CHICAGO CRIME BLOG


Timely information on Chicago gangsters, mobsters, crime history, entertainment and fun things to do in Chicago.

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Chicago Gangster Al Capone's House for Sale

Al Capone's single family Chicago house was recently listed for sale for $225,000.  Although he never held title to the property, due to the fact that he never placed real estate assets in his personal name, this was his primary Chicago residence in which he and his wife raised son Francis "Sonny" Capone.

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John Dillinger Died for You Society Commemorates 80th Anniversary

Chicago Crime Tours joined The John Dillinger Died for You Society on July 22, 2014 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of John Dillinger's death. The event was held at Lincoln Station across the street from historic Biograph Theater in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Attendees learned about the life and times of John Dillinger. The evening concluded with a bagpipe processional from the Biograph Theater to Chicago's most famous alley, where Dillinger died after being shot.

Another highlight of the event was meeting Mike Thompson, who is the nephew of John Dillinger. He traveled from Moorseville, Indiana to share personal stories. Mike's mother, who is John Dillinger's sister, still lives in Mooresville. At the age of six John Dillinger moved with his father to a farm in Moorseville.  His boyhood home remains occupied by a Dillinger relative, but the farm has been developed into a housing community. This was Mike's first time visiting the Biograph Theater and Chicago's most famous alley.

 

Event organizer Steve Sato and Dillinger nephew Mike Thompson flanked by Chicago Crime Tours.

Event organizer Steve Sato and Dillinger nephew Mike Thompson flanked by Chicago Crime Tours.

Mike Thompson demonstrating Dillinger's famous pose. 

Mike Thompson demonstrating Dillinger's famous pose. 

Bagpipe procession concluding in Chicago's most famous alley, just south of the Biograph Theater on Lincoln Ave.

Bagpipe procession concluding in Chicago's most famous alley, just south of the Biograph Theater on Lincoln Ave.

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Join Victory Gardens at the Historic Biograph Theater

Please join historic Biograph Theater June 13 - July 13, 2014 for Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman.  Directed by Chay Yew.  Featuring Sandra Oh from ABC's Grey's Anatomy.  Although Chicago's most famous bank robber John Dillinger viewed Manhattan Melodrama at the Biograph Theater before his final steps, the show must go on with the modernized Biograph Theater.   For tickets and further information, please see below:

Victory Gardens Theater | 773.871.3000 | www.victorygardens.org

2433 N. Lincoln Ave. | Chicago, IL 60614

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Reviewing Law & Order in Chicago - Household Names

Chicago, like most metropolitan areas, has a storied history of criminal enterprise, including organized crime and serial killings.  Throughout history, criminals have called Chicago home - some by birth, others by deeds committed while residing nearby.  The scope of crimes associated with Chicago runs the gamut from kidnappings to robberies, with noted offenders making names for themselves in each criminal category.  While it isn't necessarily the claim to fame cities aspire to, Chicago boasts a number of criminals elevated to household-name status, including these notorious Illinois connections.

John Dillinger - The adulation surrounding Dillinger in his day rivaled that of stars and starlets, despite his notorious status as a criminal.  The Great Depression was in full swing as Dillinger plied his trade, so public perception was altered by desperation and futility. To many people living during these hard times, Dillinger and other criminals represented hope, of sorts, drawing admirers for their ability to take matters into their own hands, despite economic oppression.

Dillinger was born in Indianapolis in 1903.  Despite being born to a middle-class family with access to education and employment, Dillinger's troubles began in his teens. Responding to his failure to socialize properly living in the city, Dillinger's father moved the family to a rural setting, on a farm.  Despite the change, Dillinger continued down the wrong path, eventually being convicted for robbing a grocery store and handed a particularly harsh sentence for the act.  After more than 8 years in prison, Dillinger stepped into the spotlight almost immediately following his release. His subsequent crime spree traversed the Midwest, including stops in Chicago to rob banks.  In a much heralded move, agents from Bureau of Investigation killed Dillinger as he left Chicago's Biograph Theater, in 1934.

John Wayne Gacy - Chicago's North Side was where John Gacy's family lived at the time of his birth.  The reputed killer had a normal upbringing, by all accounts, and enjoyed scouting activities shared with other's his age.  While he was not especially charismatic of popular, his social standing among peers was not entirely dysfunctional.  His criminal life became public in 1968, when Gacy confessed to sodomizing a young man against his will.  Though convicted and sentenced to 10 years for the Iowa crime, Gacy was released in 1970, before returning to his native Chicago.

