about the 11th day of May, 1928, Fred Stratman transported and caused to be transported a can of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Madison Ave.
31. That on or about the 17th day of May, 1928, Oscar Reister and Charles W. Bott, transported and caused to be transported a quantity of beer to the vicinity of Ohio St.
32. That on or about the 18th day of April, 1928, Oscar Reister and Charles W. Bott transported and caused to be transported a quantity of beer to the vicinity of Ohio St.
33. That on or about the 19th day of Mar. 1928, Oscar Reister and Charles W. Bott transported and caused to be transported a quantity of beer to the vicinity of Ohio St.
34. That on or about the 28th day of Feb. 1928, Oscar Reister and Charles W. Bott transported and caused to be transported a quantity of beer to the vicinity of Ohio St.
35. That on or about the 1st day of May, 1928, Fred Stratman transported and caused to be transported one can of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Spring Garden Ave.
36. That on or about the 2nd day of April, 1928, Fred Stratman transported and caused to be transported one can of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Spring Garden. Ave.
37. That on or about the 12 day of May, 1928, Fred Stratman transported and caused to be transported one can of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Ohio St.
38. That on or about the 28th day of April 1928, Fred Stratman transported and caused to be transported one can of moonshine whisky to the vicinity of Ohio. St.
39. That on or about the 9th day of April, 1928, Fred Stratman transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor to the vicinity of Chestnut St.
40. That on or about the 3rd day of Mar, 1928, Charles H. Berger sold and caused to be sold a quantity of intoxicating liquor.
41. That on or about the 5th day of Oct. 1928, Charles H. Berger sold and caused to be sold a quantity of intoxicating liquor.
42. That on or about the 13th day of September, 1927, Charles H. Berger sold and caused to be sold a quantity of intoxicating liquor.
43. That on or about the 7th day of Nov. 1927, Joseph Parks and Fred Stratman sold and caused to be sold a quantity of intoxicating liquor.
44. That on or about the 9th day of May, 1927, Joseph Parks sold and caused to be sold a quantity of intoxicating liquor.
45. That on or about the 5th day of May, 1926, Thomas Wills sold and caused to be sold a quantity of whisky.
46. That on or about the 2nd day of May, 1928, Otto Heck received $1,652.50 from the sale of whisky.
47. That on or about the 5th day of Dec., 1927, Eugene Cappi received the sum of $60 from the sale of whisky.
48. Between Sep. 1, 1925 and June 7, 1928, the defendants, Luke Sullivan, John W. Orie, Stanley Orie, Luke Hannan, Patrick O'Malley, Thomas O'Malley, "Moo" O'Malley, Frank De Luce, Patrick Meenan, Frank Chlasta, John Pescke, Walter Stec, Charles Wolf, Steve Oleszak, Thomas Weist, Ignac Olekszak, Patrick Dixon, Stanley Schelecki, John Butke, Martin Gradi, John H. Schnorr, Joseph J. Elsner, John Dye, Charles J. Stedler, Darby Hicks, Harry Nehf, and Robert Scarbar, at Pittsburgh, did willfully and unlawfully have and possess and aid and abet in the possession of intoxicating liquor containing more than one-half per cent of alcohol by volume, to wit, a large quantity of whisky, for the purpose of bartering, selling and transporting same, in violation of the national prohibition act.
49. On or about May 15, 1928, Frank Chlasta did deliver to the premises at 6300 Butler, St., Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, a quantity of whisky and shortly thereafter, the defendant Patrick Meenan collected the money therefore at the above address.
50. On or about Dec. 25, 1927, the defendant Patrick Dixon visited the premises of one Frank Krahch at 4719 Hatfield St.
51. That between the 1st day of Sept. 1926 and the 7th day of June, 1928, at Pittsburgh, the defendants Luke Sullivan, Stanley Orie and Luke Hannan solicited orders for moonshine whisky and promised protection to the buyers of the same; that Charles J. Stedler, John Burke, Thomas Weist, John Pesike, Frank Chlasta, Stanley Olekszak, Ignac Olekszak and Darby hicks delivered said whisky to various persons who had ordered the same from the defendants, Luke Sullivan, Stanley Orie and Luke Hannan, and thereafter Martin Gradi, Patrick Meenan, Walter Stec and Charles Wolf collected the price therefore from said purchasers.
52. One May 26, 1928, Frank DeLuce, Stanley Schelecki and Robert Scarbar did possess 30 gallons of moonshine whisky at Pittsburgh.
53. On May 26, 1928, at 1723 Mulberry Way, in the city of Pittsburgh, defendant Robert Scarbar manufactured intoxicating liquor.
54. From the 1st day of Jan. 1928, to June 7, 1928, John w. Orie was a police magistrate of the City of Pittsburgh, and acted in such capacity, and at various times during said period held meetings with Stanley Orie, Luke Sullivan and others of the defendants herein.
55. On May 25, 1928, the defendants Thomas Weist, Charles Wolf and Walter Stec, unlawfully possessed 552 pints of bonded whisky and 60 gallons of moonshine whisky at 104 43rd St., Pittsburgh/
56. On Dec. 8, 1927, the defendant Thomas O'Malley sold intoxicating liquor, to wit, whisky, at Pittsburgh for the sum of $150.
57. Harry Nehf, one of the defendants, did deliver five gallons of moonshine whisky on Butler St., during the year 1927.
58. Charles Berger, at various dates during the years 1926 and 1927, delivered whisky to the Venus Hunting and Fishing Club, at Pittsburgh.
59. Alfred W. Forney, at Pittsburgh, Allegheny county, Pa., on various occasions during the years 1926 and 1927, did install in confectionery stores, saloons and other places where intoxicating liquor was being sold illegally, certain gambling machines known as "slot machines" and did promise protection from arrest for the possession of said machines and the traffic in intoxicating liquor to the proprietors of said places.
60. On May 18, 1928, Charles Foster did transport and deliver certain intoxicating liquor, to wit, whisky, in the First ward, City of Pittsburgh.
61. On or about May 1, 1928, Murph Kelly did transport and deliver certain intoxicating liquor, to wit, whisky, in the First and Fourth wards of the City of Pittsburgh.
62. Between the 1st day of Jan. 1926, and Jun 7, 1928, John Schneider, ____ Winkler, Murph Kelly and Bus Moffat transported and delivered large quantities of moonshine whisky to various retail dealers therein the city of Pittsburgh.
63. On Jan. 3, 1928, at Tustin St., the defendants Carl Campbell, E. C. Campbell and L. D. Campbell, did possess unlawfully 35 gallons of moonshine whisky.
64. On Feb. 27, 1928, the defendants, Robert Nelson and E. C. Campbell did unlawfully transport and possess 40 gallons of moonshine whisky on Forbes St., Pittsburgh.
65. On Aug. 29, 1927, the defendants L. D. Campbell, did unlawfully possess 24 gallons of moonshine whisky for beverage purposes at Pittsburgh.
66. During the years 1926 and 1927, the defendant, Harry Rothman, did sell and deliver to certain persons in the city of Pittsburgh whisky and other intoxicating liquors.
67. On Nov. 12, 1927, Simon Albert and Earl Long transported and possessed 30 gallons of moonshine whisky at Pittsburgh.
68. During the years 1926 and 1927, the defendant Peter P. Walsh, was superintendent of police in the city of Pittsburgh and did know and permit certain dealings in concessions for the unlawful traffic in intoxicating liquor by various persons within the said city of Pittsburgh.
69. That during the years 1926, 1927 and 1928, the defendants E. C. Campbell and L. D. Campbell, did solicit orders for whisky from various retailers in the First and Fourth wards of the city of Pittsburgh, and upon obtaining the orders therefore, the said defendants aided, abetted and assisted the defendants, John B. Wall, John E. Wall, Jr., Carl Campbell, Robert Nelson, "Hoops" Nelson, Robert Cromie, alias Robert Johnson, and Frank DePietro, to manufacture and deliver the same, and the said E. C. Campbell and L. D. Campbell and others of the defendants collected payment therefore.
70. That on or about the 25th day of May, 1928, Patrick Miele transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor to the vicinity of Frankstown Ave.
Hit East End.
71. That on or about the 17th day of May, 1928, Patrick Miele transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor to the vicinity of Frankstown Ave.
72. That on or about the 19th day of May, 1928, Patrick Miele transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor to Frankstown Ave.
73. That on or about the 25th day of May, 1928, John L. Thomas transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor to the vicinity of Homewood ave.
74. That on or about the 10th day of May, 1928, John L. Thomas transported and caused to be transported a quantity of intoxicating liquor to the vicinity of Frankstown Ave.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 15, 1928
MEYER DENIES RUM DEFENDANT HAS CONFESSED
Has No Overtures From Any of Accused Men, Says Prosecutor
Contrary to prevailing reports - that a member of Pittsburgh's alleged bootleg ring, of which 167 stand, indicted by the federal grand jury, had offered to plead guilty and "tell all" - United States Attorney John D. Meyer, said today that he had no offers of guilty pleas.
Meyer said, "I have had no overtures from any person, either their attorneys or those indicted, which indicates they wish to plead guilty to the charges made by the rum investigating grand jury."
The statement of the district attorney allayed the persistent rumors that an arraignment today was under consideration, when those who wished to do so, might come to federal court and place themselves at the mercy of the court.
Meyer Won't Trade
Trading the guilty pleas for concessions of mercy in sentences would not be the proper thing to do under the prevailing circumstances, according to the government legal chief. "The government believes and I think our cases are built to such perfect perfection that justice will not have been served in the proper manner if an concessions are made," Meyer continued.
Those who are members of the alleged gigantic rum conspiracy were speculating verbally and gambling mentally today on their changes of escaping the wrath of a federal court conviction. Many of them realize, they say, the slim chance they have of "beating" a federal grand jury indictment when the case is called for trial.
The nucleus of further investigation by the grand jury of rum ring conspirators was believed to be in the hands of the federal attorneys and government investigators today in the form of checks and other information seized in a South Twelfth St. café last night.
The café, prohibition agents reported, is operated by George Cepeli, who was arrested. Fifteen gallons of moonshine and a pint of whisky was reported seized. Agents were preparing to force open a safe in the place when Guy Meyes of Spencer st., one of those under indictment in the conspiracy, opened the strong box.
Checks and a large amount of money was found in the cash box. The checks were taken by the agents. They are said to bear the signatures of suspected bootleggers. The money was turned over to the alleged owner intact, but the government is retaining the checks in an effort to trace those named.
Simon Bluestone, another of the indicted 167, was in the county jail today, a prisoner of the United States. He was arrested by the United States marshal when he failed to produce the $5,000 bond required by the court for his freedom. Bluestone is the fourth man to be jailed since the probe ended. The others, however, have secured their release by posting the required bond.
Deputy marshals who have been seeking Charles Berger, also indicted, yesterday reported that he is a prisoner in Atlanta penitentiary, to which he was sentenced several weeks ago on another prohibition violation charge. Whether he will be brought back here to trail on the conspiracy charge has not been determined.
Prohibition agents who raided the store and home of Frank Trovato, in Corry St., Braddock, last night, reported seizing 45 barrels of wine, valued at more than $10,000. A carload of beer, consisting of 115 barrels, which was seized in Wilkinsburg yards of the Pennsylvania railroad yesterday, is to be dumped into the Allegheny river today. The consignee is being sought.
The Washington Reporter, Jun 18, 1928
SPECIAL TERM IN RUM CASES BEING PLANNED
Because of extensive investigations necessary for testimony to corroborate that of many witnesses in the Federal grand jury liquor probe, there is little likelihood of a special term of court during July or August for the trial of politicians, police officials and others among the 167 men indicted for conspiring to violate the national prohibition law.
This was the opinion expressed Saturday by government officials who pointed out that there is still much work to be done before the cases can be presented for trial. United States Attorney John D. Meyer last week declared he saw no necessity for a special term of court and had given the requests for a special session no serious consideration.
There is a probability, it was said, that a special term may be called between the regular September and November terms. Many civic organizations are urging the special term and are supported in their demands by many Pittsburgh ministers.
Four indicted persons Saturday provided bonds of $5,000 each pending trials, which made a total of 108 under bonds. One was Simon Bluestone, 7207 Kelly street, who was arrested Thursday and lodged in jail in default of bail. Friends went to his rescue and posted the necessary bond, as well as an additional $1,000 bond on another charge pending against him.
The others were Eugene Cappi, 2022 Beaver Avenue; Walter Dimmick, 84 Pios Street and Peter J. McGann, 2330 Reed Street. Deputy marshals last week went to McGann's home to arrest him, but found him suffering from a fractured rib, sustained in an automobile accident. He was assisted to the commissioner's office by friends.
Deputy marshals serving the warrants declare they are having considerable difficulty in locating many of the defendants as they are no longer living at the last known addresses and their whereabouts are unknown. In a few instances defendants are known to have left the city shortly before or after the indictment was returned.
The deputy marshals are being assisted by prohibition agents in rounding up the missing defendants. Of those under bond a large majority voluntarily surrendered themselves at the office of the commissioner.
The Pittsburgh Press, July 13, 1928
RAID FIVE PLACES
Eight Persons Are Arrested By Dry Agents.
Five establishments in McDonald, one in Sharpsburg and three in Pittsburgh were raided yesterday by prohibition agents, who reported seizures of three stills and large amounts of liquor. Eight persons were arrested and other are being sought:
Those arrested are: William Jesioilkiewsci of McDonald, William Machesky of McDonald, John Brokman of McDonald, George Rogers of McDonald, Harry Szutowica of Main St., Sharpsburg; Goldie Lerner of Wylie Ave., Joe Pawbitski of Penn ave., and Mary Jabowsky of Penn Ave.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 18, 1928
DRY RAIDS NET 11 PRISONERS
Ten Places Visited In District By Agents
Ten establishments in Braddock, Homestead, Millvale, West Elizabeth and Pittsburgh were raided by prohibition enforcement agents last night. Two stills were seized in Braddock. Eleven persons were arrested. Large quantities of intoxicants were confiscated. An automobile was among the contraband. The establishments, prisoners and seizures follow:
Store and dwelling at 1318 Bell avenue, Braddock, Elmer Thomas, two quarts of moonshine in a coffee pot.
House at 1103 1/2 River avenue, Braddock, John Breskovic, 10-gallon still and coil, one barrel of mash and three gallons of whisky.
Store and dwelling at 400 Talbot avenue, Braddock, Katy Lefkowitz, one gallon of moonshine.
Three-story building at 1128 Braddock avenue, Braddock, Dominick Figani, three quarts of anisette.
Dwelling at 1108 River Avenue, Braddock, Katherine Onderko, 25-gallon still, three gallons of moonshine and three barrels of mash.
Hudson sedan, in 1300 block in Clark street, Samuel Coldorni, 10 gallons of moonshine.
Two-story building at 1313 Clark Street, Samuel Bonn and Morris Bonn, 30 gallons of moonshine and one filter.
Saloon and road house in Scotia Hollow Road, West Elizabeth, Harry Chasi, 80 gallons of beer.
Two-story garage at 533 Dickson street, Homestead, Frank Smith, 50 gallons of whisky
Saloon and three-story building at 621 Evergreen Road, Millvale, John Pechirer, two pins of whisky, four barrels of beer and 23 gallons of beer mash.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 30, 1928
GRAND JURY REPORTS ON LONG PROBE
Fail to Get Sufficient Evidence on "Higher-Ups;" Urge Investigation Be Continued in Future.
After five weeks of investigation Allegheny county's probing grand jury today recommended the indictment of more than 252 persons - alleged members of Pittsburgh's ring of political grafters and vice concessionaires.
Few persons of consequence in the political life of the city are named in these the first indictments to be returned.
They have, however, accused to aldermen, Patrick J. Cawley, of South Side, and George S. Wilson, of East End.
Charles W. Collins, head of the Children's Service bureau, always represented as a force for law and order was among those who was recommended for indictment.
Alfred W. Forney, slot machine king and alleged millionaire gambling concessionaire, who is now serving a term in the county jail, after pleading guilty to a federal indictment, is numbered among the others on the indictment list.
Over 500 Witnesses Heard.
In returning the indictments the grand jurors reviewed the testimony of more than 500 witnesses.
The jurors say there is evidence of widespread graft and law violations.
Pittsburgh is polluted with vice and racketeering and some of the police magistrates of the city should be impeached, according to the investigation today.
The jury believes that it has only scratched at the surface of the most deplorable situation of lack of law enforcement ever revealed and promises to thoroughly complete its work.
The only policeman, who might be considered as acting in an official capacity, to be named was Lieut. John J. Lynch, assigned to North Side station.
During its session the jury found that certain persons, who they fail to name, could place slot machines and gambling devices in establishments and be sure of police protection. Others without this alleged protection would be raided on the slightest pretext, or law violation, it is claimed.
This same jury found that certain moonshine sellers could vend their ware and the persons to whom they sold it could resell the rum with reasonable surety of police protection.
To Rush Indictments
Three women were among those recommended for indictment. Their connection with a ring of political grafting and racketeering is not known, but they had been summoned as witnesses in the investigation.
Following is a list of those recommended for indictment and the charges on which the recommendations were based:
For malfeasance in office: John J. Lynch
For conspiracy to violate the liquor laws and for manufacturing, transporting, selling, offering for sale and having possession with intent to sell intoxicating liquor: John J. Lynch, William D. Moore, Howard D. Rosensteel, J. J. Lyons, Martin Burke, Joe Green, Tom Oliffe.
For bribery and malfeasance in office: John J. Lynch, William Moore, Howard D. Rosensteel, J. J. Lyons
For conspiracy to commit extortion and for extortion: Charles W. Collins, George S. Wilson, George P. Andrews
For malfeasance in office: George S. Wilson
For conspiracy to commit extortion and for extortion: Charles W. Collins, Patrick Cawley
For malfeasance in office: Patrick Cawley
For conspiracy to commit extortion, extortion, and malfeasance in office: Wallace L. Baker, E. V. Stokes.
For bribery, extortion, and malfeasance in office: John F. Smith
For perjury, and manufacturing, transporting, selling, offering for sale and having possession of intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes: Frank Balchunas
For conducting a lottery and selling lottery tickets: W.L . Reinecker, Harry Holliday, Leo McCormick, John Lauerer.
For maintaining gambling devices and being a common gambler: Alfred W. Forney, Joseph Bane, Earl Algeo, Michael DeRosa, Jr.
Norman Regelman, Harry Ludwig, Red Bauman, Thomas Johnson, Edward Paul, Harry Paul, Stanley Orie, William Hansom, Emil Steiner, Sam Rost, Mack McCarthy, Dale McCarthy, Lawrence McCarthy, Lloyd McCrory, Leo Rathke, Edward Ray, Happy Butler.
