16 May 2017

88 years ago: Capone arrested in Philadelphia



May 16, 1929 - Chicago crime lord Al Capone and his lieutenant, Frank Rio, were stopped by police detectives outside the Stanley Theatre, southwest corner of Nineteenth and Market Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Washington Post
May 17, 1929
The notorious gangsters insisted they were in Philadelphia to kill only time, while waiting for the next Chicago-bound train. Detectives found that both men had handguns. Capone and Rio were arrested for carrying concealed deadly weapons.

Authorities determined that Capone and Rio were returning from an underworld peace conference at Atlantic City, New Jersey, when automobile problems caused them to miss the afternoon Broad Way Limited train at the North Philadelphia Station. The next train was scheduled to leave North Philadelphia some hours later, and the two gangsters decided to relax in the theater.

Capone's surprising stay in Pennsylvania began with a night in police lockup and would stretch on to a year. Treating the charge dismissively, the next day the Chicago boss and his aide pleaded guilty. They appeared stunned when Judge John E. Walsh sentenced them to one year sentences in state prison.

The U.S. press immediately began speculating that Capone orchestrated his arrest and conviction in order to escape the vengeance of underworld rivals. Chicago's St. Valentine's Day Massacre occurred only three months earlier. Some claimed that former Chicago underworld leader Johnny Torrio had come out of retirement to order Capone to have himself arrested so things in the Windy City could cool down.
 

"Al Capone's long stay in Philly" 
in this back issue of Informer.

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/Issue/112621

1 comment:

  1. According to Gus Russo in "The Outfit," the whole thing was a scam. Capone got sideways with Johnny Torrio at the conference, when Torrio proposed that Capone turn over all his non-alkie rackets to him, and Capone told Torrio to find his own rackets. Capone decided the safest place to be was jail, and he set the whole thing up with Boo Boo Huff, his Philly counterpart. The two Philly dicks who arrested him had partied with him in Miami, and each got a $10,000 tip (nice money in 1929, or even today). No one seems to know or say what the judge got.
    If you go to the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, they have Capone's cell set up the way he had it, with rugs, a soft bed, and a big furniture-style radio. Russo claims that the warden offered to put in a ticker tape, but Capone said, "I don't gamble."

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