Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bugsy Siegel


After the deaths of Joe Masseria and the mysterious killing of Arnold Rothstein, Waxey Gordon decided the time had come to even the score with Siegel and Lansky. From jail (where he had been sent by the IRS thanks to information leaked from the Bugs and Meyer mob), Waxey hired the Fabrazzo brothers to take out the Brooklyn boys once and for all. The Fabrazzos and Waxeys lieutenant, Charlie "Chink" Sherman, broke into the Grand Street hideout of the Bugs and Meyer mob and managed to plant a bomb in a fireplace.

Bugsy and Meyer were in the building when Siegel spotted the bomb and managed to throw it out a window before it exploded. The blast hurt Siegel, but Meyer was unharmed. Ben, despite his injuries, hunted down the Frabrazzo brothers and made sure that they never took on another contract. Andy Frabrazzo was found stuffed in a sack in North Jersey and Louis was gunned down on a Manhattan street.

Tony Frabazzo was as crooked as his brothers, but he wasnt involved in the attempt on Bugsy and Lansky. The deaths of his brothers opened his eyes to the dangers of Siegel, and Tony decided to make himself hit-proof. The lifelong mobster let it be known that he was "writing his memoirs" and was planning to give them to an attorney who would make sure the authorities got them if something happened to his client. One of the longest chapters of the book would be the section on the nationwide kill-for-hire squad lead by Benjamin Siegel. Unfortunately for Tony, the mob got wind of his plans before he had a chance to put pen to paper. Siegel decided to take care of Tony himself. He set about creating an airtight alibi.

"Im awful sick," he told his friends in the fall of 1932. "It must be my nerves, I guess. I need a some rest and quiet and a kind nurse to look after me."

Bugsy Siegel (CORBIS)
Bugsy Siegel
Bugsy checked himself into a local Catholic hospital to "rest up" and heal from the bombing. For two days or so, he rested in the hospital, just like anyone else who had been through such a traumatic experience. Then, one night, he told the nurse that he was very tired and was going to be early. He asked her to close the door and make sure that he was not disturbed.

As soon as the nurse left, Ben jumped out of bed, dressed and placed pillows under the sheets to make it look like a body was in the bed in case someone checked on him. He then scurried down the fire escape and met up with a couple of his gang at the corner.

They drove down through Brooklyn to a house near the Government Reservation off Fort Hamilton Parkway. It was Tony Frabrazzos home. Siegel knocked on the door and Frabrazzos elderly father answered.

"Were detectives," he told the old man. "Wheres Tony?"

Tony was in the kitchen, undoubtedly enjoying a friendly family dinner. When his father hurried into the kitchen to deliver the message, Tony swaggered to the front door, his family behind him. Tony should have recognized the trio (he probably did, after all he acted as backup when Ben gunned down Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll in a telephone booth) but when he saw them he didnt react like a man who was a mob target. Frabrazzo presented an easy target to the killers and they took full advantage. Three shots rang out and Tony, in full view of his mother and father, fell dead to the floor of his boyhood home.

Bugsy returned to the hospital and was back in bed before anyone noticed anything amiss. He remained in his bed for two more days until he was visited by a couple of his gang members. Then, he quickly packed his things and checked himself out. Later, it was learned that his mob had been watching the hospital and had noticed a couple of Frabazzos friends circling the block looking for a place to park. The Bugs and Meyer mobsters figured they were out for revenge and that the healthiest place for Bugsy was as far away from the hospital as possible.



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