John Doe alias Buckets, Harry Klein, John Perezzo, Harry Rubenstein, M. C. Herney, James O'Brien, James Hagen, John Fraley,
Alleged owners or collectors on slot machines: Frank Carney, James Armstrong, Alfred Ammon, Peter Aletras, Theodore Abel, G. F. Antic, Rosario Arcadio, Joseph Andilini, J. W. Adaeri, William Balbaum, Conrad Bronder, Charles Bentley, Henry Botti, Fred Bochert, John Bucher, John Boyle, Tom Geary, J. J. Boyce, Catherine Bracken, George Burnside.
Harry L. Bennett, Peter Bubanovic, John P. Boylan, Walter Bandi, John Brussau, G. M. Barclay, Samuel Cooper, Frank Carriero, J. S. Correy, Joseph Carr, Paul Cush, O. W. Colgan, Michael J. Crowley, Ray Carr, John Dolenski, Ivan Dolinski, Michael Dimpl, Edgar Doerr, Steve Doxaras.
William F. Mehaffey, Charlotte Oleskeak, Andrew Pavlis, James Polis, Charles Pendley, Joseph Przygoda, William Paskalidis, Joseph Pace, Jr., Thomas Punckowksi, Joseph Paljug, Frank J. Regina, Joseph Rimondi, Michael J. Ray, Jack Reis, Charles Rasnick, J. C. Ryan, Michael Rutkowksi, Raymond Rowie, John C. Rowie, Matthew Ruzomberka, Albert Reisdor, William Reinstein, Matthew Rogina.
Theobald Roeschentahler, James L. Ryan, R. E. Stutuzman, John Schlegel, Joseph Schneider, Joseph Silan, Sam Sapp, Jack Sorkrot, Albert Shaw, Charles H. Sauer, John Shapte, James Skopetos, Thomas J. Stack, Frank Smith, Jr., Steve Senjan, William A. Small, George Smith, Mathias Schuetz, Patsy Tauro, John Timko, Richard Taylor.
Roman Thomas, Curtis Vicent, Jach Vancheri, Emil Voegele, Rudolph Vlahovich, David J. Wright, Andrew Woods, Tony Wingler, Reuben Wortzman, John Weitz, Winfield Winston, Max Wipkowski, Michael J. Wallace, Martin Yasko, George Zarr, Pete E. Zacharias.
Peter Zgurich, Jim Pass, John Puzak, William Schleck, Joseph Pavolic, Brown Pozega, Frank Pelch, James Pakoris, Anthony Martini, William Meiss, Edward Meyer, Catherine P. Matthews, Florence Kirstein, W. J. Kramer, Edward Hays, Matt Maronich.
Walter J. Dubski, John Calzell, Paul Echard, Fred Etter, Mark Epstein, Frank Erzen, Thomas Evans, John Emmerich, William J. Ennis, Mrs. Pearl Feskorn, Franc Franc, John R. Fries, Joseph Filpoic, Clem Fladung, Joseph Feldman, Theodore France, Joseph H. Goldstein, W. D. Gallagher, Thomas Gault, Howard F. Gross, Manus Gallagher.
Joseph Griffin, David Gorman, Sam Green, John C. Goller, Peter Gruber, Peter Huellen, Henry Hoeflich, Daniel Hohman, John J. Hajduk, Osborne Hanlon, A. M. Hollar, Thomas Hufnnagle, C. W. Isles, Sam Johnson, Gustave Just, Eddie Klein, Martin Kilkeary, Harry Kakis, John Kubstas.
Edward Keller, E. J. Kantner, Francis A. Kruse, John Lane, Hugh Lyle, Julius Lazar, John Lang, Tony Lugieli, Luke Lessic, Joe McBurney, David McClatchey, Frank McLaughlin, William McGall, P. J. McBride, Charles McKim, E.C. McFarland, Harry Mohr, Daniel Mauchline, Lew Mercur, James Matthews, Frank Maloney, Harvey A. Munn, Max Mallinger.
For manufacturing, selling offering for sale, transporting and possessing intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes: Harry Ludwig, Thomas Johnson, Fred Stratman, Stanley Orie, Harp McLaughlin, Charles Wolf, Walter Stec, Eugene Cappi, Theodore Torpy, Frank DeLucie, Harry Rothman, Paddy Meenan, Charles J. Stedler, Patrick Miele, Herman Bloedel, William Winkler, John Lang, Charles McKim, Matt Kovoch, John Shuster, Harry J. Zimmer.
For conspiracy to violate the liquor laws and for manufacturing, transporting, selling, offering for sale, possessing intoxicating liquor for beverage purposes: James Swift, Mickey Meyers, John Earley.
For conspiracy to violate the liquor laws and for manufacturing, transporting, selling, offering for sale, and having possession with intent to sell intoxicating liquor: John Harkins, Joe Green, John J. Lynch.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct 31, 1928
MEYER GIVES REASONS FOR INDICTMENTS
List Accusations Against State Legislator, Magistrate and Others.
Police Officers Alleged to Have Accepted Money For "Protection"
Sensational disclosures of the operation of the rum rings throughout the city, involving city officials, members of the state legislature and patrolmen, are contained in the bills of particulars filed in Federal court yesterday by United States Attorney John D. Meyer, in connection with the indictment naming 166 persons defendants.
The names of 164 persons, together with their addresses, are given in one bill, in which the defendants reside in the Strip district. All contributed money to the defendants, it is alleged by the government, so that they could sell liquor and escape prosecution.
Rum Ring Charge
Luke Sullivan, a member of the state legislature; John W. Orie, city magistrate; his brother, Stanley Orie, and Luke Hannan, it is alleged in the bill, solicited orders for whisky from persons who were promised police protection from Sept. 1, 1925 until June 7, 1928.
In connection with the indictments of Inspector John J. McArdle, John Earley and other defendants from the South Side, it is alleged, 264 persons paid money for protection in selling moonshine and also to prevent others, not members of the ring, from operating.
Others To Come.
The names of persons contributing to the liquor ring on the North Side are not made public. However, it is alleged in the bill that last Feb. 15, S. J. Grenet, a member of the state legislature, and Thomas Oliffe, two defendants, held a conference in the Fort Pitt Brewery, Sharpsburg, where plans were made for the manufacture, transportation and sale of beer and whisky.
The plans were carried out when a still was erected on the premises of Andy Puniak, 2823 Preble Ave., it is alleged.
It is alleged in one bill of particulars that J. J. McArdle and Francis Kirley supervised the operation of saloons in the South Side and sets forth a number of cases in which money was paid for whisky.
Between Jan. 30, 1928, and May 16, 1928 the Lotus club paid James Swift $2,588 for whisky, it is alleged. The bill also avers that Nov. 15, 1926, the same club paid William Porchman $255 for whisky.
The Allentown Turnverein paid Cyril K. Schleicher $1,260 for whisky between Jan. 24, 1927, and March 12, 1928, while the same organization paid George Almeyer alias George Anderson $570 for liquor.
The Manhattan Club, it is alleged, paid James J. O'Brien $1,650 for whisky between Jan. 1, 1927 and May 28, 1928.
In connection with the North Side cases, it is alleged in the bill that the Cecilia Maennerchor club paid John Crnkovic $508 for liquor and that Charles H. Berger collected $1,200 from the Venus Star Hunting and Fishing Club, for liquor, between Mar. 3, 1927, and Sept. 13, 1927. On Oct. 2, 1927, it is alleged, the Malsi club paid Otto Heck $1.642.50 for whisky.
The Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 13, 1928
FAIL IN MOVE TO POSTPONE LIQUOR TRIALS
Public Barred When North Side Politicians Are Called Before Court.
Jury is Selected.
One Pittsburgher Among Those to Decide Fate of 54 Defendants.
Defense attorneys for 54 alleged rum conspirators on trial in Federal court were refused a petition for postponement of the case, when it opened today before Judge Robert M. Gibson.
Accused of conspiring to violate the liquor laws of the land and forming a gigantic ring of political and police graft, the defendants include politicians, police officials and Republican ward leaders of the North Side.
Charges against two defendants, John Zito and Sam J. Pinello, will be nolle prossed, according to Assistant Federal Prosecutor Ralph H. Smith. The case of Joseph Miller has been continued to another date.
Last minute pleas of guilty were made by Charles Berger, Herbert A. Ohl and Henry Dermann. Four others pleaded nolle contendere. They were Simon Albert, Mathew Shine, Catagero Laverde and Angelo Cangelieri.
Among those brought to trial were Police Inspector Charles Faulkner, State Assemblymen Samuel J. Grenet, Justus Schroedel, ward chairman and superintendent of county buildings; William A Herd and John P. O'Donnell, North Side Republican ward chairman. Listed among the defendants, were four lieutenants, subordinates of Faulkner.
The 54 defendants, all at liberty on bonds ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, represent what the government agents have designated as the "North Side Rum Ring." They are charged with conspiring to violate the dry laws by promising and giving police protection to liquor peddlers and collecting huge sums of money for their efforts.
Three others involved in the alleged ring have entered pleas of guilty. They are Eugene Cappi, Arnold Thornburg and Alfred W. Forney, reputed head of the slot machine ring. Cappi and Thornburg have not been sentenced but Forney is nor serving a six-months sentence in the county jail.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 20, 1928
SEEK TO TRACE SALE OF 'GOOD BEER' AT TRIAL
Defendant in U.S. Court Identified as Handler of brew
Clubs Under Fire
Officials Testify to Having Made Purchased From One of Accused.
Government prosecutors attempted today to establish that a "good beer" organization formed a part of the North Side rum ring, 46 alleged members of which are on trial for conspiracy before Judge Robert M. Gibson in Federal Court.
Fred A. Stratman, one of the defendants, was identified by several witnesses as the man who "handled" the "good beer."
This is the first time he has been brought into the case, which involved Police Inspector Charles A. Faulkner, State Assemblyman Samuel J. Grenet, Republican political leaders and alleged racketeers on the moonshine trade of the North Side.
Through its prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Ralph Smith, the government has not endeavored to identify the beer as anything else but "good beer." It has not been referred to as "high test" beer, and the defense through Attorney Charles B. Prichard has made a point of this question in cross-examination.
Particular stress was laid on this point in the cross-examination of John F. Knight, who testified he was on the board of governors of the Allegheny City Gym Club, 719 E. Ohio st.
Knight had testified and identified checks that were paid to Stratman for the "good beer."
"How do you know it was good beer?" Prichard fired at him.
"Stratman told me it was," Knight replied.
"Do you know whether or not is contained more than the legal amount of alcohol?"
"No, you get fooled on beer these days - sometimes they tell you it's good beer and sometimes it's near beer," the witness retorted.
Previous to Knight's being called as a witness, Ray Crummrie of 3309 Columbus ave., steward of the club, was on the stand.
He also told of the club buying beer from Stratman and whisky from Eugene Cappi, one of the defendants who has pleaded no defense. Crummrie said he paid the alleged bootleggers for the shipments delivered to the club and received the checks from the board of governors, for which Knight was the chairman.
One check for $25 was identified as having been paid to Cappi for a case of gin.
During Prichard's cross-examination of Knight he endeavored to break down the witness' testimony that the stuff actually was gin.
But Knight was insistent and stated he knew gin when he saw it.
At one point Knight replied to the question. "It might have been poison for all I know, but I know it was gin."
Knight said a case of gin usually ran the club for a year.
According to the steward and Knight, the club had a barroom on the second floor and a gymnasium on the third floor. But Knight added "they don't use the gymnasium very much - sometimes the young fellows go up there."
Clubs seem to be the main feature of today's session of the trial, as William S. Peters, of Perrysville ave., was called and testified that he was chairman of the house committee of the Malsi Club.
Peters said the club he was identified with sold whisky and the best beer they could get.
The liquor at the Malsi was sold at $12 a quart, according to the witness. The membership list consisted of about 140 men, the records reveal.
Peters said in addition to his duties as chairman of the House Committee, he served as treasurer and paid for the liquor the club bought. Most of it was bought from Otto Heck, he said, and the price ran anywhere from $100 to $160 for three gallons.
Judge Gibson was very prompt in beginning court today, coming to the bench a full minute before the hour of 10 a.m. The bailiff formally opened court and the prosecution had failed to present itself. It was a tense few minutes while the judge sat there eyeing the empty seats of the government lawyers.
In a short time they arrive with a bookstand full of records and evidence and the case began. The judge made no comment on the matter.
But later when Crummrie, who was the first witness was on the stand and persisted in talking in a low voice the judge remarked to Attorney Smith, "You had better get that witness a megaphone."
Alfred W. Forney, confessed slot machine king, who was originally indicted as a part of the North Side rum ring, today was in closed conference with United States District Attorney John H. Meyer and his attorney.
Forney, serving six months in the county jail, for his connections with the ring, is believed to be on the verge of telling a complete story of how he operated his gambling devices with police protection in places that sold moonshine.
Meyer refused to discuss any issue of his conference with Forney, who was brought from the county jail by Warden John McNeil.
"Is Forney ready to tell his story?" Meyer was asked.
"I don't know whether I want him to tell his story." Meyer emphasized. He laid particular stress on "his."
Then he added, "if he would tell a whole and complete story, he would make a wonderful witness."
"Are you going to use him as a witness before the Federal grand jury, or are you coaching him as a witness for the rum trial now in progress?" Meyer was questioned.
"He would make a good witness either place, if he told his story - rest assured that I am doing my duty to the government, but I can't divulge my plans. It can be said that I am conferring with Forney, but the subject of the conference cannot be disclosed at this time," he concluded.
Steward on Stand
Attorney Prichard started the cross-examination of this witness by endeavoring to establish that the checks he paid out were not, according to his direct knowledge, for intoxicating liquor.
Rodkey said he never saw the stuff delivered and then Prichard moved to strike out his complete testimony.
Judge Gibson overruled the objection and noted the exception.
Identifies Cash Books
More testimony concerning the manner in which the Malsi Club procured its beer and whisky was given by Harold A. Rodkey, who said he had been secretary of the club four years.
A cash book, a number of checks and a book containing stubs of checks were identified by Rodkey.
When the club bought beer, Rodkey wrote "Beverage" on the check stub, the witness informed the jury.
Rodkey was among the club officials who signed the checks, he states. One check was as recent as April 3, 1928.
The witness assured the court that when he referred to beer he did not mean near-beer.
Paid $60 a Case.
Fred Grote, secretary of the Allegheny City Gym Club, followed to the stand.
He said the club bought beer from Stratman and whisky from Cappi. The prices paid, according to his testimony, was $40 a barrel for beer and $60 a case of the whisky. Grote then identified a check book in the possession of the government as the record of the payments he made for the liquor.
Joseph Moriarty described running a place in East Ohio St. from June, 1927, to April, 1928, with a Mrs. Krismanick as his "boss." The government had already called 101 witnesses since the case began on Nov. 13, and it expects to summon 400 witnesses in all.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 27, 1928
SEVEN ARRESTED IN FIVE DRY RAIDS
Three Stills and Much Liquor Seized By U.s. Agents.
Three stills and large quantities of liquor were reported seized yesterday by prohibition agents who made five raids in Pittsburgh and Millvale. Seven persons were arrested.
A 200-gallon still was seized in a dwelling in Clay way, where George Deiclice was arrested. Small stills were reported found in the homes of Thomas Perzynsky, Dobson St., and William Helbling, Clara St., Millvale, both of whom were arrested.
Other raids took place in a dwelling in Clay way, where Dominick Bongosa and Dominick Colangelo were arrested, and a dwelling in Jasper St., where Adam and Theresa Marsili were arrested.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 11, 1929
RUM RING CASE TO BE SPEEDED
Bi-State Conspiracy May Come Before April Term.
A speedy trial of the Pennsylvania-West Virginia rum ring conspiracy is planned by Government authorities provided the alleged leaders are apprehended before April when a special term of the United States court will open here.
A desire to get the case disposed of is prompted by a request on the part of a lawyer representing Sheriff Arno McClelland of Greene county for a speedy preliminary, indictment and court trial. The sheriff gave bail last week for a preliminary hearing before a United States commissioner here next Thursday morning. This procedure will be followed.
The case will be aired before the Federal grand jury which will meet next in Erie because a grand jury has not been summoned to sit in Pittsburgh during the special November term next month. The inquisition of the inter-state rum conspiracy at Erie will make it possible to get the plot before the trial court here probably in April. If anything occurs to prevent, the case will go over until May when a regular term will be in full swing at which a grand jury will sit.
Anthony Brogdan and his wife, Tresa Brogdan furnished bond Saturday before a Federal commissioner for appearances when wanted. This swells to eight the number of alleged conspirators in custody. Eight others have not been apprehended.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mar. 29, 1929
SEIZE CONTERFEIT STAMPS, BOTTLES WORTH $50,000
Two Plants in Hill District are Raided by Police Who Arrest 13, Including Alleged Proprietor
Two plants, one at 815 Locust street, the other in the 1300 block Our Alley, were raided by Police Inspector James N. Hoey and Center Avenue police yesterday and Wednesday night and seals and bottles valued at more than $50,000 seized.
According to police, the places raided house the largest supply station for Allegheny county bootleggers yet uncovered either by police of Federal agents. Stamps used in sealing corks on bottles bore an almost likeness to the legitimate. About 42,000 of these were seized, while the number of bottles will run into several hundred thousand.
Arch Martin, 28, Negro, 2318 Center avenue, was arrested in the Our Alley plant and carried several hundred bogus stamps. Police Lieutenant David Fitzsimmons and Patrolman Fred Lewis learned from Martin about the Locust street plant and with Hoey and Patrolman Walter Kaiser and Thomas O'Connor went to the Locust street plant and arrested 11 men. They were docketed at Jack Fibus, 19, of 418 Atwood st.; Nate Harris, 49, of 1901 Fifth avenue; Ike Danovitz, 46, of 5814 Douglas ave.; Abe Pearlstein, 27, of 430 Atwood st.; Joseph Ross, 28, of 1029 Webster ave.; William Kenard, 21, of 1828 Forbes st.; Harry Black, 54, Negro, of 27 Junilla st.; Dave Horowitz, 32, of 2221 Center avenue; Nathan Rogoff, 37 , of 2223 Webster avenue; Pete Gray, 40, of 5512 Margaretta street; and W. R. Bailey, 19, of Monticello Street. All were charged with being suspicious persons at Center avenue police station.
While police were examining the bottles and stamps the telephone kept ringing. Each time it was some bootlegger asking for a delivery of bottles. The brand was specified, some ordering with corks, others without corks.
At the police station police learned Danovitz is the boss of both plants. A guard was maintained at both plants and shortly after the raid on the Locust street place Oscar Mallinger, 26, of 133 Crawford street, came with some stamps in his possession. He was promptly arrested and docketed with the others.
