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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Organized Crime, Mafia and Gangsters: Major Crimes

Guide for Library Research on Crime, Mafia, and Gangsters; Now Including Crime Fiction

Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping

Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping

In 1932 the famous aviator and isolationist Charles Lindbergh reported that his toddler son, less than 2 years old, had been kidnapped. After two months, the body of Charles Lindbergh Jr was discovered near Lindbergh's home, dead from a fracture of the skull. In 1935 Bruno Hauptmann was arrested and charged with the crime. He was convicted and executed in 1936 though he proclaimed his innocence until the end. The kidnapping was one of the most highly publicized crimes of the century.

Bank Robbery

Los Angeles Police Investigate Pacific National Robbery 1928

Los Angeles Police Investigate Pacific National Robbery 1928 (Link)

Bank robbery is a crime where a thief or group of thieves will enter a bank while it is open and subject both bank employees and bystanders to violence or the threat of violence while attempting to take anything of value. In contrast "Breaking into a Bank" is done after hours when the bank is closed and presumably empty of people. During the Prohibition and the Great Depression, many of the more famous gangsters were bank robbers.

Labor Racketeering

Seattle Times May 1934

Seattle Times May 1934

Labor racketeering is the use of organized labor for criminal reasons. Racketeering can include exploitation of employers or union members or both. It can include forcing employers to pay for "employees" who don't work, to pay off corrupt official, or even just straight blackmail to mention a few.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Aftermath of St. Valentine's Day Massacure 1929

Aftermath of St. Valentine's Day Massacure 1929 

The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre was the Prohibition era execution style murder of six mobsters associated with Bugs Maron's North Side Irish gang in Chicago in 1929. The incident was part of the fight between Maron's Irish gang and Al Capone's South Side Italian gang for control of organized crime in the city.

Kansas City Massacre

Kansas City Massacre

The Kansas City massacre was the shootout that resulted in the murder of four FBI agent at a railroad depot in Kansas City Missouri in 1933. The massacre led to structural changes at the FBI; until the massacre agents were not allowed to arrest or carry weapons. This was changed after this incident.

Bootlegging

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watching agents pour liquor into the sewer following a raid, c. 1920.

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner John A. Leach (right) watching agents pour liquor into the sewer following a raid, c. 1920.

Bootlegging is the illegal transportation of alchol when the substance is highly taxed or prohibited. Bootlegging refers to smuggling over land. When it is done by sea or over other bodies of water it is called rum-running.