Frank Goes Grocery Shopping

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

Large grocery stores take in a lot of money. Frank thought it would be a good idea to burgle one and see what kind of score could be made. He decided to go after one of the Jewel Supermarket outlets.

  

Frank found a store he liked and watched it for several days. He learned that the last money truck stop of the week was on Friday. That meant by Sunday night the store’s safe would be pretty full. He went inside the store and found out where the safe was located. On the outside he found an alarm box mounted on a wall. The next question was whether the alarm was wired into the police station. To get the answer he did a night break-in, making sure the alarm went off. He took a couple of cartons of cigarettes to make it look like a kid’s job. And then he watched the store and listened to the police radio. There were no police calls and no cops came. Finally, a neighbor must have reported the alarm and a patrol car showed up to check things out.

  

Knowing the store wasn’t directly alarmed to the police station, Frank had to figure a way to silence the system when he and his crew did the real burglary. It wasn’t difficult. It could be done by using a fire extinguisher to freeze the alarm’s batteries, shoot it with a .357 magnum to knock it out, or tie a cable around the alarm and rip it off the wall. Frank opted to rip it off the wall.

  

The safe was removed from the store using a truck with a winch. Then it was taken to Frank’s house where the doors were opened with a torch. People paid for their groceries in cash then. Checks were used infrequently and credit cards were like foreign objects, so the safe was bulging with money. The gang hit almost every Jewel store in the city. Their take on those jobs was always between $30 thousand and $80 thousand.

  

These were easy scores, with the exception of one night when the police stopped the thieves after the burglary. They pulled over the truck with the safe in it; Frank was behind driving the follow car. It happened that he knew one of the officers and that he could be dealt with.

  

“I was just telling my partner that Cullotta would be coming around the corner any minute,” the cop said.

  

“Look, let us get the safe to where we can open it and see what we’ve got. I’ll give you guys ten percent of whatever’s in there,” Frank suggested.

  The cops were agreeable. Two days later they received their cut. 

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