Some of the brands named on the labels were local, while others were imported. A few of them were Old Overholt, Fox Chase, Continental Superior Dry Gin, Tom Booth Gin from London, Club Banquet, Oct Scotch Whisky, Golden Wedding, Old Judge, Old Smuggler, Gooderman & Worts Canadian Rye, William Penn, White Lily Whisky, Henry Faveaux and many others.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mar. 29, 1929
Fined $200 after Raid
John Dansak of Eighth avenue, McKeesport, was fined $200 and costs when given a hearing on a suspicious person charge before Magistrate James J. Lundie in McKeesport police court yesterday.
Police testified that in a raid conducted at Dansak's place they had confiscated a still, 25 gallons of moonshine whisky.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 3, 1929
ARREST EIGHT IN DRY RAIDS
Two Places in City, Five in Fair Oaks Hit by Agents.
Two raids in Pittsburgh and five in Fair Oaks were staged yesterday by prohibition agents and state constables. Eight persons were arrested. The establishments, prisoners and seizures follow:
Club room with bar, 5231 Butler street; Rudolph Weber, one gallon of moonshine, three pints of beer and one pint of alcohol.
Restaurant at 122 Third avenue; Valentine Becker and Louis Santon; one gallon of wine.
Dwelling at 3 Ambridge street, Fair Oaks; John Chaykowsky; one 15-gallon still, one barrel of mash and 20 quarts of beer.
Dwelling at 12 Ambridge street, Fair Oaks; Walter Jankovich, 20 quarts of beer and one ounce of moonshine.
Building at 22 Ambridge street, Fair Oaks; John Waykovitch; two gallons of moonshine and two barrels of mash.
Dwelling at 107 Ambridge street, Fair Oaks; Andrew Surowiec; half pint of whisky.
Residence at 415 Ambridge St., Fair Oaks; Joseph Karp, 57 quarts of beer and 80 gallons of wine.
The Pittsburgh Press, May 9, 1929
NAB FUGITIVE DRY OFFENDER
"Slim" Austin is Arrested After Long Search
J. R. "Slim" Austin, fugitive bootlegger and alleged key man to many prohibition prosecutions, for whom a secret nation-wide search had been in progress for several months, was arrested in Fayette county today by Federal officers working under the direction of Administrator John D. Pennington.
The search for Austin has been relentless for almost three months, during which time squads of picked men have constantly worked on nothing but his case in an endeavor to effect his arrest.
When he was taken into custody, according to dry agents, he was transporting a liquor laden automobile along one of the less frequented state highways. The liquor, the agents report, was concealed beneath the hood of the machine. The car was confiscated and the prisoner brought to the headquarters of the dry enforcement unit in Pittsburgh.
Admitted Dry Offense.
Dry investigators believe that Austin's arrest may be the solution of extensive and long-lived liquor violations in the western district of Pennsylvania.
During the time that he has been a fugitive from justice, the prohibition investigators say they have uncovered an unusual number of facts which they say will be used as evidence in his prosecution. In addition to the liquor charges standing against Austin, he must face the wrath of the Federal Court on a contempt charge because he is alleged to have jumped his bail after pleading guilty to a rum charge and then failing to put in an appearance for sentence.
Records of the government reveal that on July 1, 1927, an automobile containing 120 gallons of moonshine whisky was seized in Greene county by prohibition officers. The driver fled and the ownership of the car, it is charged, was traced to Austin. The government confiscated the machine but the case was dismissed because the driver was never apprehended.
Many Charges Listed.
On Aug. 3, 1927, Walter Rosenberger, George Crago and Austin were arrested charged with conspiracy to violate the liquor laws. Rosenberger pleaded guilty and was fined $400 on Feb. 8, 1928. The case against Crago was nolle prossed Feb. 23, 1929, after Austin pleaded guilty of Nov. 7, 1928. He was never sentenced on that charge.
During the litigation of the conspiracy case Austin was arrested by Mt. Lebanon police charged with transporting liquor. The case is still pending against him. That arrest occurred Nov. 29, 1927. Evidence growing out of that arrest resulted in another charge being made by the Mt. Lebanon officers - possession of Internal Revenue Department whisky strip stamps. This case was taken by the government, but was dismissed and the cause not entered on the records.
On Nov. 16, 1928, Austin and 10 others were arrested charged with liquor law violations. On Feb. 20, 1929, he pleaded guilty and was used as a government witness in the prosecution of the other alleged law violators. After the case was over, he disappeared and has not been found until his arrest today in Fayette county.
The arrest of Austin followed closely on the heels of the apprehension of Archie Negelman, former prohibition officer, who was taken into custody yesterday near Carmichaels in Greene county. Negelman is wanted for conspiracy to violate the prohibition laws and has been a fugitive for more than six weeks. He was arrested on a bench warrant issued when he failed to present himself in Federal Court here several weeks ago during the prosecution of his case.
The Pittsburgh Press, May 20, 1929
ACCUSES ENGELSBERG IN RUM TRANSACTION
Paroled Federal Prisoner Testifies to Alleged Purchase.
Testimony involving Joseph Engelsberg, Hill district politician, in the liquor business between November, 1925, and the ensuing year, was given by Charles Berger in Federal Court today, where Engelsberg is on trial charged with conspiracy to violate the prohibition act.
Berger is a paroled Federal charge who had been committed to Atlanta for liquor law violations. He was brought to Pittsburgh last November at the time of the North Side trials and testimony he gave resulted in Engelsberg being indicted. Shortly after the trials he was paroled.
Berger said he had purchased "bonded whisky" from Engelsberg.
"We had an argument over $300 Engelsberg said I owed him," witness said in relating their business connections.
New Castle News, June 3, 1929
Pittsburgh. - Archie Negelman, confessed bootlegger and alleged leader of the so-called Greene county booze ring was taken from the county jail under federal court order this afternoon for a two hour automobile ride with prohibition agents. The purpose of the ride was not disclosed in the petition presented to Judge R. M. Gibson, by counsel for prohibition administrator John D. Pennington, other than that Negelman was to identify certain locations, presumable places where the liquor laws are being violated. Negelman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violating the liquor laws and was sentenced to serve two years in Atlanta. He is awaiting removal to the penitentiary.
The Reading Eagle, Aug. 7, 1929
ACCUSED OF BOOTLEG KILLING
Joe Pangello, of McKees Rocks, was arrested today, charged with the shotgun killing of Steve Monastero, alleged bootleg leader. Monastero was shot down by gunmen as he was about to enter a hospital to visit a friend.
Pangello has been a well-known figure in what the police term Black Hand violence. Three attempts have been made on his life. Once his automobile was bombed and twice gunmen shot him.
The Greensburg Daily Tribune, Aug. 9, 1929
GANG MURDER SUSPECT IS QUIZZED
The questioning of Joe Pangallo, of McKees Rocks, taken into custody yesterday on a charge of murder in connection with the death of Steve Monastero Tuesday, was continued today by detective.
Monastero, reputed leader of a liquor supply ring, was shot to death by a shotgun squad as he and his brother, Samuel Monastero were entering the St. John's Hospital to visit a sick friend.
Detectives believed that Pangallo, known as the "ghost' may furnish the information which will help them solve 68 other murders in Allegheny county within the last four years. He has denied any knowledge of the Monastero killing, police said.
Pangallo won the nickname of "Ghost" because of the three narrow escapes he has had at the hands of gangsters.
The repeated leader and Luigi Lamendola, now dead, formerly were lieutenants of Monastero's operation of supply houses for bootleggers. The first attempt on Pangallo's life was made after breaking with Monastero. A short time later Lamendola was shot to death in front of a restaurant.
Sam Monastero has been held by police in connection with the death of his brother, Steve. He was said to have fired several shots at one of his brother's slayers. A trail of blood indicated that the shots had found their mark.
The Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 9, 1929
SIX TAKEN IN RAIDS
Acmetonia, Homestead and City Places Visited.
Raiding a place in Acmetonia, two in Homestead and two in Pittsburgh prohibition agents yesterday arrested six persons and seized a quantity of beer and intoxicating liquors.
Mary Broush was arrested in her home in the Freeport Rd., Acmetonia, after a pint of ale was seized, according to the agents. They said it was the sixth time she has been arrested on liquor charges within the last few years.
In Homestead, the agents raided two dwellings in Fourth ave., arresting John Dobos in one and Mrs. Joseph Frank in the other. Beer was seized in the Dobos home and 36 quarts of moonshine in the Frank home, it was reported.
John Phillips and Mary Phillips were arrested in a dwelling in Craft ave., where 12 quarts of beer were reported found. In a saloon in Liberty ave., the agents arrested Charles Uphoff and seized 18 bottles of gin, seven quarts of whisky and four barrels of beer, they reported.
The Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 9, 1929
RELEASED ON BAIL
Pair Held in Monastero Slaying Give Bond.
Louis Leone and Sam Monastero, both of the North Side, arrested by detectives after Steve Monastero was shot and killed last Tuesday night in front of St. John's Hospital were each released under $5,000 bail today.
It is stipulated in the bail bond that the men are to appear when wanted by Lieut. David Corbett, of the homicide squad of city detectives.
Joseph Pangallo, 38, of McKees Rocks, known as "The Ghost" because he seemed to be immune from bullets of opposing gangsters, is held without bail.
The Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 15, 1929
10 ARRESTED IN FOUR DRY RAIDS.
East Pittsburgh Visited by Federal Agents.
Four raids were made yesterday by prohibition agents in East Pittsburgh where the Western Pennsylvania volunteer Firemen's convention is being held. Another raid was made in Turtle Creek and another in N. Braddock. a total of 10 arrests were made.
Locations, seizures and arrests in Pittsburgh were:
store on first floor and club on Electric ave., E. Pittsburgh, 12 gallons of whisky, seven gallons of wine and four barrels of beer, John Francisville, Guy Volpe, Frank Pansan and Maley Volpe.
Building in Linden St., 128 bottles of beer, six gallons of moonshine and a gallon of wine, James Bennett;
Building in Braddock ave.; 21 pints of whisky, Mary Zakrowsky;
Saloon in Electric Ave., 15 gallons of whisky an d 562 pints of beer, Leonard Walsh and Harry McGinness.
The Volpes arrested in the first raid are said to be members of the politically-prominent Volpe family of Wilmerding. They have their address as Bridge St., Wilmerding.
P. C. Zemarel was arrested in a confectionery in Braddock ave., Turtle Creek, where 11 pints of whisky and 337 pints of beer were seized, and Charles Aisello was arrested in a store in Electric ave., N. Braddock, where 11 gallons of whisky and 100 pints of beer were seized, it was reported.
The Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 27, 1929
HELD IN KILLING
M'Kees Rocks Man Faces Trial As Monastero Slayer.
Joseph Pangallo, 46, of 805 Eighth ave, McKees Rocks, was held on a charge of murder by a coroner's jury which late today conducted an inquest into the slaying of Steve Monastero, 40, of 40 Perryview St. Monastero was shot in front of St. John's General Hospital last Aug. 6.
A remark attributed to Pangallo in which he had threatened the life of Monastero and which Detective Lieut. David Corbett gave in evidence led to Pangallo being held.
The lieutenant said that Pangallo had come to his office last January and told him he intended to kill Monastero the first time the two met. Sam Monastero, a brother of the slain man, testified, saying that he did not know the identity of those who committed the murder.
The Washington Reporter, Sep. 13, 1929
TWO HELD AS BOOTLEGGERS
Pittsburgh and Baltimore Men Are Arrested This Afternoon
Two men giving their names as Mathew McMillan, aged 60, years, of 430 East North avenue, Pittsburgh, and Harry Wolfe, aged 28 years, of 1009 Low Street, Baltimore, Md., were arrested in South Main street at 12:30 o'clock today after a short chase, and are committed to jail in default of $1,500 bail each, after a hearing before Alderman A. A. Cummins, charged with sale, possession and transportation of liquor.
According to Constable W. H. Hamilton and Corporal Johnson, of the State police, the two defendants have been delivering liquor here generously for the past two months. This pair of officers had followed the alleged bootleggers all morning, and at the time of the arrest had secured evidence of a delivery here. When the two officers, accompanied by Constable Clark Miller and Chief of Police Joe Verderber, accosted the pair, both fled. Johnson ran down Wolfe after he had fled down Main street, while Hamilton caught McMillan after he had ducked into a near-by store.
They were driving a Peerless sedan bearing a Maryland license. They said that the machine belonged to McMillan's daughter, Mrs. Anna Morgan, of 480 East North avenue, Pittsburgh. In it the officers found 12 pints of bonded liquor.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 10, 1929
TEN ARRESTED IN RUN RAIDS
Dry Agents Kept Busy in Pittsburgh District
Ten persons were arrested and large quantities of liquor seized by prohibition agents in raids in the Pittsburgh district yesterday.
A 300-gallon still and 180 gallons of whisky were uncovered when the agents raided a building at 2710 Penn ave. More than 3,000 gallons of mash were destroyed. No arrests were made.
A still of the same size was seized with 148 gallons of moonshine in a shed on the Sterling farm, Pangburn Hollow, Forward township. Frank Depodesta, Clarence Smitt and Elmer Foster were arrested.
Marco Colpo was arrested when agents found two 100-gallon stills in a dwelling at Butler junction and 90 gallons of moonshine were reported seized.
Auto is Seized
An auto containing 30 gallons of mash was confiscated when the agents arrested Ben Mattes at Second ave., and Brown's bridge, Homestead. Max Rundict was arrested when a pint of moonshine was found in his home in West Deer township.
A 15-gallon still and 21 pints of beer were discovered in a dwelling at 6056 Butler St., where Charles Houston was arrested. A quart of whisky was found when a building at 312 East Ohio St was raided. Henry Oerman was arrested.
Peter Shon was taken into custody when agents found two gallons of whisky, and 195 pints of beer in a saloon at 145 E. Twenty-second st. The officers arrested Thomas Snelsire at a saloon at 218 Brownsville Rd.
The Evening Independent, Nov. 4, 1929 (St. Petersburg, Fla)
STUDENTS ACCUSED OF MAKING MONEY BY BOOTLEGGING.
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The charge that three students were working their way through the University of Michigan by selling liquor to other students was made by police today after a raid Saturday night in which they asserted a case of wine and a case of whisky were confiscated in a men's dormitory.
Harold McKee, 24, Pittsburgh, is being held in the county jail and two others whose names were withheld are being sought. The liquor, police said, was brought from Canada and smuggled into the dormitory under buttoned overcoats. Sergeant Louis Fohey and Detective Clifford West declared that a number of phone calls ordering the liquor were received while they were raiding the room in the dormitory. The officers answered the calls.
The raid was part of a drive begun by local officers after five fraternities had been place on probation by the university for tolerating intoxication at dances.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Nov. 23, 1929
FEDERAL COURT SPECIAL TERM MAY BE HELD
None of Pittsburgh Rum Plot Cases Listed Now.
McKeesport and Versailles Police Chiefs Most Important Trial
None of the untried Pittsburgh rum plot cases, resulting from the United States grand jury inquiry about 18 months ago, are listed for presentation at the November term of United States criminal court, beginning next Monday.
A date for a disposition of the cases has not been announced. There is a likelihood, however, that a special term of court may be held in February, at which time the Somerset county rum conspiracy trial may get under way. If the special term is held it is believed at the Government building that the Pittsburgh rum plot cases will be aired before juries or be otherwise disposed of.
At the time the Federal inquisitors handed down the local indictments, the members had examined more than 1,600 witnesses and had been in almost daily sessions for about six weeks. The probe attracted nation-wide attention and the United States attorney at Washington, D.C., detailed a special representative here to assist in drafting the true bills.
Six indictments were handed down, accusing 173 persons with having participated in conspiracies to violate the national prohibition act. These documents later became known as the Northside, Southside, Downtown, East Liberty and Greater Pittsburgh true bills. In five of the indictments separate groups were named with a few of the accused being charged as defendants in one of more of the documents. The Greater Pittsburgh true bill included all those named in the other five indictments and it alleged the plot was city-wide.
The most prominent persons listed in the Greater Pittsburgh true bill are Peter P. Walsh, superintendent of police; Samuel J. Grenet and Luke Sullivan, members of the state Legislature; John J. Sweeney, police magistrate; John W. Orzekowski, alias John W. Orie, former police magistrate; Francis Kirley, William A. Herd, John O'Donnell and Justus Schroedel, Republican ward chairman; Charles Faulkner, Joseph Elsner and John McArdle, police inspectors. Besides these, there are police lieutenants, five patrolmen and many alleged bootleggers.
The Northside case was disposed of by Judge R. M. Gibson last November. He freed the defendants because he ruled a general conspiracy had not been proved. The group was divided into five true bills later by a grand jury and three of the true bills have been tried. The Southside and the Strip cases also have been aired before juries.
Two of the Northside groups are to be tried. They are the cases in which Police Inspector Faulkner and Republican Chairman O'Donnell head the lists of accused. The other rum conspiracy cases not yet tried are the East Liberty, downtown and Greater Pittsburgh indictments.
More than 450 cases are ready for trial during the next four weeks. The list is mostly composed of alleged violations of the Volstead prohibition enforcement act. Thirty cases will be listed for each day, with the expectation that many pleas of guilty will be obtained, thus facilitating the work for the court.
List McKeesport Case
The most important trial of the entire term will be what is known as the McKeesport conspiracy case, in which John F. Brennan, former chief of police of McKeesport, and Charles J. Bergstedt, former chief of police of Versailles, and 31 other persons are defendants. Seven McKeesport policemen were suspended from duty by Mayor George H. Lysle when they were named in the indictment. This case is listed to begin Monday, December 2.
Although not yet listed, it is likely one of the indictments in the Greene county rum plot case will be tried during December. It will be the true bill in which Sheriff Arno S. McClellan of Waynesburg is one of the accused persons.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 10, 1929
FOUR FACE CHARGES AFTER LIQUOR RAIDS
Agents Make Arrests Here and in South Fork
Four persons face liquor charges today as the result of raids yesterday and last night in Pittsburgh and in Cambria county.
Dominick Neri and Paul Checkolene of South fork, were arrested by Federal agents who said they found $20,000 worth of whisky and wine in a building used by Neri and Checkolene.
Alfred Contestible, 4702 Lorigan St., was held after dry raiders said they found a pint of whisky in his home.
John Gutick was arrested in a raid on a saloon at 1600-02 Island ave. Six gallons of whisky were seized, it is said.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 12, 1929
TWO DRUGGISTS PAY RUM FINES
Hotel Proprietor Jailed; Other Offenders Draw Varying Penalties.
Two New Kensington druggists were convicted and a Sturgeon hotel proprietor and his wife pleaded guilty to liquor law violations in Federal Court yesterday.
The druggists, Earl Moran and Edward V. Kerr, were fined $200 and $500, respectively, and paroled for two years. Evidence introduced before Judge F. P. Schoonmaker showed Moran had sold to Kerr a drug store where, Federal agents said, alcohol was dispensed.
