CHICAGO (CBS) — When an aging mob crew plotted a series of armed robberies, Big Brother was watching from above.
The FBI was using either a plane, a helicopter, a satellite or perhaps a drone to keep tabs on the would-be stickup men.
CBS 2’s John “Bulldog” Drummond reports on the extraordinary surveillance used by the Justice Department to monitor a trio of elderly reputed mobsters plotting a number of heists.
One of the would-be robbers is Jerry “The Monk” Scalise, a hail fellow well-met; the kind of person you’d enjoy breaking bread with at the Rotary, Kiwanis or Optimist clubs.
But, on FBI tapes, Scalise shows he’s no Casper Milquetoast-type.
Scalise, 73, and co-defendant Robert “Bobby” Pullia pleaded guilty last week to racketeering and conspiracy charges in connection with several scores that they never pulled off.
The FBI put a listening device in the van Scalise and his confederates used to case their targets.
Federal authorities also played eye in the sky, following the Scalise van as he and his comrades kept an eye on an armored truck parked outside a bank in suburban LaGrange.
Wiretap recordings released by the feds revealed the plotters, who were allegedly armed with automatic weapons, planned a hot time for the armored truck guards if they resisted.
“If he tries to get out, spray him,” Scalise tells Arthur “The Brain” Rachel in one recorded conversation.
“The biggest, the biggest gun we got. I wanna be with the biggest ****ing gun,” Rachel said.
“If he tries to get out, just spray that door. Just spray ‘em to keep him in,” Scalise said.
There was no love lost for another Scalise target, Oscar D’Angelo, a wealthy real estate mogul and top donor to former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
“That [expletive] is so arrogant. He just thinks he can do whatever the **** he wants. That guy makes money. It’s just him and his wife,” Scalise said in a recorded conversation about D’Angelo
Scalise also indicated he might have to play dogcatcher with D’Angelo.
“A long broomstick, you know, just the stick with hooks on it and the rope goes through; just walk down the street, loop it around his neck and take ’em and take him right in. They can’t do nothing, you got them right on the stick,” Scalise said.
While conducting surveillance at the home of the late mob boss Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra, Scalise and his cohorts laughed at how cranky LaPietra had become while spending his sunset years at his Italian social club.
“He was a miserable person. When he got out of jail he used to sit in the club, in the corner, in a chair, and just stare at everybody. Nobody wanted to go there,” Scalise said.
Rachel pleaded opted for a bench trial last week when Scalise and Pullia pleaded guilty. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber will announce his verdict on Rachel on Thursday.
If LaPietra were alive today, he probably wouldn’t have enjoyed hearing underlings laughing at him as they plotted to rob his house. If he was alive, they’d probably be swearing cement shoes. Something similar happened when Tony Accardo, a hitman for Al Capone, was alive. Five burglars wound up in a trunk after robbing Accardo’s home.
–CBS 2 Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.