At the time, it was the biggest cash robbery ever committed in the United States. Not the daring 1978 Lufthansa heist at New York's JFK International Airport that inspired Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas. I'm talking about Goodfellas not being the #1 box office earner of 1990 and one of the biggest grossing films of all time!
Today there's action. In a series of orchestrated pre-dawn raids conducted early this morning in New York, five reputed members of the Bonanno crime family were arrested and charged with crimes including racketeering and murder in connection with the long-unsolved caper.
The scheme was the brainchild of James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, the stimulus behind Robert De Niro's character "Jimmy Conway." Burke learned of millions in untraceable American currency flown in once a month. To Burke and his crew, JFK International was better than Citibank. The money, used in West German monetary exchanges, was earmarked for military servicemen and tourists.
The information was leaked by an airport employee $20,000 in debt to the mob. The one-day take: a whopping $5 million in cash and $875,000 in jewelry. It was at the time the biggest cash heist ever committed on American soil.
Burke went to the big shine box in the sky in 1996 while doing time for the eradication of a drug dealer. It appeared as if the case was going to be placed on the eternal "pay-no-mind" list. For over 30 years one dog went one way, the other dog went the other way and the case continued to baffle authorities.
Did you really think the bulls were gonna' let 'em get away with this? What's the world coming to?
Last summer, almost 20 years after Burke's death, the Feds raid the residence of one of the hood's relatives and turn up fresh evidence in the form of human remains found lying around the house.
Bonanno kingpin, Vincent Asaro, 78, was taken into custody this morning at his home in Queens. Rounding out the corrupt quintet are Asaro's son, Jerome, Jack Bonventre, Thomas Di Fiore and John "Bazoo" Ragano. Johnny Roast Beef is still at large.
According to officials, the five are charged with multiple crimes, including racketeering and extortion for crimes unrelated to the heist. The goodfellas are scheduled to be arraigned later today.
And that's that.
Source: Chicago Tribune.