Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Al Capone: Chicago's Most Infamous Mob Boss

Paydirt

The real intelligence paydirt came in a conversation between Graziano and one of Capone's employees.  "The income tax dicks ain't so smart.  They've had a record book of Al's for five years that could send him to jail, only they're too dumb to realize it."

It turned out that the mountain of records taken from a raid years earlier on the Hawthorne Hotel included a ledger that documented the financial operations of the Hawthorne Smoke Shop for the years 1924-1926.  What Irey needed now was to figure out the identity of the two bookkeepers who made those entries.  The handwriting didn't match up with any of Capone's men.  Chances were that Capone had them disposed of when the ledgers were seized.

Graziano took a huge risk and asked the man who told him about the ledgers if the bookkeepers had been "taken care of."  The gangster replied, "they weren't exactly taken care of because they were only a couple of dopes, but they left town five years ago when the smoke shop was raided."  Incredibly enough, the gangster then told Graziano their names:  Leslie Shumway and Fred Reis.

Capone's free soup kitchen
Capone's free soup kitchen

As 1930 drew to a close, Capone embarked on a major publicity campaign.  He opened a free soup kitchen for the people who had been thrown out of work by the deepening Depression.  During the last two months of the year, the soup kitchen served three free meals a day.  "The soup kitchen was carefully calculated to rehabilitate his image and to ingratiate himself with the workingman, who, he realized, had come to regard him as another unimaginably wealthy and powerful tycoon"(Bergreen).

In the early months of 1931, Irey's men located Shumway in Miami, working ironically at Hialeah racetrack where Capone made almost daily visits when he was in residence.   Frank Wilson went to Miami to have a conversation with Shumway and escaped from city with the bookkeeper in tow just a half hour before a car full of goons came looking for the Shumway.  Fred Reis had gone to ground in Peoria, Illinois.   Both men agreed to cooperate fully and were given maximum security and protection.

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