Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

THE CROTON LAKE MURDER

'Not My Name!'

Vincenzo Cona
Vincenzo Cona

When the police questioned Zanza and the others, they gave the name of Lorenzo Cali as one of the men who escaped. On November 11, 1911, Westchester County Deputy Sheriffs Cal Wagner, Ken Jenkins and Sheriff Tim Harnett set out for Brooklyn to look for Cali. They took Vincenzo Cona along to show them where Cali lived. At the 146th Precinct in Brooklyn, they picked up an Italian N.Y.C.P.D. detective and drove over to Carroll Street. There Cona pointed out the house where he said Cali lived. Sheriff Wagner and the local police went inside. They found a man in a second floor apartment sleeping in a bed.

"Hey, we're looking for Antonio Cessi?" said Wagner.

"That's not my name!" said the man as he was waking up.

"We know it's your name," replied the police.

"No, my name is Lorenzo Cali," he said. Cali was placed under arrest and returned to Westchester County. Knowing full well that he was facing the death penalty, he told the cops everything. Cali also made it clear that he wasn't going to being taken alive if he could help it. "All the time I was running through the woods I was carrying a revolver in my hands and if I had met any policemen I was going to kill everyone as long as my bullets lasted me!" he said. But he also revealed something that confirmed the earlier suspicions of the police.

"Then you were more than five?" the interrogator asked.

"Yes, we were six. The sixth man is Salvatore Penolo who is not under arrest yet," Cali replied. He went on to say that Penolo was the leader of a Brooklyn group called the Cammora, a secret society of Italians who swore their loyalty to each other. They made an oath that they would never inform on each other and if any of the members got locked up, they would pool their resources together to help him. "If I ever get the chance at the one who squealed, I will kill him or if I don't, the gang in Brooklyn will!" he said. But Cali had a lot to fear from U.S. authorities. He was wanted in Italy for other crimes and had already spent time in Italian jails. "I committed a murder in Italy with my own hands," he told a sheriff's deputy.

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