Gasper and Mary Markovitz entered their plea before Judge Nelson McVicar. Markovitz was proprietor of the Sturgeon hotel where, government agents reported, whisky was sold. He was fined $300 and sentenced to serve three months in the Allegheny county jail. His wife as paroled for a year.
Draw Double Penalties
Jail terms and fines were imposed in most of the other liquor cases tried during the day. Nick Colbazo of Carnegie was sentenced to serve four months in the Indiana county jail when found guilty before Judge Schoonmaker. Bessie Smith of Pittsburgh was fined $200 when a jury in Judge Schoonmaker's court found her guilty. Nick Monica of Pittsburgh was fined $200 and given four months in the Indiana county jail after a jury had found him guilty. His case was tried before Judge Schoonmaker.
John Klenak of McKeesport got four months in the Allegheny county jail when he admitted violating the prohibition law, being sentenced by Judge Schoonmaker. Thomas Miller of McKeesport was fined $200 and given four months in the Allegheny jail by Judge Schoonmaker after a jury trial. Miller was a second offender.
Others Are Sentenced
Defendants sentenced by Judge McVicar after entering pleas of guilty were:
Lawrence Ragni of Carnegie, $200 and two months in jail.
Armin Roth of East Pittsburgh, $300 and three months in jail.
Leroy Harrington of Johnstown, $200 and two months in jail.
Joseph Markowitz, a $400 fine for having liquor in his possession at Government Lock No. 2 in the Allegheny River.
Thomas Smalls, $100 and a month in jail.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 23, 1929
CITY POLICE FREED IN RUM CASE
Graham Drops Charge Against Walsh, Aides
Conspiracy Case Against 160 Because of Lack of Evidence
Walsh, Faulkner Freed From Bond.
Graham Seeks Dismissal After Getting Approval of Attorney General
Indictments against Pittsburgh police officials and other accused to being members of an alleged politically controlled rum ring were dismissed today in Federal court.
Judge McVicar issued the order dropping the cases on the plea of U. S. District Attorney Graham, after he reported the government found it had insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution.
Graham said that the evidence had been inspected by Leslie E. Salter, special assistant to the attorney general, and the nolle prose plea had the full approval of the attorney general.
Wash, Faulkner Cleared.
Thos released by the order of the court from facing trial include Police Superintendent Walsh. Alfred W. Forney, slot machine king; Inspector Faulkner, numerous police lieutenants of the North Side district and lesser lights in the police department.
More than 160 persons who were named in the original indictment returned June 9, 1928, are released from their bonds by the order.
When the grand jury returned the indictments more than 18 months ago, five separate charges were made against the involved men.
After a week of presenting the evidence Judge Gibson interposed when the prosecution crossed and state the conspiracy charges had not been proven.
Judge Gibson said he believed several smaller conspiracies to violate the dry laws existed on the North Side, but the government did not possess the connecting links that welded them into a general conspiracy.
When this case was concluded the government failed to bring any more of the cases to trial with the exception of the South Side. Several convictions resulted in this case but the most important personages named in that indictment were freed. This was the government's last attempt to prove what was considered as the most sweeping charges ever returned by a local Federal grand jury.
Names are Listed
The following were named in the nolle prose order: Peter Walsh, Alfred W. Forney, John Schneider, Whisler, Bus Moffett, Murphy Kelly, E. C. Campbell, Carl Campbell, Robert Nelson, "Hoops" Nelson, Charles Foster, Charles Berger, Sam Caplan, John B. Wall, John E. Wall, Jr. Robert Cromie alias Robert Johncon, Harry Rothner, Frank DePietro, Simon Albert, Earl Long, Richard S. Reilly, Chick Robinson, John Maginnes, L. D. Campbell, John J. O'Donnell, Elliott Donnely alias Jack Burke, Edward J. Moser, John J. Lynch, Martin J. Burke, Thomas Auffe, Edward J. Arthurs, John Diffy, Charles Faulkner, police inspector North Side; Elliot Donnelly alias Jack Burke, John Harkins alias Joe Green, Michael Rogan, Joseph Bove, Joseph Brown, Mike DeRosa, Jr., Mike de Rosa, Sr., Patrick Mielle, Frank Ruscella, Anthony M. Thomas, John L. Thomas and Dominic Vighetta.
165 Others Freed.
In addition to the above order also nolle-prosses the case against Charles Abbott and "166 other." They were named in the blanket indictment of June 9, 1928, and some of them are included with the names listed above.
All the persons named in the indictment were to face trial on four counts of conspiracy. In addition to this all were named in the general conspiracy and in the individual conspiracies where they are alleged to have operated.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Feb. 7, 1930
GUILTY PLEAS IN RUM CASES ENTERED HERE
Charges Admitted By Total of 33 Defendants.
Some Fined, Some Jailed.
Federal Judge Fixes Penalties at $5 to $250 and 30 Days to 3 Months.
Another group of violators of the National prohibition act pleaded guilty to the charges against them before Judge R. M. Gibson in Federal court yesterday and were given jail sentences or ordered to pay fines by the court. Pleas were entered by a total of 33 defendants and the fines ranged from $5 to $250 and the jail sentences from 30 days to three months. Those who pleaded guilty and their sentences follow:
Joseph Rich, of Pittsburgh, sentenced to two months in the Armstrong county jail on charges of sale and possession of liquor and maintaining a nuisance at 2630 Carson Street.
Joseph Klein, of Pittsburgh, two months in the Westmoreland county jail; Benjamin Klein, of Pittsburgh, one month in the Westmoreland county jail, and Zola Klein, of Pittsburgh, fined $50 for possession and transportation of liquor.
Robert J. Duncan, of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Westmoreland county jail; Peter Mekor, of Pittsburgh, fined $6 and sentenced to 30 days in the Allegheny county jail; Sam Morfetas, of Pittsburgh, fined $200 and sentenced to two months in the Westmoreland county jail; Frank Moore, of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Westmoreland county jail.
Kowal, of Pittsburgh, 60 days in the Westmoreland county jail; James Seran of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Indiana county jail; James Ventrone of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Indiana county jail; Paul Angelson of Glassmere, Westmoreland county. 60 days in the Westmoreland county jail.
Harry Schultz of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Allegheny county jail; Paul Heffron of Pittsburgh, fined $5; Hugh Donnelley of Pittsburgh, fined $150; Patrick Farrell of Pittsburgh, fined $150; Ruben Rosenberg of Pittsburgh, two months in the Allegheny county jail; Patrick Hayes of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Allegheny county jail.
Richard Snyder of Pittsburgh, fined $100; Antonio Anterrori, fined $200; Patrick Malone of Pittsburgh, fined $150; Olivia Sanders of Pittsburgh, fined $5; John Sawchuch of Pittsburgh, 90 days in the Indiana county jail; Arthur Blevins of Pittsburgh, fined $100; Mario Del Mastro of Pittsburgh, fined $100.
Gust Eliou of Pittsburgh, fined $200; Frank Moore of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Westmoreland county jail; Thomas Corcoran of Pittsburgh, fined $100; Patrick Corcoran of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Indiana county jail; Tony Balicky of Pittsburgh, 30 days in the Westmoreland county jail; Joseph Baile of South Fork, fined $250 and sentenced to 30 days in the Allegheny county jail, and Roma Rossi of Dunlevy, 30 days in the Allegheny county jail.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 9, 1930
RUM RUNNER JAILED.
Washington, Pa. Paul Duncan, Wheeling, captured near Morganza on Dec. 28, 1929, with 180 gallons of whisky he was transporting from Pittsburgh to Wheeling, pleaded guilty Saturday before Judge James I. Brownson. He was fined $100 and sentenced to jail for three months.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 22, 1930
TWO MEN FLED, DRY AGENTS SAY
Successful and Unsuccessful Liquor Raids are Reported.
Five stills were seized, five men arrested and two escaped in six raids yesterday by federal prohibition agents.
Two 125-gallon stills were reported seized on the McCormick farm in Moon Twp. The federal agents said they arrested a man giving the name of John Williams. The agents also reported seizing sugar, mash, and 80 gallons of whisky.
Emil Savarin, of 75 Elm St., was reported arrested in Hampton Township. The agents said they found a 50-gallon still, 6 barrels of mash and one gallon of whisky.
A 200-gallon still was reported seized on Powell Rd. in Wilkins Township. Agents said they arrested John Greenwalt and seized 100 gallons of whisky.
A man giving the name of Gyp Constantine of Willett Ave., Brentwood, was also reported arrested by agents, who reported finding a 50-gallon still, 10 100-gallon vats of mash and 35 gallons of whisky.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 22, 1930
WARRANTS OUT FOR FIVE MEN IN COURT FRAUD
Conspiracy Charged in Case Where Substitute Goes to Jail in Erie
Rossiter Is Named in Informations
Case to Go Before Grand Jury March 17; Wells Still Is Sought
Warrants for the arrest of five men on conspiracy charges in connection with a plot to hire a substitute to serve the prison sentence of a wealthy Canadian bootlegger were turned over to a deputy United State marshal today.
United States Commissioner Roger Knox issued the warrants after information had been filed by a special agent of the Department of Justice late yesterday.
The men named are Samuel T. Rossiter, Erie attorney; Stanley Wells, Joseph Jarvis, Fred Black and Joseph D. Donovan, Erie auto dealer.
The government charges that Jarvis was paid to take Wells' place and serve a jail term for him.
Goes to Jury March 17
Warrants for the arrest of Jarvis and Black will be given the warden of the Erie County jail, where they are serving a 60-day term. They pleaded guilty to smuggling liquor in U.S. Court here, and were sentenced Dec. 31 of last year by Judge Gibson. The warrants will be served when their terms expire, Knox declared.
Capture Speed Boat
Last September the Coast Guard captured a liquor-laden speed boat off the coast of Erie. Before the craft was taken the cutter had to fire into the smugglers gas tank to set it afire. In doing this the guard boat was fired upon from shore during the water battle. The gunmen on land escaped in the darkness.
When the rum boat was overhauled two men were captured.
When the prisoners were taken to headquarters they gave the names of Joe Jarvis an Fred Black. Both were arraigned before the United States commissioner at Erie and Rossiter arranged their bail. Four thousand dollars in cash was posted for the man who gave his name as Jarvis.
On Dec. 31 two men giving the names of Joe Jarvis and Fred Black, appeared in Pittsburgh before Judge Gibson and pleaded guilty. Gibson sentenced each to serve 60 days in the Erie county jail.
Several days later, the coast guardsmen who made the arrest saw one of the men on the streets of Erie. They believed he should have been in jail. He managed to outwit them at the time they saw him and the guardsmen began a secret investigation.
It was found the man who came to Pittsburgh and was sentenced as Joe Jarvis was not the man who was captured nor was he the prisoner who posted the bail for his release. Subsequent investigation proved the man who was arrested when the boat was seized was really Stanley Wells, Canadian bootlegger.
The man in the Erie County jail as Joe Jarvis was a substitute apparently hired to "take the rap."
Rossiter arranged the original bail for Jarvis and Black. When the substitute came to Pittsburgh for sentence together with Black they were represented by Attorney Leonard Krieger and Max V. Schoonmaker, Krieger actually appearing in court for them.
Krieger, Schoonmaker and Rossiter denied any knowledge of the substitution when it was discovered. Rossiter is the son of the presiding judge of Erie County court, U.P. Rossiter.
Donovan is said to be the man who posted bail for the pair.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Apr. 2, 1930
HEADLESS BODY OF GANGSTERS' VICTIM FOUND
Jammed Into Barrel and Rolled Over Hillside
Murder Makes 51st Killing in 51 Months in City, 78th in County.
Pittsburgh racket killers chalked up their fifty-first murder in 51 months in defense of their concessions yesterday. It brings the total of racket murders in Allegheny county to 78 for the same period.
The headless, mutilated body of the latest gang victim was found packed in a barrel along Grine run, Penn township, shortly before 5 o'clock last night.
County detectives, familiar with racket feuds declared last night that the barrel murder likely was in retaliation for the recent killing of Sam Monastero, corn sugar baron, garroted with his own necktie and left dead in his automobile along Jacks Run. Sam's killing followed by a few months the slaying of his brother Steve Monastero, king of the moonshine racket, who was credited with being the moving force behind more than a score of racket killings.
Head Is Missing
The head of the fifty-first victim is missing. The slayers ruthlessly slashed strips of flesh from the arm and shoulder of the dead man which detectives believed bore a tattoo mark, in order to hamper identification. The body was nude so that no telltale piece of clothing might aid detectives in establishing identity.
An examination showed that he had put up a furious struggle to save himself. Practically his entire body was discolored with bruises. The head was severed about an inch above the shoulders.
Slain In City.
The man, an Italian about 30 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, and weighting about 130 po9unds, was apparently slain in the city, detectives said. Aside from the newspapers, on which finger prints may be found, detectives admitted they were without a tangible clue. One of the papers was of Monday, this week.
The corpse was taken to where it was found either late Monday night or early yesterday, it was learned. It was seen by Mrs. H. E. Damp, who resides a short distance away, at 6:30 o'clock yesterday morning. Mrs. Damp said she mentioned to her 11-year-old son that the barrel could be used for kindling and asked him to get it. However, the son neglected to do so.
Rolled From Road.
Thomas Kirk, 22, of 318 Forty-Fifth street, who was taking a short cut through the wooded section on his way home made the discovery.
The barrel rested against a tree on the hillside about 50 feet below the Lincoln avenue extension and about a half mile from the city line. It had been rolled from the road.
Kirk, his curiosity aroused, cut the burlap which bound one end of the barrel and uncovered the lower part of the body. He went to a nearby residence and called police and county detectives.
An autopsy on the body by Coroner's Physician J. W. Means revealed that the man had been dead approximately 24 hours, which verifies the theory that the victim had been killed early Monday night.
There was no evidence of food in the stomach, which indicates that the man may have been held prisoner and starved before he was killed. The breast bone was broken and the hands and arms discolored and cut.
In slashing off strips of the flesh on the shoulder and left forearm the killer left two pieces of the tattoo marks about a quarter inch square, which may lead to the discovery of identity of the body.
Bertillon Operator Harry Ross announced that it was unlikely that any clues would be discovered from the blood-stained potato bags or newspapers found stuffed in the barrel and near the scene of the crime. A photograph taken of the barrel with a special lens for police work is not believed to hold anything of special value to the investigation.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 3, 1930
GANG VICTIM'S HEAD FAILS AS IDENTITY CLUE
Fingerprints Sent To Washington and Harrisburg
Slain Man Not Italian
Murren Reaffirms Belief That Killing Was Vengeance for Monastero.
The severed head of Pittsburgh racketeers' latest murder victim was found yesterday less than a half mile from where the mutilated body was found stuffed in a barrel in Grine's Run, Penn township, but last night the find had not established the identity of the victim of the seventy-eighth murder in Allegheny county in four years, the fifty-first in the city.
A piece of heavy sash rope, looped into a noose at one end, was found with the head, which had been stabbed and slashed and beaten to a pulp.
Result of Racket War
Chief County Detective Murren reaffirmed his belief that the killing is a direct reprisal for the gangster murder two weeks ago of Sam Monastero, former racketeer, who was found garroted in his automobile in Jacks Run, near Bellevue. Autopsy on the head by the coroner's physician, Dr. J. W. McMeans disclosed that the man had not been shot.
Though the absence of shooting surprised the detectives, it strengthened Murren's belief that the murder was in reprisal, and gave that official and Detectives Samuel Whisner and Thomas Calig the idea that the man had been killed in the city or within earshot of persons who would have heard a revolver shot.
No Record of Prints
Three details of detectives tried throughout yesterday to establish the man's identity without success. Finger prints of the man were taken by David Drexler, assistant county Bertillon operator, but search of the city and county detective files did not reveal any prints even remotely similar.
A copy of the prints was forwarded to the national bureau of criminal identification, Washington, with special request to compare them with the army and navy fingerprint records, Murren believing that the victim may have been in the service, which would explain the tattoos which were slashed away from his forearm and shoulder by his slayers.
A copy of the prints also was forwarded to the state police at Harrisburg and the classification broadcast to all police departments. The prints were classified as nine over 17; A over A, I over I and 19 over 15.
Identify Wrong Body
Before the finding of the head, beneath the Shade Run bridge, Lincoln avenue, Thomas Lawver, 1812 Main Street, Sharpsburg, viewed the body at the morgue and identified it as that of his son, Charles Mitchell Lawver, 21. Comparison of the victim's fingerprints with prints of Lawver at the city detective bureau and questioning by Murren disproved the identification "beyond a doubt." Murren said. Lawver's mother viewed the body last night and said it was not her son.
Detectives returned last night from the produce years where they tried to check the four burlap bags that were stuffed with the body in the produce barrel, and the bags that were found near the barrel and which contained the head, but were unsuccessful.
The barrel will be photographed and examined again today, but it is considered remote that it can be checked from the cooperage to this city. It had a crayon figure, "146" written on the end and an attempt will be made to check this through the different produce dealers and merchants.
The burlap bags were stenciled "No. 1 Grade, California Walnuts," "Pointer Brand Maine Potatoes," and "Idaho U.S. No. 1 Selected Potatoes."
The murder is outranked for brutality only by the coal and iron police killing of John Barcoski, Santiago miner, more than a year ago. The victim's face was swollen twice its normal size, and stab wounds covered practically every inch of it and his neck and scalp, the wounds varying from a quarter of an inch to more than an inch in width and an inch penetration. His body also was covered with stab wounds and bruises, apparently from kicking.
In removal of the tattoos from the victim's arm and shoulder, his murderers cut away the flesh to the bone.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 4, 1930
MYSTERY STILL SHROUDS GANG VICTIM'S BODY
Case May Be Added To Those Listed As "Unsolved:
Clues Fail to Identify
Only Hope Left Lies In Awaited Reports From Washington
Scores of persons viewed the body of Allegheny county's seventy-eighth gangster murder victim yesterday at the morgue, and squads of county detectives vainly searched for clues to his identity, only to announce they are completely baffled.
The last racketeer murder yesterday seemed destined for the unsolved file, already bulging with mysterious gangster killings in the last four years, as squad after squad returned to report no success in running down clues to the victim's identity.
One Definite Hope
The detectives have be one definite hope of establishing identity, the chance that the victim might have served in the army or navy, or have been finger-printed after arrest. Notification is expected today from the national bureau of criminal identification, Washington, and the state police department at Harrisburg, to decide this.
The detectives and deputy coroners yesterday revised their opinion as to the nationality or ancestry of the victim, who was at first believe to be an Italian. The completed embalming of the body brought out facial characteristics that some declared Polish, other Irish, others English or German
Again Declared Reprisal
The body was viewed yesterday by Ida May Lawver, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lawver, 1812 Main Street, Sharpsburg, and she agreed with the mother that the victim was not her brother, Charles M. Lawver.