Early-on, after returning to Chicago, Gacy was accused of forcing a young man to perform sex acts, but the charges were dropped when the accuser failed to follow through with charges. Gacy carried-on a grand façade for several years, despite brushes with the law and rumors about his homosexual tendencies.  After several young male employees of his contracting firm went missing, and a survivor identified Gacy's vehicle, police began looking closely at his history.  In one of the most grisly and highly publicized murder cases in history, John Wayne Gacy was linked to more than thirty killings and the subsequent burial of bodies under his home.

Ted Kaczynski - Raised in Chicago, the infamous "Unabomber" began his campaign of terror in 1978 by mailing an explosive device to a Chicago university.  For 17 subsequent years, Kaczynski would continue to target victims with explosive devices, eventually killing three people and wounding dozens more.  It wasn't until 1995 that investigators turned the corner on the case, after receiving a 35,000 word manifesto from someone claiming to be responsible for the crimes.  Kaczynski's brother recognized parallels between his brother's views and those expressed in the diatribe against society.  The Unabomber was taken into custody in 1996, and was sentenced for his crimes in 1998.

Al Capone - Of all Chicago criminals, Al Capone is perhaps the most notorious.  The reputed gangster ran an enterprise in Chicago that included various illicit activities and escalated to killing competitors and others unwilling to get in step with his illegal endeavors.  Born in Brooklyn, Capone arrived in Chicago in 1919, quickly carving out his place in local lore.  Throughout the twenties, Capone had his hand in gambling, prostitution, distilling and brewing operations, as well as holding interests in legitimate businesses.  The culture and climate were just right for gaining illicit profits, which Capone did efficiently.  Perhaps the most audacious crime attributed to Capone's gang was the St Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929.  On that day, Rival gang members were savagely riddled with bullets in the hideout of Bugs Moran, killing six members of Moran's crew and an innocent associate.

Eventually convicted and jailed for income tax evasion, Capone spent time at Alcatraz, before being released in 1939.  He died a free man in 1947 after suffering a stroke.

These are only a few of the high-profile criminals linked to the city of Chicago, which gained a reputation for lawlessness during the depression.  While times have changed, these cases provide interesting glimpses into the city's history of law and order.

Author Byline:

This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes about free background check for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id: GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.

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Enjoy "The Gospel of Lovingkindness" at Historic Victory Gardens Theater

Here's a great opportunity to experience and enjoy Chicago's historic Victory Gardens Theater at 50% off regular ticket prices. The Gospel of Lovingkindess will be featured from Feb. 28 - March 30, 2014. Use code "CRIME" for a 50% discount off your regularly priced ticket. Chicago Crime Tours is proud to present this great theater opportunity. Please contact Victory Gardens Theater directly for tickets and showtimes.   See http://www.victorygardens.org/ for contact information and further details.

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Tommy Gun's Garage Special St. Valentine's Day Event

Chicago Crime Tours recommends Tommy Gun's Garage Special St. Valentine's Day Massacre performance.  As they do every year, Tommy Gun's Garage will be re-enacting the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in honor of Valentine's Day.  Please see www.tommygunsgarage for further information, including, schedule, menu items and to purchase tickets. This is a authentic Chicago experience that will make Valentine's Day a day to remember.  Special performance dates include February 14-16.

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John Dillinger's Blood Near Biograph Theatre

Here is a recently released photograph of bystanders surrounding the blood of John Dillinger near an alley by the Biograph Theater on July 22, 1934.  The Chicago Tribune recently found this photograph in its basement archives.  John Dillinger was gunned down by the G Men after viewing Clark Gable in "Manhattan Melodrama" at the Biograph Theater.  John Dillinger remains Chicago's most famous bank robber.  Following his death, spectators lined up to view his body for 10 days at the Cook County Morgue.

