Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bugsy Siegel

The Fickle Bugs

Tom Dewey
Tom Dewey
Dutch Schultz, a charter member of the Bugs and Meyer gang was having his own problems. Tom Dewey, the racket-busting, ambitious special prosecutor, had trained his sights on Schultz, who was one of the dominant bootleggers and killers in the city. Schultz, although he had been a member of Siegels gang at one time, was a loose cannon in the underworld. In many ways, he and Bugsy were alike. They were both shoot-first-ask-questions later types and hotheads who let their guns do their talking. But Siegel had Lansky, and Meyer was always there to keep Bugs under control. Dutch had no such influence and as a result, he was not included in the Syndicate that took over after the deaths of Masseria and Maranzano.

Things looked bleak for Schultz. Dewey had forced him to go underground in 1934 because of a strong tax evasion case. The Syndicate contacted the man who was running Schultzs operations in his absence, another Bugs and Meyer alumnus named Bo Weinberg, who had helped form the Syndicate by stabbing Sal Maranzano at Siegels request.

Weinberg was convinced to bring Schultzs business under the Syndicate umbrella and given a piece of the action. After all, he was told, Dutch was on trial for tax evasion and he wasnt coming back. Bo agreed (how could he not?) and the Syndicate absorbed the restaurant protection racket that fueled Shultzs post-Prohibition empire.

But Schultz beat the tax rap, thanks to a bought jury, and the Dutchman returned to New York City to find his empire gone. He was livid, to say the least. He lashed out at poor Bo Weinberg and went to see Bugsy.

Sure, Bugsy said, Ill help you out, signing Bos death warrant.

Shortly afterward, Bugsy called on his old friend Bo Weinberg and suggested that the pair go to dinner. Bugsy drove around until the two men were on a dark deserted street. Ben pulled over to the side and got out of the car while Weinberg waited inside. Ben went around to where Bo was seated and pistol-whipped his chum. As Bo sat dazed in the car, Siegel pulled out a knife and stabbed his boyhood pal in the throat. He then began stabbing Bo in the belly to puncture his abdomen. Siegel had learned early in his killing career that intestinal gases in a decomposing body make the corpse float no matter how heavy the weights are that hold it down.

One wonders what Bo must have been thinking as he endured this savage attack. After all, Ben Siegel, one his oldest pals, was one of the group who told him to take over the Dutchmans rackets. Bo Weinberg died in Bugsy Siegels stolen car that night and probably rests today at the bottom of the East River.

 

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