The detective investigation was again personally directed yesterday by Chief County Detective George W. Murren, Detectives Samuel Whisner, Thomas Calig, Frank Ritz and Frank Malone, who are confident that the man was slain as a direct reprisal for the murder several days ago of Sam Monastero, racketeer.
Detectives visited the produce yards again yesterday, but could develop nothing there that might aid in tracing the burlap sacks which were stuffed in a produce barrel with the victim's decapitated body.
The Pittsburgh Press, April 5, 1930
NAB ALLEGED RACKET CHIEFTAIN IN MURDER
Sleuths Raid Brewery Said To Have Been Scene of Torture, Death.
Philip De Fazio, 38, alleged Clairton member of Pittsburgh's bootleg-brewery syndicate, was arrested last night by county detectives in the murder and mutilation of William Gregory, 23, booze runner who double-crossed the syndicate, and whose headless body was found last Tuesday, stuffed in a cabbage barrel.
Half an hour after the arrest, Chief County Detective George W. Murren and Detectives Philip Goldberg and John Weible raided a former wildcat brewer in Lorigan street, Bloomfield, where Gregory is believed to have been tortured to death.
Excepting a boiler, the brewery apparatus had been taken from the place, a one-story brick building; and the walls and floors sprinkled with lime, which failed to entirely hide spots which Murren declared resembled blood stains.
The owner of the building which house the wildcat brewery refused to admit Chief Murren and the detectives to the place, to which Murren force entrance through a side window. The building interior is partitioned so that a truck could be loaded while the doors were opened, without passers-by seeing the loading of contraband beer.
Held in Secret Place.
The developments brought the murder nearer solution than any of the other 77 gangster killings in the last four years ever have been; and if it should eventually be solved it will be the first of the city's 51 racket killings ever solved in that length of time.
De Fazio was not questioned by Detectives Frank Hitz, Samuel Whisner and Leo Dunn, nor did the detectives inform him why he was being arrested. The prisoner was lodged in a police station, the location of which was not disclosed. He has been arrested before as a bootlegger, Murren said.
De Fazio is accused by Gregory' s stepfather-in-law of having been the owner of the booze truck that Gregory sold in Akron, O., double-crossing the syndicate by keeping money he received for the vehicle and the load of beer it carried when Gregory left the Bloomfield brewery some time within the last several weeks.
Implicated By Woman
De Fazio is also implicated by Mrs. Helen Lightner, 24, pretty brunette friend of Gregory, who was arrested Saturday night as she, her husband and his friend, J. B. Orr, were making a getaway from their rooming house, 1234 Sheffield street, in Gregory's automobile.
The Lightner woman told Murren that she last saw Gregory the Monday morning before the day that the booze-runner's mutilated body was found. She said Gregory was leaving for work, to
see Philip." The Lightner woman also gave Murren the location of the brewery where Gregory worked.
During the investigation yesterday it developed that Mrs. Alberta Gregory, 21, wife of the slain booze-runner, and her two children, a boy, one year old, and a girl, two years old, have been mysteriously missing for two weeks. This was disclosed when County Detectives James McGinley, Thomas Calig and Anthony Ferrero arrived in Akron to bring back the wife for questioning and positive identification of her husband.
Murren Seeks Wife.
Chief Murren immediately began search for the woman and her children in Pittsburgh and Allegheny county, but said that he doesn't believe the woman had been seized by the same racketeers who killed her husband. Murren believes the woman may have gone to friends without the formality of telling her stepfather, who gave her the train fare two weeks ago to Akron.
Murren established the motive in the barrel murder through the stepfather, Elmer Justice, 1246 Sheffield street, and through the Lightner woman, who said Gregory had told her recently that "a Wop had threatened to cut his initials in his (Gregory's) spine" in retaliation for the sale of the syndicate's truck and beer cargo.
Justice told Murren that Gregory had sold the truck in Akron for $400 and that it belonged to bootleggers, one of them named by Justice as De Fazio. Disposal of the truck was made easier because ownership was in Gregory's name to prevent embarrassment to the syndicate should Federal agents stop the booze runner.
Hear Conflicting Stories
The double-cross of the syndicate occurred some time prior to two weeks ago, Murren believes. Gregory had left the brewery in Pittsburgh with the truck of beer and had a friend drive his automobile behind the truck en route to Akron. Murren believes the beer was consigned to some point in Pennsylvania, near the Ohio state line, and that Gregory ignored orders and proceeded to Akron to sell the beer and truck.
He returned to the syndicate leader a few days later and announced that he had been hijacked near the state line. He told others that Federal prohibition agents had seized the truck and beer. The syndicate leaders heard of the latter story and when Gregory could not explain his death was ordered, Murren believes.
Gregory had freely talked to friends, especially his girl acquaintances, of his danger. Detectives are seeking one woman friend of Gregory, with whom the victim was supposed to have lived. The same racketeer threatened her, and told her; "We're going to get Bill Gregory and when we do we'll get him right!" the victim's stepfather-in-law told Murren.
Told of Gang's Threats.
Detectives further verified Justice's version of Gregory's death after their arrival in Sawyerwood, where Gregory had lived until shortly prior to New Years Day, this year.
Gregory left Sawyerwood for Pittsburgh, and returned later to tell his friends that he had a job driving a truck for an Italian gang of bootleggers. The double-cross occurred within six weeks after Gregory's debut in the racket.
Gregory returned to Sawyerwood in February and told friends that "Tony is going to get me!" and when he left, told the same friends and relatives that he was afraid to return to Pittsburgh because the gang would surely get him. When Gregory arrived in Sawyerwood in February he had the truck.
The victim sold the truck to a used car dealer a few days later, and the day after the sale Gregory left his wife and two children with her mother, Mrs. Anna Justice, Sawyerwood. Several days later, March 11, Mrs. Gregory left, presumedly to go to her husband in Pittsburgh, and has not been seen nor heard from since, her mother said.
Mother is Hysterical
The Gregory woman's mother first learned of her son-in-law's murder from a Post-Gazette correspondent and became hysterical when she learned that her daughter was missing. Another daughter, Mrs. Helen Schumacher, left for Pittsburgh last night to aid in the search for her sister, who worked in a local five-and-ten cent store some time ago. The Schumacher woman lived at 225 Robinson street.
The Lightner woman told Murren that Gregory had lived at the rooming house in Sheffield street for about a month, and prior to that time had lived in Melwood street. Mrs. Lightner met Gregory shortly after January 1 and was introduced to him by friends who told her Gregory was a booze-runner. The name of the person who introduced Gregory to the woman was withheld.
The Lightner woman's husband and her friend, Ott, were not questioned yesterday by Murren, but they will be asked today why they were attempting to flee in the victim's automobile when they were arrested Saturday night by Detectives Ritz, Whisner and Leo Dunn.
The murder victim was accused by his stepfather-in-law, Justice, of having broken up the latter's home by his mistreatment of Justice's stepdaughter. Justice accused Gregory of having neglected to provide for his wife and two children and of beating her severely a short time prior to the birth of their youngest child.
Auto Parked For Hours
Justice said that he and his wife, Alberta's mother, had separated because of the friction over Gregory's frequent abandonment of his wife and "taking up with other women." This occurred nearly every time that Gregory's automobile was parked near Justice's home for hours Saturday. Justice recognized it. A neighbor suggested that he go to the county morgue to view the body of the barrel murder victim. Justice glared once at the victim and announced: "That's him, I don't need to look any further; I know that's Bill Gregory!"
Detectives traced the laundry mark "Greg" and "WJG" and the figure "412" to T. J. Casey, 106 Anderson street, a cigar store, and substation of a laundry company. Casey identified the marks as those used for Gregory.
Other wearing apparel of the victim was seized yesterday at the Sheffield street house by Detective Philip Goldberg and Detective Clerk John Weible, but nothing of importance was found in the effects.
The questioning of the Lightner woman yesterday, attempted to develop a definite link to the Monastero gang, but Murren declared that the probe has all but eliminated entirely any chance that the murder of Gregory was done in retaliation for the slaying several days ago of Sam Monastero, whose garroted body was found near Bellevue, seven months after the murder of his brother, Steve Monastero.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 7, 1930
7 PERSONS TAKEN AFTER RUM RAIDS
Prohibition Men Seize Liquor and Stills
Prohibition agents yesterday made seven arrests and seized two stills in the Pittsburgh district.
Joe Valenti, of Barnesboro, and Peter Antonuccio of Spangler, were arrested in a raid on a brewery at Barnesboro.
A 50-gallon still was reported found in the 800 block Ohio Ave., Glassport. Agents arrested Joseph Reno.
Pete Gobasco, 300 block Watson St., was arrested with a 35-gallon still, agents said.
Joseph Lots, Perrysville, was arrested in a raid in the 800 block Concord St. Agents found a small quantity of beer and whisky.
Conrad Stein, 800 block Concord St., was reported arrested by agents for possession of 21 pints of whisky, a barrel of beer and a small quantity of wine.
The Daily Times, April 8, 1930
WIDOW OF HEADLESS MURDER VICTIM IS LOCATED BY POLICE
Mrs. Alberta Gregory, widow of William Gregory, who was slain and mutilated police believe because he "double-crossed" his racketeer association, has been found and will come to Pittsburgh today to view the body of her husband, detectives announced today.
According to detectives the woman for whom a search has been conducted since the murder victim was identified three days ago, is living in an Akron suburb and notified them last night that she had just heard of Gregory's death and would come to Pittsburgh at once.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 10, 1930
RACKET CHIEF'S PAL "SQUEALS" IN KILLING
Plan in Barrel Murder Was Outlined By Fazio, Beer Runner Says.
James Moleno, 30, beer-runner, broke the first law of gangland yesterday and, according to county detectives, charged his boss, Philip Fazio, Clairton member of Pittsburgh's brewery syndicate, with the headless murder of William Gregory, 23, beer-runner, who double-crossed the syndicate.
Moleno told detectives, they say, how Fazio had offered him $200 if he would help the racketeer boss kill Gregory, making the offer in Fazio's Bloomfield brewery March 31, the day before the headless body was found.
He identified unqualifiedly a piece of noosed window rope as the same rope that Fazio had tossed about his shoulders in demonstration of how he would ensnare Gregory.
Identifies Bloody Wrench
He identified a blood-stained 13-inch Stillson wrench found Tuesday next to the brewery as the same wrench Fazio had used in showing how he would hit Gregory behind the ear as one of the initial steps in reprisal for sale of the syndicate's truck and beer cargo.
Moleno told the officers how Fazio had outlined to him each step of procedure in punishment of the double-cross, which occurred 10 days before the murder, and showed him the cabbage barrel and burlap bags that would be used in disposing of the body.
He divulged the secrets of Fazio's wildcat beer racket and showed detectives where two other of Fazio's breweries are located, in Mt. Oliver and Carrick.
Tells Financial Deals.
He revealed the financial aspects of Fazio's wing of the syndicate, which profited from $43.50 to $48.50 on each barrel of beer it manufactures for approximately $1.50.
Moleno said that Fazio paid himself and Gregory only $12 a week with $2 commission for each barrel of beer delivered, each driver averaging about 20 barrels delivery a week, and earning approximately $50 a week; unless the runner hired a helper whom he had to pay out of his own pocket.
The wildcat beer was sold throughout Pittsburgh, Allegheny county and Western Pennsylvania.
These disclosures were made to Detectives Frank Ritz, Frank Malone, Sam Whisner and Thomas Calig in the course of the 36-hour grilling that Moleno underwent since his arrest, and were announced for the first time yesterday.
The confession, which was gotten without duress and given voluntarily by Moleno, the detectives said, was not offered at a habeas corpus hearing yesterday which resulted in Judge James R. Macfarlane ordering Fazio turned over to Coroner W. J. McGregor for commitment to jail, charged with the murder of Gregory.
Wrench Not Offered.
The commonwealth did not choose even to offer in evidence the finding of the blood-stained wrench. It was found Tuesday in the home of Pasquale Scuillo, next door, owner of the property that Fazio used for a brewery in Lorigan street.
The wrench was found in the brewery before lime was sprinkles on the walls and floor to erase traces of the crime. Paul Scuillo, 14, finder, knew that the tenant had moved out and considered it a lucky find. An unsuccessful attempt had been made to wash away bloodstains from the tool.
No action is contemplated against the Scuillo boy nor his parents, the [further unreadable]
The Daily Times, April 14, 1930
IDENTIFY FINGERPRINT OF ALLEGED SLAYER
Week-end developments in the investigation into the death of William Gregory, slain racketeer, further implicated Phillipa Fazio, alleged leader of a liquor syndicate, who is held in connection with the killing, county detectives said today.
A finger print, found on a light bulb in a dismantled brewery where police believe Gregory was slain and tortured for "double-crossing" the gang, was identified as corresponding the Fazio's, detectives announced.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 16, 1930
WOMEN, BOYS QUESTIONED IN BARREL DEATH
Released by Murren When Quiz Proves Fruitless.
Lawyers Get Evidence
Prosecutor's Office Making Ready for Inquest Next Week.
Two women and four youths arrested in Bloomfield and East Liberty yesterday in connection with the murder two weeks ago of William Gregory, 23, Beer-runner who double-crossed syndicate, were released yesterday after questioning .
Chief County Detective George W. Murren declined to reveal the identity of the sextet, declaring that questioning showed they had no connection whatever with the case and knew neither Gregory nor Philip Fazio, Clairton member of the syndicate, who is being held for the murder.
Legal Study Begun.
Legal study of the evidence amassed by Detectives Frank Ritz, Frank Malone, Samuel Whisner and Thomas Calig was begun yesterday by assistant district attorneys, in preparation for the inquest to be held by Coroner W. J. McGregor next week, probably April 24. The prosecution will be handles by either First Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Park or Assistant George F. P. Langfitt, who opposed a writ of habeas corpus for Fazio's release.
Murren had details of detectives again search for an unnamed racketeer, involved by James Moleno, 30, beer-runner, whose accusations against Fazio, exclusively announced in the Post-Gazette, declared that Fazio had offered him $200 if he would help kill Gregory for a double-cross in the sale of a truck and beer cargo.
Barrel Again Examined
The barrel in which Gregory's body was stuffed was again examined yesterday by Evidence Custodian Theodore Sidenstrickler and Detective Leo Dunn and the investigating detectives who traced it from a Bridgeville chain store to the Sixteenth street produce yards, and developed that a burlap bag stuffed with the body had been scorched, as exclusively announced in the Post-Gazette.
The effects of Gregory, two suitcases of clothing, his automobile and other papers were turned over to the evidence custodian yesterday following cremation of Gregory's body at the medical building of the University of Pittsburgh, which was ordered when the widow of the victim declared she was financially unable to bury the man.
Chief Murren is still awaiting a chemical analysis report of stains found on bricks, a wrench and canvas gloves found in the Lorigan street brewery. Bloomfield, where detectives think Gregory was killed and which they declare Fazio operated, in addition to breweries in Mt. Oliver and Carrick.
Moleno was taken from the county jail again yesterday , but questioning did not develop anything further of consequence.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 19, 1930
BARREL MURDER PROBE SLOWS UP
Investigation Halted to Give Sleuths two-Day Holiday; Murren Studies Evidence.
Detective investigation of the racket murder March 31 of William Gregory, 23, beer-runner, in whose death Philip Fazio, Clairton member of Pittsburgh's brewery syndicate is held, was officially halted yesterday to permit the investigating detectives to begin a two-day holiday granted for their work in the case.
Chief County Detective George W. Murren, however, for two hours yesterday studied the evidence the detectives, Frank Ritz, Frank Malone, Samuel Whisner and Thomas Calig have amassed, including a statement of James Moleno, 30, beer-runner, and accuser of Fazio, who declared Fazio had offered him $200 to help kill Gregory.
A jar containing the ashes of Gregory, whose body was cremated, was delivered yesterday to Morgue Superintendent John P. Black, to await a claimant.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 3, 1930
FAZIO'S TRIAL TO BE SPEEDED
Gangster's Case to Be Given Grand Jury Next Week.
No time will be lost in bringing to trial Philip Fazio, Clairton member of Pittsburgh's brewery syndicate, who was held Thursday for the murder of William Gregory, 23, beer-runner who double-crossed the syndicate and whose headless body was found April 1, district attorney's attaches indicated yesterday.
The Fazio case will be given to the grand jury, probably next Wednesday, by Assistant Prosecutor Earl Jackson, whom District Attorney Andrew T. Park appointed to handle the prosecution. Should an indictment be drawn, as county detectives and the district attorney expect, Fazio will be listed for early trial, probably soon after June 1.
County Detectives Frank Ritz, Samuel Whisner, Thomas Calig and Frank Malone yesterday continued their probe of the murder, although they have investigated every probably source that might tighten the Commonwealth case against Fazio, who was accused by another beer-runner of having offered $200 for aid in killing Gregory.
The county detectives under the personal leadership of Chief George W. Murren, established a precedent in the solution of a gangster killing in Allegheny County. In four years there have been 78 racket murders in the county. One is solved. Seventy-seven are unsolved.
The Pittsburgh Press, May 20, 1930
ELECTION RUM SEIZED IN RAIDS.
Dry Agents Confiscate Large Quantity of Liquor in Series of Visits
No matter who wind today's primary election, some residents of Pittsburgh and vicinity are not going to have a chance to celebrate the victory of their favored candidates if Federal prohibition agents know anything about it.
The agents swooped down last night in a series of pre-election raids, and confiscated a large quantity of liquor, including a box car load of whisky and wine in the Pennsylvania railroad yards at Aspinwall.
A truck was stopped on the Lincoln Highway near Wilkinsburg and agents said they found 350 gallons of beer aboard. Louis Lvdiard of 1100 block Lincoln avenue and Joseph McCarroll, 3600 Liberty Avenue , were arrested.
Kicks Down Door
Other agents kicked down a door in 100 block Maurice Street and reported finding a bar on the first floor and a brewery on the second. They arrested M. T. Flannagan and confiscated beer and whisky, they said.
In the rear of a building in 500 block Braddock Avenue raiders found a small bar, but the only man in the place escaped through a rear window.
On a farm in Frazier Township the agents arrested William Bell and Paul Kraysik after, they said, they found two small stills, moonshine and mash.
Swissvale Man Accused.
Sivio Perlo, 6900 block McClure Street, Swissvale, was arrested and accused of having a 50-gallon still and moonshine in his place.
Others arrested for possession of moonshine were docketed as P. H. Haney, 58, 1200 block Pennsylvania Avenue; John Harrington, 30, 300 block Braddock Avenue; Andy Rogan, 39, rear 500 block Dixon Street, Homestead; Steve Pavic, 37, 300 block Fourth Street, Rankin.
All those arrested are held for a hearing before a United States Commissioner.
The Daily Times, June 9, 1930 (Beaver, Pa.)
