Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Shondor Birns & Danny Green: Cleveland's Killer Celebrities

'The Luck of the Irish'

Banned from union activity, Danny Greene had little trouble finding employment.

A new industry cried out for "protection." Waste collectors fought for business by beating up, and even bombing, their rivals.

A group of operators got together to form the Cleveland Solid Waste Trade Guild. They hired Danny Greene to "keep peace" and make sure nobody undercut their prices.

Greene also undertook a job that Shondor Birns was temporarily unable to perform because of a prior engagement: He was serving a three-year federal sentence on a tax charge.

Shondor saw in young Danny a man after his own heart. He deputized Danny to fill in for him as enforcer for the numbers operators.

In May 1968, Greene found himself back on Page One. He was driving on the East Side when a bomb exploded in his car. The car was demolished.        

Greene was thrown nearly 20 feet, but escaped with minor injuries — "the luck of the Irish," he said.

He told police he had been minding his own business when somebody in a passing car threw the bomb through his car window. He managed to brush it onto the passenger side before it went off.

Police couldn't get any more out of him. "I can't hear you," he told them. "The bomb did something to my ears."

He told the Press, "I don't know who did it, but I intend to find out."

Actually, he did know who did it.

He did it himself. He was taking the bomb to use against a waste hauler when he accidentally set it off.

From then on, he hired professionals to do his bombing.

Next: Bullets Can't Kill Danny 

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