Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bugsy Siegel

Muder One

Meyer Lansky had a knack for turning enemies into friends his first meeting with Bugsy is evidence of that fact. Lansky, also the son of Russian immigrants, was also able to earn the respect of Charlie Luciano at an early age and served as the link between the Sicilian and Jewish mobs. Lanskys friends were fiercely loyal, because Lansky was loyal to them.

Even after Charlie went to prison on a narcotics charge in 1915, Lansky remained close to the Sicilian. Because of Lanskys friendship with Charlie, Bugsy was also tight with Luciano.

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Young Luciano

Emerging from prison after serving six months of a one-year sentence, Luciano was hot for revenge. He knew who had set him up for the drug charge: the son of an Irish cop. Luciano wanted the kid dead and was prepared to take quick action. Lansky, as always, was more thoughtful. Dont act rashly, he told Luciano. Let it sit for awhile. This is something Ben and I can handle. By this time, the Bugs and Meyer mob was running street corner gambling games, protection rackets and a stolen car ring. But murder wasnt something that they had tackled. Until now.

Lansky and Siegel waited a full year to exact revenge. Then, Lansky told Luciano to take a vacation get out of town with a solid alibi. While Luciano established the precise and verifiable details of his alibi, Siegel and Lansky went to work. Soon afterward, there was a massive manhunt for a missing 19-year-old Irishman, the son of a Brooklyn cop. Charlie was hauled in for questioning, but his alibi held. The boys body was never found.

The killing would have repercussions for Siegel nearly a decade later. In the fallout of the killing, a local woman started to lean on the trio, saying unless they paid up, she would go to the police with information about the boys disappearance. Lansky, Luciano and Bugsy paid a visit to the womans apartment and savagely beat her as a warning to keep her mouth shut. They were caught in the act by police, who hauled them down to headquarters. The woman, who had apparently got the message they were trying to impart, failed to show up for the court date.

Eight years later, Siegel ran into the woman in a bar. Mocking Ben was never a wise move, but the woman apparently wasnt that bright. She told him he had been wet behind the ears and "wouldnt have known what to do with me anyway."

Ben decided to show her that he had grown up and learned how to handle women. He followed her home, and as she approached an alley, Siegel pulled her into the dark and raped her. He was arrested, but Lansky had a few words with the woman and the charges were dropped.

In the years following the Irish boys disappearance, Siegel, Lansky and Luciano kept low profiles, working mostly on floating crap games, small-time union head-busting and robbery. The Bugs and Meyer mob was known as a stick-up and burglary operation, running gambling ventures in Brooklyn but roaming far from home Harlem and other Manhattan areas to commit their robberies. The gang was already known for its viciousness; they werent afraid to use knives or fists to beat up whoever got in their way.

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