cullotta-cover-web.jpgExcerpted from CULLOTTA – The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness.

Staying true to his habit of frequently changing his method of operation, Frank temporarily returned to doing residential burglaries. He and his partners concentrated on the well-to-do sections of town and utilized tipsters to gather intelligence on potential victims.

Using tips from people who sold jewelry insurance to homeowners, Frank and his crew tore up the suburbs. They knew what valuables would be in the house. And in the neighborhoods they were working in they usually found a lot more than jewelry. People hid money in the strangest places, but Frank and his boys always seemed to find the cash.

One time they burglarized a house in Elmwood Park. Unbeknownst to them, it belonged to an Outfit-connected bookie. They found jewelry and about five hundred dollars in cash taped to the bottoms of dresser drawers in the bedroom. They took all that and a few furs, too.

The next day word was out on the street that the house of a man that worked for the Outfit had been hit. Frank knew he’d better not fence the stuff and should probably give it back. He went to an Outfit guy he knew and explained the situation. The mobster said, “Don’t you know better than to do burglaries out here in Elmwood Park? A lot of our people live here.”

“I wasn’t aware of that or I wouldn’t have done it,” Frank told him.

“Okay, I’ll take your word on that. I’m going to give you a pass this time, but don’t let it happen again. Consider yourself warned.”

Frank gave him all of the bookie’s property back and that was the end of it. But after that incident he decided to abandon residential burglaries for a while.

Sears and Roebuck stores bore the brunt of Frank’s decision to resume commercial thefts. He and his crew were after fur coats, and Sears had a number of outlets in Chicago and its suburbs. One of the gang would enter the target store near closing time and hide, usually under a bed, until all the employees had left. Having a man already inside the building made these relatively easy scores.

Frank and his men didn’t discriminate, however. They stole furs from other venues and robbed fur salesmen as well. 

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