Man Arrested at Falls is Witness
The murderer of William J. Gregory, alleged beer racket victim, is at large in Ohio, counsel for Philip Fazio, asserted Clairton beer baron, said today as selection of a jury began in Fazio's trial on a charge of murder in connection with the killing.
"The real culprit fled from the jurisdiction of the court directly after the crime," William H. Coleman, chief of defense counsel said. "After Fazio is freed, we intend to assist the state in bringing the slayer to justice," he said.
John Horn was arrested in Beaver Falls as a material witness in this case by Beaver Falls police and turned over to Pittsburgh detectives. Horn, it is declared, had lived in Beaver Falls under an assumed name and posed as the husband of Mrs. Gregory, wife of the slain man. On the day the headless body was found in Pittsburgh, Horn it is said, put Mrs. Gregory on a bus and sent her to Alliance, O.
The Washington Reporter, Jun. 13, 1930
FATE OF FAZIO IS WITH JURY
Twelve Men Deliberating as Barrel Murder Trial Ends
The death penalty was demanded for Philip Fazio, charged with murder in connection with the death of William Gregory, "barrel murder" victim, by Prosecuting Attorney Earle Jackson in his final argument in the case today.
Visiting Judge J. Frank Graff, Armstrong county, give his charge immediately after Jackson completed his address and the case was given to the jury.
Judge Graff completed his charge at 12:10 p.m. and the jury at once began its deliberations.
"Fazio was a bootlegger who took unto himself the power of law, jury and executioner" Jackson told the jury of six men and six women. The state contended Fazio, alleged head of a liquor syndicate at Clairton, killed Gregory because the latter, a driver for the syndicate, had double crossed him.
"He had his own code, one outside the pale of the law, and invoked it," Jackson continued. "He killed William Gregory on March 31 and it was deliberate murder."
The News-Dispatch, June 14, 1930 (Jeannette, Pa)
MORE CHARGES AGAINST FAZIO
As an aftermath of the acquittal of Philip Fazio alleged bootlegger of Clairton, of murder in connection with the death of William Gregory, information charging Fazio and two of his witnesses with dry law violations were sworn out today.
Police immediately arrested Jacob Blazkovac and Elmer Weining on liquor charges based on testimony they gave in behalf of Fazio. Fazio has been held in jail since a week after the body of Gregory was found hidden in a barrel.
The Greensburg Daily Tribune, June 18, 1930
FAZIO MISSING IN PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh. - Phillip Fazio, Clairton beer racketeer, who charged Allegheny county politicians with accepting $350,000 from him in return for protection to his bootlegging business for a period of seven years was reported missing today.
Fazio has not been seen since a short time after his charges were published Monday under his own name in a Pittsburgh paper. He was to face both District Attorney Andrew T. Park and Prohibition Administrator John D. Pennington yesterday in connection with the charges.
County detectives and police in every section of the county were searching today for the man whose story of alleged graft was in a way substantiated by Joseph Kutasi owner of the building in which Fazio lived.
Kutasi, said he had known of Fazio's bootlegging operations for several years. "Fazio told me several times he would have to go out of business because the politicians were demanding more graft" Kutasi said.
The Pittsburgh Press, June 19, 1930
FAZIO SEARCH STILL FUTILE
Man Hunt for Missing Beer Baron Centers in Wheeling
Search for Philip Fazio, Clairton beer racketeer, who charged Allegheny County politicians with accepting $350,000 protection money, after he was acquitted of killing William Gregory, extended today over West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Two squads of county detectives headed the man hunt. They were assigned to find Fazio as part of District Attorney Park's investigation of the graft charges.
Wheeling detectives instituted a search in West Virginia after it was almost definitely established Fazio left Pittsburgh for that city on a noon bus Tuesday.
Fazio's charge that he paid $10 a barrel "fix" money to unnamed politicians while he operated "wild cat" breweries for seven years without police molestation, was published exclusively under Fazio's name in Monday's Press.
Since that time Federal and County authorities have sought him for questioning.
What is believed to be the first trace of the missing racketeer came from Daniel A. Price, clerk of the White Star Bus Lines in Liberty Avenue. He identified a picture of Fazio as a man who bought a ticket for Wheeling on Tuesday. Price said he was "almost positive" of the identification.
A man in a red sweater was with Fazio at that time, the ticker clerk said.
According to all available information secured by detectives and other investigators, Fazio's wife was with him when he left Pittsburgh after making the graft charges.
At no point where Fazio was said to have been seen was a woman answering Mrs. Fazio's description noticed with the man allegedly identified as the missing beer baron
Clerk Sure It Was Fazio
Information to substantiate Price's report on Fazio was obtained from Miss. Mary Stone, clerk in the bus line office in Wheeling. She said a man answering Fazio's description came into the depot on Tuesday. He was hatless and was seeking information, she said. "I am almost sure it was Fazio." Miss Stone replied when she was shown a picture of the missing man.
Clarence Conley, the man who drove the bus to Wheeling, which is said to have carried the man answering Fazio's description, was not sure whether Fazio was on the bus.
"I don't notice any of my passengers very much," Conley said.
"I can't even remember how many passengers I had on that trip. He may have been on that bus or he may not have been for all I can remember."
All the Fazio families in Wheeling were visited. None of them had any relatives in this country. They said they did not know of Philip.
Sergeant Walter Worls and Detective Edward Minard of the Wheeling police department planned to work on the hunt by located relatives of Fazio's wife. She is a Wheeling girl. He maiden name was Rose Cocthini. None of her relatives, however, had been located today.
Safe Out of State
If Fazio is found outside the State of Pennsylvania District Attorney Park admits he has no means of extraditing the man for questioning. No new charges have been made against him.
He is at liberty under $2,500 bail on three charges of bootlegging growing out of his brewery operations. These charges were only brought when he made admissions about them testifying in his own behalf on the Gregory murder charge.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, July 2, 1930, (Sarasota, FL)
CHARGE 11 MEN IN RUM ROUTES FROM FLORIDA
Cleveland. - An alleged rum running syndicate that operated an overland route from Florida and a fleet of boats across Lake Erie to distribute liquor in middle western cities stood revealed today with the release of secret federal indictments naming 11 men on conspiracy charges.
Principals of the ring, federal investigators said, were Daniel F. Coughlin of Pittsburgh and Cleveland, James Courtney, now in Canada, and John O'Boyle of Cleveland. The organization formerly was alleged to have been headed by "Handsome Larry" Davidson whose extensive rum running activities have placed him in Atlanta penitentiary.
The syndicate operated a fleet of trucks from Fernandina, Fla., to McKeesport, Pa., where liquor was reshipped to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Woodlawn, Pa. Its other arm reached across Lake Erie between Canadian ports and points along the Erie (Ohio) county shore. Headquarters were in Cleveland, with Courtney directing the Canadian operations via long distance telephone.
Coughlin surrendered late yesterday, pleaded not guilty and was released under $7.500 bond. Specifically he was charged with transporting 8,022 cases of whisky to McKeesport May 14 addressed to "E. Hubbard, care of the McKeesport Banana Distributing Company." He faced arraignment today on another charge of transporting 33 cases of champagne from Sandusky to Vermilion, O., together with Courtney.
Coughlin is free under $10,000 bond pending appeal from his recent conviction on a conspiracy charge at Toledo with Davidson and is under $1,000 bond on another conspiracy charge at Pittsburgh.
Courtney skipped bond and fled to Canada last November after being arrested at a reputed "bootleggers' conference" here. Most of the 55 overt acts charged consist of telephone conversations between Courtney from Windsor, Kingsville and Port Leamington, Ont., and Cleveland members of the ring. O'Boyle is alleged to have assisted in carrying out Courtney's instructions.
The others indicted were Harry and Glen Fisher, charged with operating a Cleveland garage for the rum trucks; Patrick J. Burns, yardmaster of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad at the Demler yards in Allegheny County, Pa.; John Dolan, A. Arlis and M. Doty, alleged to have transported liquor over the Fernandina - McKeesport route; Pete Bulchoz, alleged to have piloted the motorboat carrying the 23 cases of champagne; and Harry Goodman, alias Harry Gordon, said to have been a liquor distributor.
The Fisher brothers surrendered and were released under $1,500 bond each on their pleas of not guilty. Others of the men indicted, including O'Boyle, are being sought by Pittsburgh and Cleveland agents.
The Daily Times, July 2, 1930
ALIQUIPPA NAMED AS DISTRIBUTING POINT FOR BOOZE
Beaver County Town Received Much Liquor from McKeesport Rum Ring
Seizure of whisky worth $50,000 in McKeesport last month was believed today the direct cause of uncovering an alleged international rum ring, operating from Florida to Canada with McKeesport as one of the principal distributing centers.
Eleven men, four from Pittsburgh and McKeesport, were named in a secret indictment handed down at Cleveland yesterday. They are charged with conspiracy. The alleged rum-running syndicate is said to have operated overland from Florida by truck to McKeesport and to Cleveland from boats across the lake.
Dan F. Coughlin, of McKeesport, arrested May 31 when Federal agents say, he had just signed a bill for a $50,000 shipment of 8,022 quarts of whisky, was named as one of the leaders in the syndicate. They whisky had been shipped as fertilizer. Coughlin, taken into court, pleaded not guilty and was released on $7.500 bond.
Patrick J. Burns, yardmaster for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at McKeesport; John Dolan and James Courtney, also of McKeesport, are listed in the indictment and are being sought by Federal agents. Others are Glen Fisher, John J. O'Boyle, A. Arlis, M. Doty, Pater Buchholz and Harry Goodman, alias Gordon. The Fishers were arraigned, along with Coughlin, and pleaded not guilty.
The indictment charges that the syndicate operated through Pennsylvania and Ohio from Jun 1, 1929, until June 16, 1930. It is charged that the liquor was shipped by rail from Fernandina's, Fla., and Ontario, Canada, to McKeesport and there re-shipped by truck to Pittsburgh, Aliquippa, Chicago and other points.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 7, 1930
AGENTS RAID GUARDED STILL
Police Raid Fails to Halt 2,000-Gallon Flow.
Federal prohibition agents, yesterday afternoon found a giant alcohol still working full blast at 1124 Vickroy street while it was supposed to be under guard of policemen under Inspector Albert Beebe.
Six moonshiners were turning out alcohol at the rate of more than 2,000 gallons a day when the Federal men swooped down. The plant is worth at least a quarter of a million dollars, and is one of the largest ever seized in Western Pennsylvania.
The Federal men were busy with blow torches and sledges, and had the work of demolition of the big distillery well under way when a detail of Pittsburgh police appeared.
"Hey what's goin' on here" the policeman demanded. "We're supposed to be guardin' this thing."
And then for the first time, the Government men learned that Beebe's men had "raided" the plant 36 hours before but without interfering in any way with the flood of contraband moonshine the plant was turning out.
Inspector Beebe last night was unable to explain why a big distillery should be operating full blast in his district, with a squad of his policemen "guarding" it. He told reporters he would "investigate" and then he went home to dinner, his day's work being completed.
It is believed the establishment has not been in operation more than six weeks. All apparatus was new, and had the appearance of recently having been installed.
Inspector Beebe, as soon as he heard of the Government raid, announced that a squad of his officers from the Center avenue district had visited the establishment Saturday night and arrested three men. He told that he instructed a lieutenant to detail patrolmen to guard the premises while further investigation was made. He added that now he will order another investigation to ascertain why the police detail was not on the premises when the Federal raiders seized the plant, and also why the distillery hadn't bothered to quit operation after the "raid." Beebe declined to divulge the identity of the owner, although admitting that he knew who he was.
Largest on Hill.
Beebe did tell the names of three men arrested in the police raid Saturday night. They are, according to Beebe, Carl Miller, of 1322 Fifth avenue; Joseph Miller, of 204 Fair Haven road, and Nick Paret, of New York City. Beebe explained the men had been held for a hearing by Police Magistrate Leo Rothenberg pending an investigation by police.
The six men arrested by the Federals when they entered the busy distillery are Thomas Parker, of New York; Louie Johanson, of Baltimore; Joseph Weber, of Scranton; Charles Peters, of Harrisburg; George Dill and Charles Schmid, of this city. all were committed to jail last night in default of $3,000 bond each for a preliminary hearing today before a United States commissioner on a charge of possession and manufacturing alcohol.
The seizures consisted of 5,000 gallons of alcohol, a 5,000-gallon still, four 15,000-gallon vats, one 10,000-gallon vat, two 24-foot columns 36 inches in diameter, an immense steam boiler and hundreds of bags of brown sugar and coke. The columns and boilers extended from the basement to the upper floor.
With the aid of acetylene torches, Federal agents destroyed the stills and other alcohol-making apparatus. It is not expected they will complete the work until some time today. Most of the equipment is made of copper.
Other Raids Made.
While the Vickroy street raid was in progress state constables and other Federal agents seized two whiskey stills in Baldwin township and another in the Hill district.
In a garage in Calvert street, Baldwin township, a 150-gallon still, 26 gallons of moonshine and 2,550 gallons of mash were found. A suspect will be arrested.
In a house on the same street another 150-gallon still was confiscated. Sam Davis was arrested. The seizures consisted of a 150-gallon still, 46 gallons of moonshine, 300 pounds of corn sugar, 11 pounds of yeast and 3,276 gallons of mash.
A 50-gallon still, 150 gallons of mash, 400 pounds of sugar and a half-pint of moonshine were found on the third floor at 1731 Cliff street. Peter Shaheen was arrested.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 14, 1930
SIX CITY RAIDS BY DRY AGENTS
Seventh in Ross; Four Stills, Much Liquor Seized.
Six raids in Pittsburgh and on in Ross township were staged yesterday by state constables and Federal prohibition agents. Seven prisoners and four whisky stills were taken, besides large quantities of intoxicants. The establishments, prisoners and seizures follow:
Building at 720 Carson st.; warrant out for suspect, 9,804 bottles of beer.
Dwelling at 110 South Diamond street East; Fred Raab and Mike Dallas; two pints of gin, two pints of whisky, 165 pints of al, 13 barrels of beer and 10 gallons of alcohol.
Store at 1408 Clark street; Philip H. Shine; 150-gallon still, 156 gallons of mash and 20 gallons of moonshine.
Building at 6352 Monitor street; Alfred Luni; 153 bottles of gin, 10 gallons of alcohol and 28 quarts of whisky.
Building at 852 Coast avenue; John Stringe; one pine of moonshine, four bottles of beer and 75-gallon still.
Dwelling at 850 Coast avenue; Louis Strangis; 75-gallon still, three gallons of moonshine; 728 gallons of mash and 400 pounds of corn sugar.
House at 30 East Forest avenue, Ross Township; Adolph Tetmeyer; 50-gallon still, four barrels of mash and one quart of moonshine.
The Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 28, 1930
13 SENTENCED IN RUM CASES
Fifteen persons were fined a total of $1.600 and drew aggregate jail and penitentiary sentences of three years, three months and 15 days on pleas and convections in United States Court Wednesday.
Those sentenced for violation of the liquor laws were:
Earle Jones, 60 days, Allegheny County Jail; August Massaglia, 75 days, Allegheny County Jail; Anna Darling, one month in the county jail; W. E. Conway, $100 fine.
Harry Bair, $100 fine; Clement Rudzinskas, eight months in the Washington County Jail; Walter Tacker, $200 fine; Chester Stanard, $200 fine; Cornelius Lenehan, $300 fine.
Nick Colbozo, $200 fine; John Hastings, $300 fine; John Hays, two months, Allegheny County Jail; Laverio Ritano, $100 fine and six months in the Allegheny County Jail, and Peter Garlicke, $100 fine and two months in the Allegheny County Jail.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 16, 1930
FIRE FOLLOWS RUM RAIDERS
Mash, Beer and Whisky Saved in Turnverein Blaze
Fire broke out in the Mt. Oliver Turnverein Hall less than an hour after Federal prohibition agents confiscated liquor and beer there, today was estimated to have caused $2,500 damage.
Eighty gallons of mash, 39 gallons of beer and 110 pints of whisky were seized.
Sidney Lewis, 500 block Third Avenue, Carnegie was arrested and charged with transportation of liquor. Agents said he loaded a quantity of alcohol in this car from the gall, and was driving away when arrested.
An overhead stove on the second floor was blamed for the fire. The flames broke out shortly after 10 o'clock. Frozen water plugs hampered firemen and the top floor of the old has was razed.
Battalion Chief Klein suffered from smoke fumes, but returned to work after being treated.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 16, 1930
DROPS RUM CHARGES IN NORTH SIDE CASE
Federal Judge Quashes Indictment Against Bott
Charges of manufacture, sale, possession and transportation of beer, against Charles W. Bott, a defendant in the alleged North Side liquor conspiracy and the Union Fishing Club trials of two years ago, today has been dismissed in Federal Court.
The petition was signed by United States Attorney Graham with the approval of the Attorney General and stated that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. Judge Schoonmaker issued the order.
The original North Side rum conspiracy was thrown out of court by Judge Gibson when he ruled that the government had failed to establish a general conspiracy among the 44 defendants.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 13, 1931
SEIZURES MADE IN FOUR RAIDS.
Two Stills Included in Dry Squad's Contraband.
Two raids in Cheswick, another near Bellevue and one in Pittsburgh yesterday were staged by prohibition agents and constables. Five persons were arrested. The first raid in Cheswick was made at "Tony's Place," Pittsburgh Street. Two quarts of whisky, 60 gallons of beer an d 896 pints of beer were found. Tony Klemencich was arrested.
Later a garage in the rear of Pittsburgh street was searched. A 75-gallon still, 18 barrels of mash, 60 gallons of moonshine, six bags of sugar and 24 pounds of yeast were seized. John Starina was arrested.
An automobile and 12 quarts of whisky were seized in Fifth avenue. John Fullerton was arrested.
A 25-gallon still, 104 gallons of moonshine and 50 pounds of sugar were found in a building on Roosevelt road, Bellevue. R.D. No 3. Mary Kalin and Frank Kalin were arrested.
The Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 25, 1931
MAN JAILED IN DRY RAID STAGED IN 1928
Fred H. Drumm was Freed in Amen Corner Case
Fred H. Drumm, 47, one of two men arrested in the Amen Corner prohibition raid last summer and later freed of all charges in connection with the raid, today started a two-month term in county jail for liquor law violation in the 100 block of South Beatty Street in 1928.
He also was fined $200 in Federal Court yesterday.
Others convicted for liquor law violation were:
Matey Yalch, druggist, 100 block Greenfield Ave., fined $500
Tacoma Club, Homestead, $500 fine
Albert Knoll, McKees Rocks, two months in jail, $200 fine
Hamilton Yount, McKees Rocks, $200 fine.
