Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Al Capone: Chicago's Most Infamous Mob Boss

Capone Arrives

It was into this vast criminal enterprise that Torrio brought twenty-two-year-old Al Capone from his honest bookkeeping job in Baltimore.  The money and opportunity for advancement was an order of magnitude greater, but the disgrace of managing brothels bothered Al.  It was 1921 and Capone had turned his back on respectability forever.   With his business acumen, soon Al became Torrio's partner instead of his employee.   Al took over as manager of the Four Deuces, Torrio's headquarters in the Levee area.  The Four Deuces was a speakeasy, gambling joint and whorehouse all in one.   Soon his brother Ralph would come to join him in Torrio's business.

Jack Guzik
Jack Guzik
At this time, Al became associated with a man that would be his friend for life, Jack Guzik.  Incredibly enough, Guzik's large Jewish Orthodox family made their living through prostitution.  Closer in lifestyle to Torrio, Guzik was a devoted family man who acted like an older brother to Al.  Once again, Capone showed his ability to step outside the Italian community as he had in marrying his Irish wife.  Now his closest friend was Jewish.  Capone's lack of prejudice and ability to create alliances outside of the Italian gangster community would be invaluable in creating his destiny.

Capone House on Prairie Ave.
Capone House on Prairie Ave.
Al was doing quite well financially and bought a house for his family in a respectable neighborhood.  To this modest home at 7244 Prairie Avenue, he brought not only Mae and Sonny, but his mother and other siblings.  Al posed to his neighbors as a dealer in second-hand furniture and went out of his way to maintain a facade of respectability.   Bergreen was convinced that the house on Prairie Avenue, Mae and Sonny represented Capone's striving for redemption.  "Although he preyed on other people's weaknesses for a living, his reputation and standing in the community mattered deeply to him.  The deeper he went into racketeering and all its associated sins, the more he idealized his family, as though they, in their innocence, were living proof that he was not the monster that the newspapers later insisted he was."

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