Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Life and Times of the Sicilian Robin Hood


By late 1949, Giuliano was on the defensive.  A few important members of his band had been killed or captured.  A special task force had been established by the central Italian government to capture or kill him.  This was a much more sophisticated group than the often hapless cariabineri, and it employed Giuliano's own tactics to overcome him.  Rather than large, immobile police forces, or small armies, the special task force broke into small bands of soldiers, imitating Giuliano's methods. 

As in all shrewd tactical maneuvers, informants became crucial to the enterprise.  No one individual was closer to Giuliano, or more trusted, than Gaspare Pissicota.  If the colonel leading the task force could convince Pisciotta to betray Giuliano, than their mission would be accomplished.

Gaspare Pissicota
Gaspare Pissicota

For a number of months, Giuliano had been urged to leave the country.  Even a captain of the carbineri had urged him to flee to Tunis, from whence he could settle in the United States.  By late 1949 and early 1950, Giuliano had decided that it was time to leave Sicily.  He made plans.  Some sixty miles south of his base in the mountains surrounding Montelepre was the town of Castelvetrano, almost on the south coast.  There, from a small and insignificant air strip, Giuliano could be flown to safety.

Castelvetrano on the map
Castelvetrano on the map

Arrangements had to be made.  Giuliano made several trips to Castelvetrano to prepare for his escape.  He used as a base of planning and operations the house of a young lawyer.


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