Albert Tucker, Pittsburgh, $300 fine
Joe Weaver, Pittsburgh, parole one year
Stanley Stec, Turtle Creek, $300 fine
John Eassie, Pittsburgh, two months in jail
Samuel Easton, jail four months and $200 fine
James Bracaliello, Hays borough, probation one year
Clyde M. Kitchen, Polk-A-Dot Inn, William Penn Highway, jail one month
Augustino Troiano, Pittsburgh, costs and $300 fine.
The Pittsburgh Press, April 4, 1931
ARREST 12 PERSONS IN PROHIBITION RAIDS
Dry Agents and Officers Also Seize Rum
Federal dry agents, constables and troopers yesterday arrested 12 persons in raids in Pittsburgh and Glendale and Cambria and Westmoreland counties.
Acting on information revealed by the alcohol division of the United States Treasure Department, drys raided the Spangler Pharmacy at Spangler, Cambria County, arrested J. Bert Holsopple and seized whisky and gin.
Reno Sylvester was arrested and an auto and whisky were seized in a garage in Graham Street, North Belle Vernon, and in an adjacent house a still was seized and Clara Marini was arrested.
Drys held John Figura after confiscating a still, moonshine and beer in 300 block Magazine Street, Glendale.
Other raids, seizures and arrests:
In 1600 block Steuben Street; auto, still and moonshine. Gip Constantine and Harry Abbott.
In 700 block Manilla Street; Herman and Mrs. Mary Zimmerman.
In 200 block Third Avenue; whisky and beer; Edward Flaherty.
In Epiphany Street; auto and whisky; driver escaped.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 17, 1931
EIGHT LIQUOR RAIDS STAGED
Two Women and Six Men Arrested by Officers
Six raids in Pittsburgh, one in North Braddock and another in Universal were staged yesterday by state constables and Federal prohibition agents. Two women and six men were arrested. Three whisky stills and large quantities of intoxicants were seized. They searched establishments, prisoners and seizures follows:
Bar-equipped club at 445 Ella st., Charles Isett; 28 quarts of moonshine.
House at 7 White St.; James Phillips; 50-gallon still, five barrels of mash, three gallons of moonshine and one pint of coloring.
Dwelling at 2135 Wylie avenue, Philip Lerner; one bottle of whisky.
Dwelling at 1217 Mulberry alley, Eva Argusta; one gallon of moonshine, 18 cases of beer and eight pints of whisky.
Store at 1217 Penn avenue, Tony Masso; 40 pints of moonshine, 40 gallons of beer mash and 528 pints of beer.
Dwelling at 5385 Warble Street, Mrs. Frey; one quart of gin and one gallon of moonshine.
House at 1730 Binton avenue, North Braddock, Joe Church: 10-gallon still, three gallons of moonshine and 52 gallons of mash.
Dwelling in Universal, Frank Habyan; 20-gallon still, 124 gallons of moonshine, 20 gallons of beer mash, 400 pounds of sugar and 132 pints of beer.
The Pittsburgh Press, Apr 23, 1931
HOLD 7 IN RUM CASES FOLLOWING RAIDS
Agents Report Finding Much Contraband
Seven persons were being held today by prohibition agents for hearings before a United States commissioner as the result of raids yesterday in Baldwin Township, Bridgeville, East Taylor, Cambria County and Pittsburgh.
The largest seizure was reported made on the Scott farm in Baldwin Township, where Sam Mannone and Joseph Tolina were arrested. The contraband included a 125-gallon still and 95 gallons of moonshine, according to agents.
The others arrested were: Walter Bogdan, in the 1400 block Penn Avenue; Anthony Borezek, in the 1300 block of Mulberry Way; Charles Papakie, in a store in Bridgebille; Mrs. Mary Modick and John Jermejic, in East Taylor.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 23, 1931
BOTT LIQUOR CASE DROPPED
Action Releases Man Held Bootlegger To Fishing Club.
A nolle prose in respect to Charles W. Bott, former superintendent of the Fort Pitt Brewing Company, yesterday enacted finale in the Union Fishing Club rum conspiracy case in the United States district court. The charge against Bott was dismissed by Judge. F. P. Schoonmaker on a petition signed by Louis E. Graham, Federal prosecutor, with the approval of Attorney General William Mitchell. The Government authorities in the petition against Bott stated there is not sufficient evidence to warrant further prosecution.
Bott was charged with having sold liquor to the club before it was raided by Federal agents on January 8, 1929. The allegation was made by some witnesses during the trial that Bott had sold alcohol to the club to "shoot" beer. As a result of the trial all officers were acquitted. The club, several employees and liquor salesmen were convicted. The club was fined $3,500.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 11, 1931
SEIZURES MADE BY DRY SQUADS
Week-end Raids Are Staged By Agents At Many Points.
Thirteen persons were arrested by prohibition agents and constables over the week-end in raids on two wildcat breweries, a club, a roadhouse, three distilleries and four other establishments in Pittsburgh, Parnassus, McDonald, Arnold and Turtle Creek. The raided establishments, prisoners and seizures follow:
Wildcat brewery in North Star Hotel on the Steubenville pike, McDonald., A.M. Tuning, Elmer Marshall and Frank Dolinar; one gallon of gin, five gallons of whisky, 102 gallons of beer and 100 gallons of beer mash.
Wildcat brewery rear of 636 Stanton avenue, Parnasus; James Johnston and Robert Spencer; 143 gallons of beer mash, 1,248 pints of beer, one pound of malt and five pounds of sugar.
Nine-foot-bar club, rear 3375 Fourth avenue, Arnold; Tryncko Prokop; seven gallons of beer and one quart of whisky
A 150-gallon distillery at 5367 Warble street, Pittsburgh; 1,548 gallons of mash, 30 pounds of sugar and 25 gallons of moonshine.
A two-still distillery at 56 Prospect avenue, Turtle Creek; Mary Flego; 30-gallon still, 15-gallon still, 156 gallons of mash, 400 pounds of corn sugar and 20 quarts of moonshine.
A 75-gallon still distillery at 719 Larimer avenue; James Chiannelli, 572 gallons of mash and 20 gallons of moonshine.
A roadhouse at 714 Woods Run avenue, Pittsburgh; Dominick Marinello; 294 pints of beer, one gallon of whisky and one gallon of wine.
Building at 1026 Bustrick way, Pittsburgh; 78 pints of moonshine and three bags of whisky chips.
Dwelling at 320 Chalfont Street, Pittsburgh; Joe Mavkeril; 1,100 gallons of mash, 18 sacks of corn sugar and 65 pounds of yeast.
Building at 106 Fourth avenue, Pittsburgh; Anthony Carlos; five quarts of gin, 35 pints of whisky and 186 gallons of beer
Building at 818 Crawford street, Pittsburgh; Isador Sigal; seven gallons of moonshine.
The Pittsburgh Press, July 8, 1931
DOUBLE CROSS BLAMED FOR RACKET DEATH
Detectives Say Morris Curran Paid Penalty for Work as 'Stool Pigeon'
Bootleg Supply King Aided Dry Agents in Raids, Police Claim
Double-crossing his customers and competitors caused the racket killing of Morris Curran, Pittsburgh bootleg supply king, homicide detectives concluded today.
As they neared a solution of the crime, detectives said several attempts have been made in the past two years to "put Curran on the spot."
He was shot down in the 2400 block Perrysville avenue as he walked out of his new home.
Claimed Victim Was Informer
Detectives claim they have learned Curran dealt with prohibition agents and served as a "stool pigeon" in tipping off the drys to the names of those who purchased stills and equipment.
Undercover sources of information have revealed a tangled story of bootleg ring operation in Pittsburgh of which Curran sought to head as a dictator.
He was involved in the intrigue and conspiracy by which he hoped to make millions and become the racket king of the district, detectives claim.
His motive in tipping off the dry forces to the still buyers was part of a plan to increase business, detectives. say.
Dry Agents Tipped Off.
When the duplicate of a purchase slip would leave the Curran bootleg equipment store in the 1300 block Penn Avenue it would be transmitted to prohibition headquarters. A raid would follow in a few days.
Curran's agents would approach the victim of the raid and extend their sympathy over the misfortune the drys had wreaked on the law violator. Then they would offer to outfit the place again or sell sufficient equipment to begin all over in a new location.
In the new location it wouldn't be long until the act was repeated.
Refuse to Join
Other still supply organizations two years ago invited Curran to join an association to stabilize prices and selling methods. They planned an airtight outfit where everyone in the racket would get a fair share of the business and there would be no underselling.
Curran, because of the volume of business, figured he was firmly entrenched, the detectives say and refused to join the association.
Others joined out of fear, the investigators have learned, and there was some stabilization of the market. Curran's "elimination" from the business was ordered and the first move was an attempt to scare Curran out of the racket.
On Aug. 1, 1929, a bomb was placed under his building, 1233-35 Penn Avenue, and did heavy damage. Two persons were seriously injured.
Curran Refused to Quit
But Curran refused to quit. He opened up again and detectives have found his life was threatened several times during the intervening two years until his murder June 24.
Still Curran didn't scare.
Two days before the killing a man bought an auto under a fictitious name in a North Side garage. It was Curran's death car purchased as an escape vehicles by his killers.
The car was recovered after Curran was "put on the spot." It was abandoned more than two miles from the scene.
Girl Gives Information
First information concerning Curran came to detectives from Gladys Ulman, who lived near the death scene. She said Curran had borrowed her car and it was missing. The Ulman girl was questioned and it was found Curran had a $5,000 insurance policy in her name. The car left by Curran at his new house had been towed to a police garage.
Curran lived with his wife and four children in the 5500 block Jackson Street, East End.
Ten days before he was killed he disappeared suddenly, saying he was going to Ross Township to live. Detectives believe he had a tip he was going to be killed and went into hiding.
He had abandoned his hiding place only 24 hours before two steel-jacketed bullets ended his life.
DROP CHARGES IN RUM CASES.
Walter Dippel Among Those Freed by Court.
Walter Dippel, roadhouse proprietor of Three Degree Road, was among the 11 persons freed of violating the dry law in Federal Court today, when Judge R. M. Gibson sanctioned the dismissal of the cases.
Two persons claimed that search warrants had been illegally issued and the court ordered the evidence suppressed. The government had insufficient evidence against four others, one testified before the Federal grand jury, one man is dead, while three claimed illegal arrest.
Dippel and his janitor, Joseph Robinson, contended that the search warrant on which they were arrested did not describe the roadhouse properly and the court ordered the evidence suppressed.
A large quantity of whisky, ale, champagne, gin and beer was seized by prohibition agents who raided the roadhouse.
A prohibition agent violated the law when he search Martin Valentine of Summerhill Township, Cambria county, and found a half pint of alleged whisky in his clothing, the court held, and ordered the evidence suppressed.
Valentine, his wife, Mrs. Hilda Valentine, and Albert Paul, also of Summerhill township, were named in informations which were nolle prossed because of the illegal search and seizure.
Attorney Max Schoonmaker, counsel for Mr. and Mrs. Valentine and Paul, contended that the search of Valentine, who was standing on Paul's property, was illegal, as the prohibition agents did not have probably cause for searching him.
Charges against William J. Donaldson, Richard Pritts, Frank Ureck and David A. Johns, all of Pittsburgh, were nolle prossed because of insufficient evidence. Stephen Bielski of Pittsburgh testified before the grand jury and he was freed, while Mahlon Edwards of Pittsburgh, named in an information, died April 25, 1929.
The Pittsburgh Press, July 14, 1931
SOLUTION OF CURRAN MURDER PREDICTED.
Homicide Squad Promises Action in Bootleg King's Death
Solution of the murder of Morris Curran, Penn Avenue bootleg supply king, is near, homicide detectives said today, after a conference of their chief with Safety Director Clark.
Lieutenant Frank Ferris, head of the squad, was "called on the carpet," by Clark yesterday to explain why no arrests had been made in the killing, which occurred June 24.
Curran was "put on the spot" in front of a new home he was building at 2922 Perrysville Avenue.
"I know who killed Curran," Ferris said today.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug 15, 1931
CURRAN RACKET MURDER PROBE BEGUN BY PARK
Inquiry Into Killing Seven Weeks Ago Is Under Way.
Woman Quizzed Again
Prosecutor's Aide Called In "Friend" of Slain Man Who Repeats Inquest Story.
Seven weeks after Morris Curran, admitted "big shot' in the bootleg supply racket that has put half a score of men "on the spot" and which extended to every part of Allegheny county, was murdered by gangsters in the Northside, District Attorney Andrew T. Park yesterday began an investigation to find out who killed him.
Park's action follow 12 hours after Attorney Ralph H. Smith, opposing Park for the Republican nomination for district attorney, had scored Park for his failure to even attempt to bring Curran's slayers to justice. Smith and Park spoke from the same platform in the Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Northside, which is near the home of both Park and Smith and in the same section where Curran was slain.
Victim's "Friend" Quizzed.
Park yesterday place Assistant District Attorney Earl Jackson in charge of the investigation of the Curran killing. Jackson's first move was to interview Gladys Ulman, "friend" and secretary of Curran, who disclosed the inner workings and some of the members of a wide-spread and powerful union of racketeers dealing in bootleggers' supplies when she appeared before a coroner's jury.
The Ulman woman was in Jackson's office for half an hour, Jackson said after she had been quizzed and permitted to go to her home on Linwood avenue, Northside, that she had repeated her testimony given at the coroner's inquest. She also mentioned the names to him of the men who were associated with the murdered racketeer in the union. They were Bonnie Goldberg, Louis Eckstein, S. Casela, Joseph Certo, Mike Davis, Abe Kerschabaum, J. Disboff and Curran. She tentatively named Weston Flowers of Charleroi.
Pressed for further detail of Currans' business relations and the activities of the union to fix prices of yeast and sugar to bootleggers the Ulman woman made one important admission. She said that after numerous quarrels among the members of the "Keystone Company," the unofficial name of the union was dissolved in April last.
Cause of Break-Up.
The break-up came, she said, after some of the members failed in raising the prices of yeast and sugar. The members of the organization were about equally divided, she had learned from conversations in Curran's Penn avenue store. Bitter enmity existed between the two factions, but in face of all this Curran still refused to increase prices. I was when he made a final declaration to some of the members to this effect that the union disbanded.
"I think it was some time in April that the break-up occurred," she informed Jackson. "I am not certain of the date, but at no time did I hear of any threats made against Curran's life. I have told you all I can in connection with the union to regulate prices for selling yeast and sugar. I know nothing more in connection with the case."
Before the Ulman woman was permitted to leave, she promised to respond promptly in case she is wanted again for questioning.
Theory of Sleuths
The break-up of the union occurred less than two months, according to detectives, before Curran was murdered. They are working on the theory that this may have been the starting point of the bitter enmity against him by business rivals that finally resulted in his killing.
Jackson was in conference with Chief of County Detectives George W. Murren after his questioning of the Ulman woman. He submitted the names of others he intends to question the first of the week. He would not make these names public.
Jackson said later the questioning of the Ulman woman did not uncover any new angles that may lead to solving the mystery unless that of breaking up the yeast and sugar union can be so construed.
The Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 16, 1931
WHAT IS IT?
Gladys Ulman, secretary of Morris Curran, late of the bootleg supply racket, testified at the inquest on his murder as to the inner workings of the racket, where its members met, and named some of them.
She added that she had given the information to members of the homicide squad a month ago, when originally questioned about Curran's death.
Apparently the homicide squad made no use of the information, and if it was ever given by them to other "law enforcement" officers, there has been no action on it.
Is this an indication of the compartmentalized workings of the police mind, or just what is it?
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 25, 1931
SEIZURES MADE IN NINE RAIDS.
Three Stills Included in Contraband of Dry Squads
Four raids in Pittsburgh, tow in McKees Rocks, and one each in Braddock, Lenhart and McKeesport were staged yesterday by constables and prohibition agents. Ten arrests were made. Three whisky stills and large quantities of intoxicants were seized. Raided establishments, prisoners and seizures follow:
Building at 825 Beech street; John Burton; one barrel of beer, five pints of whisky and two pints of gin.
Building at 1302 Webster avenue; William Cherry, five gallons of moonshine.
Building at 39 Washington place; Charles Mader; 72 pints of beer, 25 pints of whisky, five gallons of gin and four gallons of moonshine.
Building at 224 Sagamore street; Anthony Sedar; 15-gallon still, 10 gallons of moonshine and two barrels of mash.
Bar-equipped saloon in Rose street, McKeesport; James Isaaco; 177 pints of beer and three quarts of whisky.
Premises rear 1222 Braddock avenue, Braddock; Laboria Maiorino; 15-gallon still and 10 gallons of moonshine.
Building at Lenhart; Joseph De Mace and James Demace; 500 pound of corn sugar and three gallons of moonshine.
Building at 224 Locust street, McKees Rocks; Joseph Blauzdis; 10-gallon still, two barrels of mash and one gallon of moonshine.
Building at 308 Bell avenue, McKees Rocks; Mrs. Fay Walsh; four pints of beer and one pint of whisky.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept 15, 1931
YEAST MERCHANT KILLED BY RIVAL'S GANG, BELIEF
Policy Theory Based on Examination of Accounts.
Victim's Aide Talks
Siragusa Murder May Be Linked With Curran's, Hope of Authorities
The killers of Joseph Siragusa, 49, who was put on the spot in his home, 2523 Beechwood boulevard, Sunday, were in the employ of another yeast merchant unable to meet the competition set by the combine headed by Siragusa, homicide squad sleuths concluded yesterday.
The trail of Siragusa's slayers, detectives hope, will lead them to the slayers of Morris Curran, another bootleg supply baron, who was shot to death in front of his Perrysville avenue home last June.
Curran supplied brown sugar used in the manufacture of moonshine and his hardware store in Penn avenue was said by police to be the supply house for copper coils and tanks used in the assemblage of stills. The murder of Curran was written into police records as an unsolved murder after all clues were exhausted.
Sergeant Sam Wheeler and Detectives Frank Dodson and Thomas Mulvihill based their conclusions that a rival yeast and bootleg supply merchant was responsible for the killing on discoveries they made after examining the dead man's books and delving into his private accounts.
Records of the American Express Company showed Siragusa handled about a ton of yeast every day. Vincent Catanzaro, 53, of Edmond street, an employee of Siragusa, made a statement at police headquarters yesterday in which he detailed the part he played in the yeast business for $25 a week. He said he knew of only half a dozen customers of the dead man and said all the yeast was delivered to these men.
Sleuths scouted his story when they examined the order books and found the entries of customers made in Catanzaro's hand totaled at least 50. He said he owned his truck and was paid for its upkeep in addition to the $25 he got as salary.
The yeast delivered to Siragusa, Pittsburgh representative of the Empire Yeast Company of New York, cost him 12 cents a pound. Ten cents was the cost of the yeast and 2 cents was the cost of freight to Pittsburgh.
