Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Myth of Mob Gallantry

The Romance of Organized Crime

It's not just a female trait to be drawn to mobsters like a moth to flame. The prisons and cemeteries are filled with men who struck a devil's bargain and ended up paying a high price. Greed and ignorance are the two main causes of such fates, but the romantic notion of the gangster has been part of the American culture for nearly a century and shows little chance of fading.

But some mob experts point out that some women are especially vulnerable to the lure of the mob myth.

Jerry Capeci
Jerry Capeci
"It's not really untypical, I think, for a woman to become infatuated with gangsters," said author Jerry Capeci. "Many people - men and women - are enthralled by gangsters. It's one of the things that, since the early 1970's and The Godfather, has been a romantic image for many people.

"Many women are lured to be next to wise guys," he went on to say. "They are looking for the money, the glory, the power, the privilege that supposedly comes along with them."

But Capeci's remarks when asked to comment on the story of Arlyne Brickman provide a strong admonition to those who are willing to take the risk of getting involved with a wiseguy.

"I'm sure there are other women who've been abused, women who have been enticed by the glamour of what they thought was going to be a life of luxury and jewels and furs who have been cast aside."

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