A NIGHT OF VIOLENCE, SUSPENSE AND ROBBERY

THE SILK STOCKING BANDITShttp://www.youngstownchronicles.com/a-night-of-intriguing-violence/


This is an interesting story of a city known for its large steel mills and population diversity. It’s a place where immigrants of all nationalities settled at the turn of the 19th century; bringing their cultural talents and ideas with them to fulfill their dreams of making a new life for their families.—- The dignity of this once proud valley was ruined when outside interests such as crime syndicates and mob infiltration into politics took advantage of the valley’s prosperity. Political corruption and violent crime in the valley became a way of life for over 70 years. This regrettably overshadowed the genuine qualities the valley had established during the early days of its growth

Mob Stories

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During the 1950s into the 1990s, Youngstown made headlines on newspapers all over the country, reporting the violence and unsolved bombings caused by the Cleveland and Pittsburgh gang wars. The city would soon become known as “Boom Town and Murder Town USA” as one Mob Syndicate after another attempted to control the various rackets that took in millions of dollars. Unfortunately, like many large cities, greed, mob influence and political corruption made Youngstown, One of the most violent crime infected cities in the nation. The prosperity created by the steel mills in the Mahoning Valley had all the necessary ingredients for crime syndicates to take advantage of and control local government officials. Gambling, prostitution and policy numbers were illegal operations that operated openly without police interference.
Starting in the early 1930s, one of the major sources of income for the mob was banking policy numbers, better known as the Bug Number, I can still recall as a young boy, when people, such as the postmen, various delivery men and even young paper boys would pick up numbers (they were called runners) from people wanting to take a chance and bet pennies to dollars hoping to be a winner. The payoff was $6.00 for each .01 cent bet or $600.00 for a $1.00. Hourly wages were very low and winning a few dollars for a penny provided funds for many items such as groceries and shoes and clothes.
The bug runners worked for the bank and collected money from various places located throughout the valley. The pickup locations were grocery stores, liquor bars and businesses where people frequently gathered. The money was then turned into a central clearing house called the numbers bank, which was controlled by the mob. Individuals running the banks sorted the numbers, counted the money and ultimately distributed it to the daily winners at the end of the day. The daily receipts turned out to be in the thousands of dollars. The winning number was picked using figures from the daily Stock Market results after it closed for the day.
 Gambling was another popular activity that took in money for the mob. This was done under the appearance of Stag Parties, which were usually held at local clubs on weekends, in the Mahoning Valley. They were sponsored by various organizations, of which a number of them were legitimate while others provided a method to make money to bribe the politicians     Gamblers from as far as Cleveland and other surrounding areas attended the stags. A permit was required to sell tickets for all political rallies and other supposedly benevolent organizations.  The process was simply a method of control by local law enforcement to root out those who failed to pay off the officials running the city and county. It also helped to monitor income that would be distributed among the judges and others involved including the police
      It was late in the evening; I had won some money while  gambling for a couple of hours and decided it was time to leave. As I started toward the stairway, the sound of gunshot rang out from upstairs; the room became deathly quiet. I stood still for a moment trying to gather my senses when I noticed everyone scrambling to hide their money. It was then I realized, that a robbery was about to take place. I thought to myself, what the hell did I get into, here I am with, a pocket full of money and no way out of the basement. Foolishly thinking I would be  safe I crawled under the dice table and put some of my winnings into a empty paper cup laying on the floor; I   than turned it upside down on the  floorboards covering the concrete floor  around dice table and anxiously waited.
Seconds had passed; I looked up from under the table and saw someone with a silk stocking covering his face and  standing at the top of the stairway . In front of him was a man lying on his back clutching  his leg as though  in pain.  Suddenly the bandit began kicking him until he rolled down the steps and hit the floor next to the dice table. I could see it was one of the door attendants with his pants  soaked with blood. Next to him stood one of the bandits waving a gun and yelling from the top of his lungs , all right you Motherf—kers, empty your pockets on the table and take your clothes off; hurry up, make it fast, he yelled  as he dragged the attendant across the floor to he center of the room. Another of the bandits searched the basement to make sure all the gamblers were within site, unfortunately he  found someone  hiding in the bathroom and ruthlessly pistol whipped him.  The man who was now bleeding from a large gash on his face, was then pushed to the floor alongside the helpless door attendant. The bandits hurriedly gathered their loot and left.
It would be some 30 years later  after returning  to Youngstown, that  I learned who  robbed us that  night of the  stag. It appears one of them was a hit-man by the name of Ray Ferritto from Eire Pennsylvania.   Ferritto was arrested in 1980 for killing Danny Green, the Irish gangster   from a Cleveland mob. Ferritto hearing the Mafia had put  a contract out on him ,went into the Witness  Protection program.    He provided information that broke up the Cleveland Syndicate   and send more than 15 men to prison. He left the protection program after a year and told the FBI that  if the Mafia wanted him they can come and get him. He died in 2004 of natural causes. The mob never came to get him.
 
 
 

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