Meetings to Regulate Price
From Catanzaro's story sleuths learned meetings were held by his boss and other yeast merchants in the plant at 241 Cedarville street several times each week. On each meeting day, Catanzaro said, he was sent to buy cigarets which were hard to obtain. He was delayed hours and never sat in on any meetings but learned and intimated indirectly to Wheeler, Dodson and Mulvihill that the meetings were called to regulate the price of yeast.
Since half a dozen merchants attended the meetings sleuths concluded the yeast they handled could be sold for as low as the purchase price for a time at least. While they kept the price at 12 or 12-1/2 cents a pound rivals were frozen out. This caused a clear field and Siragusa and his combine could raise the price again as high as they saw fit without fear of competition.
It was one of these rival merchants who desired to start a combine of his own who so desired the removal of Siragusa that he and his cohorts invested enough money to employ killers to have Siragusa bumped off, the detectives say.
Earlier Theories Dropped
Theories that the killers were the owners of the mysterious sedan bearing New York licenses seen in the vicinity after the killing were discarded by the sleuths. The owner of the car, they learned, was Joe Gallo of Marlborough, N.Y., now sought in New York city for a shooting.
Detectives said Gallo hardly would come to Pittsburgh in a car carrying his own license plates when he knew he was wanted for the New York job and several police would be sure to spot the license number and arrest him.
The Mount Washington News, Sept. 18, 1931
Two Federal prohibition agents were trapped in an alley in Homewood at 1:30 a.m. one day last week. The agents, C.S. Johnston, 30, of 232 Romeo St., and George B. Catherwood, of 232 Ruxton st., were treated at Marine Hospital for cuts and bruises on the face and body.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sep 26, 1931
SUSPECT IN SLAYING UNIDENTIFIED, FREED
Joseph Gallo, 32, of 7620 Hamilton Avenue, arrested as a suspect in the slaying two weeks ago of Joseph Siragusa, bootleg supply baron, was released at a hearing by Magistrate Leo Rothenberg.
License plates on the automobile used by Siragusa's assassins were traced to a Joseph Gallo now sought in New York for murder. Neighbors of Siragusa saw the death car approach and saw a man get out.
Witnesses were unable to identify Gallo as one of the passengers in the car and police requested he be discharged.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 3, 1931
CARNEGIE MEN HELD IN RAIDS
Dry Agents Arrest Six; Stills, Rum Confiscated.
Six persons were arrested yesterday in four raids staged by state constables and Federal prohibition agents. Two searches were made in Carnegie, one in Pittsburgh, and another in Mt. Troy. Three whisky stills were among the contraband found. The raided establishments, prisoners and seizures follow:
Dwelling at 54 Border Street, Carnegie; Charles Helm and Emil Weber; 150-gallon still, 20 gallons of moonshine and 1,400 gallons of mash.
House at 515 West Main Street, Carnegie; A. Bongiovanni and Lee Hall; 100-gallon still, 10 gallons of moonshine and 1,000 gallons of mash.
Saloon rear of 311 Larimer Avenue; Sam Monda; 12 half-pints of moonshine and two pints of beer.
Building at 22 Lutty Street, Mt. Troy, Reserve township; Charles Lutty; 20-gallon still, 15 gallons of moonshine, 10 gallons of wine and 80 gallons of mash.
Announcement was made at Federal prohibition headquarters last evening that an error had been made on Wednesday in stating that a building at 6227 Station street had been raided. The premises searched are in the next block. William J. Bradley was arrested in the establishment.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 7, 1931
UNDERWRITERS FIGHT $10,000 CURRAN SUIT
Refuse to Pay Premium In Racketeer's Death
The New York Life Insurance Company today opened a legal battle in Federal Court to avoid paying any of the premium in the death of Morris Curran, liquor supplies racketeer shot to death June 24 in the yard of a new home he had built in Perrysville Avenue.
Curran represented himself as a hardware merchant with no other occupation, when he took out a $5,000 policy, with a double indemnity clause last February, counsel for the insurance company set forth in a defense entered in a suit to collect $10,000 for his death.
Gladys Ulam, secretary to the slain racket leader, and beneficiary under the policy filed suit for $10,000 Sept. 4
Curran was a racket leader, "heavily engaged," slain by "rival purveyors" and misrepresented his occupation in obtaining the policy, the company charges.
"Curran was one of the leaders in said illicit business, and by reason of his activities therein, consciously brought about his own assassination" answer to Miss Ulam's suit holds.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Oct. 8, 1931
YEAST RACKET HERE CLAIMS ANOTHER LIFE
Toll of Gang Pistols Is 102 After Wylie Avenue Killing
Killer Makes Escape
Latest Murder is Linked By Police to Recent Slayings.
Jack Palmere, alias Palmer, 35, "big shot" of the liquor supply racket, fell with two bullet wounds in his head in Wylie avenue last night, murdered by another of the racket gunmen who had eliminated two bootleg-supply kings before him this year by the murder method.
Besides being the third "big shot" to go, Palmere went on the records as the one hundred and second victim of racket killers in Allegheny county within 70 months. Sixty three of his predecessors on the murder list were killed in the city, as he was, the remainder having been slain in the county outside the city.
Palmere, frightened for days at the knowledge that his death was only a matter of hours, was dropped with two bullets dead behind his back while he talked with a friend. He died instantly.
Underselling Held Cause.
Police, seeking the killer, last night uncovered facts that showed once more the deadly character of the racket war in progress from end to end of the city and county.
Palmere, "big shot" in the yeast and sugar supply racket, and a big-time bootlegger in his own right, was found to have been "knocked off" for the same reason for which Morris Curran and Joseph Siragusa, "czars" of the same racket, met their death - the underselling of competitors.
Palmere, driving a shining new automobile, drove up to the curb in the 700 block of Wylie avenue shortly after 7 o'clock last night, and stepped on to the sidewalk.
Killer Makes Getaway.
Meeting an acquaintance, Fred Colelli, of 6011 Bethel place, he stopped to talk. Palmere was facing Colelli when the killer, a tall man of heavy build, strode around the corner from Chatham street into Wylie avenue, walked rapidly to where the two men were conversing and drew a revolver.
Before Colelli could cry out a warning the gun barked twice, and Palmere slumped to the sidewalk.
The killer turned and ran back to Chatham street. Turning the corner, he ran back down that street to Clay alley and up the alley to a house which has another entrance opening on Wylie avenue. The gunman opened the door and disappeared into the house.
Scores of persons ran to Palmere's aid, and an ambulance was summoned from Passavant Hospital. When the bootleg-supply "czar" was taken there, however, physicians said he had been killed instantly.
Police made a thorough search of the house into which the killer had disappeared, but found no trace of him.
Police radio cars throughout the city were given a description of the wanted man. Police also took Vincenzo Marchettac, 36, of 801 Wylie avenue, into custody as a material witness. It was said that Marchettac witnessed the shooting from a tailor shop he had entered a short time before. An intensive search of the Hill district was begun for the killer, and police claimed to be expecting to make other arrests momentarily.
Other Cases Are Recalled
Papers found in the dead man's pocket gave police first confirmation of their belief that Palmere's death was in some way connected with the death three weeks ago of Joseph Siragusa, holder of the bootleg yeast distributing privilege in Bloomfield and parts of East Liberty.
One of the addresses was 241 Cedarville street, where the offices of Siragusa's company, the Empire Yeast Company of Pittsburgh, were located. The other was 2022 Pioneer avenue, where it was found Palmere had been rooming since January, and where he was known only as a Wylie avenue barber and a quiet resident.
Conflicting rumors were advanced by police and by Wylie avenue racket men as to Palmere's connection with Siragusa.
The racket men claim that Palmere was a partner of the other man, who was tortured and murdered in his home at 2523 Beechwood boulevard while his wife and mother were at church, three weeks ago.
Police See Revenge Angle
Palmero's murder, they claim, was simply the completion of the work of the gunmen who "bumped off" Siragusa.
Police differed with this view, expressing their belief that Palmere himself had taken part in the killing of Siragusa and was murdered by friends of Siragusa in revenge for his part in the slaying.
The version of the racket men was believed in the underworld to be nearest the truth, since it is known that Palmere recently had been underselling competitors, and incurring enmities among the racket men who were seeking to "divide things up right."
For days, it was said in Wylie avenue racket spots, Palmere had been in fear of death. His friends said he had told them when visiting that neighborhood: "Don't tell anybody I was around."
Detectives this morning raided a garage at 1320 Locust street, which, they said, was a warehouse for the storage of yeast and sugar owned by Palmere. Three men found in the place were arrested. They said they were: Pete Napoleon, 25, 613 Southern avenue; Nick Raimondo, 21, 711 Wylie avenue, and Fred De Luca, 29, 2022 Pioneer avenue. They were questioned then ordered locked up for further questioning today. The three men denied knowledge of the slaying.
The Pittsburgh Press, Oct 9, 1931
KILLER NAMED IN YEAST WAR
Police Hunt Traitor as Tool of New York Gang Invading Pittsburgh
"Little Joe" Spinelli, gunman and tool of New York gangsters trying to "muscle in" to control Pittsburgh's $1,000,000-a-year sugar-and-yeast racket, was sought today as the traitor who put Jack Palmere and Saverio (Toto) Amaraso on the spot within 18 hours.
Spinelli has been identified as the man with whom Toto left a Turtle Creek hideout at 8 a.m. yesterday - four hours before his flaming body was found three miles away - and is said by detectives to have been implicated in the shooting death of Palmere in lower Wylie Avenue at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Homicide detectives said Spinelli was implicated in both murders.
City, county and borough police have arrested seven men in their drive to halt the sugar-and-yeast killings. An eighth had been released.
Palmere went to his death in a gutter in lower Wylie Avenue Wednesday night as a gunman fired a shot into his brain and sent other bullets crashing through windows.
Toto was stabbed and strangled Thursday morning. His body, wrapped in a blanket and burlap, was set afire in Petersen Hollow, Patton township.
Slain Shielding Friends
Both men were slain because they had refused to betray their friends into the hands of the New York racketeer-killers, police said.
Both had been told they were on the spot, and tried to elude the gang deaths closing in on them.
Palmere, warning friends not to disclose his movements, was chatting with Joe Colelli - one of the men held - when he was slain.
Toto, trying to dodge death by sleeping with his clothes on and never twice in the same place, quickly was appraised of Palmere's murder.
He went to a building in Locust Street from which he and Palmere operated their sugar-and-yeast business. He gave final orders to employes.
Detectives, later raiding the place, arrested three drivers employed by the partners and learned of his visit.
Then Toto fled to Turtle Creek where he and Palmere operated a still on the third floor of a building at 644 Church Avenue.
He warned Leonard Ciscerone, 21, and Leonard's brother, Alphonse, 17, to admit no one, and tried to sleep.
None called during the night, the brothers said. But at 8 a.m. Spinelli knocked at the door and asked for Toto, they said.
The furtive racket baron, his eyes rimmed with red from lack of sleep and fitful pacing of the floor, talked briefly with Spinelli and then left with him.
He was going to his rendezvous with death.
Police are uncertain whether or not Toto knew he was being taken on his last ride, or whether he was double-crossed by Spinelli.
Body Human Pyre.
But he went for a ride on which he was stabled and strangles, and after which he was left, a human pure to the rackets in which he had thrived, beside a trickling creek off Hall Station Road, half a mile from Linhart.
Homicide Detectives Dodson, Mulvihill, O'Kane, Harris and Carroll, and Police Chief W. H. Whalen of Turtle Creek raided the still early today.
They took the Ciscerone brothers to Central headquarters, where they selected the picture of Spinelli from the Bertilllon files as the likeness of the man who had betrayed Toto into the hands of the murderers. They identified Toto's charred remains at the morgue.
Then they were returned to Turtle Creek and held on technical suspicious persons charges.
Barons Run to Cover.
As the arrests continued and search for the Toto slayer went on, sugar-and-yeast barons, fighting to retain control of the racket - went under cover.
Telephone calls to a dozen known leaders in the rich racket either were unanswered or brought information that the racket chieftains were "out of town."
Those held in the Central Police Station include three truck drivers seized at the sugar-and-yeast warehouse of Palmere and Toto, an eyewitness to the murder, a man reported to have conferred with the Palmere slayer 15 minutes before the kill. A close friend of Toto has been released.
Quizzed in Curran Murder.
All were held incommunicado. They were also questioned in the murder of Morris Curran, the Penn Avenue racketeer, who killing four months ago started the new series of sugar and yeast slayings.
Joe Siragusa, who built at $35,000 show-place in exclusive Squirrel Hill out of the dollars that came to him from Bloomfield beer barons as he waxed wealthy in the dingy offices of his Empire Yeast Company, was No. 2
Jack Palmere, the third victim, was shot down Wednesday evening as he talked to Joe Colelli in Wylie Avenue. His pockets bulged with huge rolls of bills.
And Amarosa, snatched from a sidewalk, tossed into a murder car, stabbed and strangled with a clothes line, and then set afire in a field where lovers meet, yesterday was No. 4.
Detectives waded through mazes of records in trying to fix the exact cause of the underworld warfare, but they came back to the original theory that out-of-town grafters are trying to "muscle in" on the lucrative racket, and are killing all who refuse to play into their hands.
The Daily Times, Oct. 9, 1931
Sam Amarosa, alleged booze racketeer, was burned to death in a thicket near the city yesterday. Rival gangsters are believed to have hanged Amarosa, wrapped his naked body in gasoline soaked blankets and applied the torch.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct. 12, 1931
MURDER PROBE MEETS CHECK
Police Still Seeking Elusive Guard of Dead Racketeers.
While detectives continues their search for "Little Joe" Spinelli without success, the investigation of the two racket murders perpetrated in the county last week was virtually at a standstill during the week-end.
New information was uncovered by the sleuths, but the only lead being followed in the killings was that provided by Spinelli, said to have fled in an automobile which Sam Amarosa ("Toto") had borrowed from a friend a few hours before his body was found blazing in a gasoline-drenched blanket in Peterson Hollow, Patton Township.
City detectives said they had learned that Spinelli was a bodyguard both of "Toto" and Jack Palmere, "Toto's" partner, who was shot and killed in Wylie avenue a few hours before "Toto" was murdered.
Three stills among the large number which "Toto" and Palmere were said to have operated throughout the county as a profitable sideline to the traffic in yeast and sugar which they supplied in huge quantities to bootleggers, had been seized by detectives up to Saturday night.
Three men said to have admitted they were truck drivers for Palmere and Amarosa, but to have denied knowledge of the killings, were released by Lieutenant Frank Ferris, of the homicide squad Saturday, after being questioned again. They were Pete Napoleon, of Southern avenue, Nick Rafmondo, 713 Wylie avenue, and Fred DeLuca, 2023 Pioneer avenue.
Ferris said he had found that Palmere and Toto were themselves murderers. He said they had killed James Courtney, an alcohol cooker at one of their stills, to silence him when he refused two years ago to kill a rival racket man at their command.
The Mount Washington News, Oct 23, 1931
Joseph Tito, of 312 Merrimac st., was arrested last Friday, charged with keeping a disorderly house. The police found a six and a half gallon of moonshine. Magistrate Sweeney on Saturday morning fined Tito $50.
The Mount Washington News, Oct. 30, 1931
The slot machines have disappeared on the Hill, temporarily at least. You know a few weeks ago the police made a raid in one of our many bootleg joints and confiscated the catch-suckers machines. The owners became alarmed and removed them from places where everybody knew they were except the guardians of the law.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 6, 1931
11 ARE NABBED IN DRY RAIDS
Arrests Are Made In Nine Places By Federal Agents.
Eleven persons were arrested yesterday by state constables and Federal prohibition agents in nine raids. Two searches each were made in Pittsburgh and Braddock and one each in Kennywood, Duquesne, Homer City, Indian and Shelocta. Two whisky stills and large quantities of intoxicants were seized.
In a 12-foot-bar saloon at 6289 Frankstown ave., 82 pints of whisky, eight pints of beer, three barrels of beer and 32 pints of gin were found. Charlie Ray was arrested.
Edward McHugh and Rose Riggio were arrested in a building at 802 Sampson street. Forty-six pints of moonshine were seized.
Other prisoners were arrested in raided establishments as follows:
O. H. Porter in building at 165 Kennywood boulevard, Kennywood
Frank Perry in building at 425 Yew way, Braddock
Liborio Mairvano in dwelling rear 1222 Braddock avenue
Mrs. Paul Jakwbisky in swelling at 306 Hamilton avenue, Duquesne
Peter Vischio in house on Tearing Run, Homer City
Dominick Violi in dwelling at 230 Gompers Alley, Indiana
Frank Canizaro and Mrs. Frank Canizaro in Pennsylvania Inn, Shelocta
The Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 12, 1931
DRYS INVESTIGATING POLITICIANS' NAMES
Found in Records of Prisoner After Arrest
Federal agents today were investigating names, said to include those of many politicians and racketeers, found in the records of James Martorella, lieutenant of Joe Engelsberg, Mayor Kline's Third Ward chairman, when he was arrested for liquor sale Tuesday.
Martorella and Naomi John were held for hearings on sale charges after agents arrested them in Martorella's Grant Distributing Company office at 1201 Wylie Avenue, and found in Martorella's pockets keys to a strong room containing 95 gallons of alcohol.
An account with Jack Palmere, slain bootlegger, was among the records held by Martorella, who is a former president of the Amerita Club.
The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 8, 1931
JUSTICE, 2 OFFICERS HELD IN RUM BRIBE
Woman Charges 3 Took $75 to Overlook Charge
Accused of conspiracy and extortion in accepting $75 to overlook a liquor charge against Mrs. Angeline Miller, Stow Township, a justice of the peace and two constables waived hearings for court last night before Justice of the Peace Margaret Morgan, Sewickley.
Justice of the Peace John G. Metz, Kennedy Township, posted $4,500 bond and Constables William Berg, Avalon and Jacob Esau, Neville Township gave $3,500 bonds. They were arrested by county detectives after Mrs. Miller complained to District Attorney Park, who gave her marked bills to give to Metz.
Morris Maretsky, 1808 Center Avenue, Pittsburgh, accused of operating a gambling house by B. Manes, downtown jeweler, was held for court by Justice Morgan.
The Mount Washington News, Dec. 11, 1931
Louis Impelliccini, 428 William St., was arrested Sunday, charged with keeping a disorderly house. Police found a small quantity of moonshine. He was fined $50. Augustine Hoffman, of 424 William st., and Anthony Manion, of 1121 Virginia ave., visitors, were arrested at the same time, but were later discharged. Some time ago the Impelliccini house was partially destroyed by a bomb.
The Mount Washington News, Dec. 18, 1931
James Obeinauer and Tony Ciccone were arrested by our police for carrying concealed weapons. Obeinauer had a blackjack on his person, while Ciccone had a gun. An investigation at 151 Southern ave., revealed some whisky and homebrew, police said. Obeinauer was fined $25, Ciccone, $50.