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The Last Speakeasy on the Eve of Repeal at Chicago History Museum

Lauren and Mark Singer from Chicago Crime Tours, Chicago's legit crime and gangster tour, attended the Chicago History Museum's "Last Speakeasy on the Eve of Repeal" celebrating the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the 18th Amendment. Attendees defied Prohibition while dressing the 1930s part. Party goers danced to the era's music, enjoyed hooch and listened to storytellers. Prohibition-era cocktails were crafted and provided by Templeton Rye, purveyors of "the good stuff." Deirdre Capone, great niece of Al Capone, was also on hand sharing stories about Chicago's most famous gangster, including the "true" story behind Al's scar and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Lauren with Deirdre Capone.  

Lauren with Deirdre Capone.
 

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Night Out at Tommy Gun's Garage-Chicago's Roarding 20's Speakeasy

Lauren and Mark Singer from Chicago Crime Tours enjoyed a night of live theatre entertainment and a great dinner at Tommy Gun's Garage, Chicago's Roaring 20's Speakeasy located in Chicago's South Loop.  A combination of live music, dancing, story telling and comedy, guests laughed, learned and had fun. The hosts and servers were gracious-a definite Chicago style experience that everyone would enjoy. In addition to being a lively performance, content included pointing out that Al Capone's 21st birthday was the same day that the 18th Amendment and Prohibition went into effect, an ironic historical fact..  The 18th Amendment  was ratified on January 16, 1920 and went into effect one year later on January 16, 1920. See www.tommygunsgarage.com for details and schedule.

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Cap George Wellington Streeter Play at Navy Pier

Renowned sculpture Dennis Downes and Lauren Singer from Chicago Crime Tours posing with miniature statute of Cap Streeter. 

Renowned sculpture Dennis Downes and Lauren Singer from Chicago Crime Tours posing with miniature statute of Cap Streeter. 

In December of 2010 renowned sculpture Dennis Downes' heroic sized bronze sculpture Captain George “Cap” Wellington Streeter was permanently installed in downtown Chicago.  The installation increased interest and awareness of the Streeterville neighborhood’s namesake. 


Dennis Downes posing with Cap Streeter poster and Mark Singer from Chicago Crime Tours. 

Dennis Downes posing with Cap Streeter poster and Mark Singer from Chicago Crime Tours. 

On September 22, 2013 Lauren and Mark Singer from Chicago Crime Tours attended an outdoor theatre performance by Theatre Hikes called  Streeterville: The Play.  The play showcased the life of Cap, his mishaps, and contributions to the neighborhood bearing his name.  The brilliant performance took place on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Navy Pier’s Gateway Park South and was followed by a reception on the north wall of Ogden slip aboard the Celebration yacht, courtesy of Shoreline Charters.  Dennis Downes is seen here (photo left) with Lauren Singer and a miniature version of the sculpture, and he is seen here (photo right) with a poster of Cap Streeter and Mark Singer at a social gathering before the performance.. 

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Four Deuces at 2222 S. Wabash, Chicago

This grassy lot is the site of the former Four Deuces at 2222 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL.  Al Capone was recruited around 1920 from Brooklyn to work for South Side gangster Johnny Torrio at this "establishment" of ill-repute, which included drinking, gambling and prostitution.  Also included in this photo montage are bricks discovered immediately behind the lot, which are likely from Four Deuces.  If these bricks could talk, they could have their own blog.

Grass lot of former Four Deuces.  

Grass lot of former Four Deuces.  

Former Four Deuces building no longer exists. 

Former Four Deuces building no longer exists. 

Bricks dug up August 2013 behind the Four Deuces at 2222 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL

Bricks dug up August 2013 behind the Four Deuces at 2222 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL

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Chicago Crime Tours on WGN 720 AM Jonathan Brandmeier Show

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Lauren and Mark Singer, founders of Chicago Crime Tours, were featured on WGN's Jonathan Brandmeier show Tuesday August 20, 2013 around 9:15 a.m. CST.  The segment is available for listening on the show's website. Listeners tuned in for trivia, prizes & discounts. Chicago Crime Tours also shared the details of the new Untouchables Tour & Speakeasy Bar Crawl on the show. The phone lines lit up with callers.

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The Kerryman-Former McGovern Saloon where Dean O'Banion Worked as a Waiter

The Kerryman, currently a beautiful bar and restaurant at 661 N. Clark Street in Chicago, was once called McGovern Saloon.  Former Chicago Gangster Dean O'Banion, one of the former leaders of the North Side gang during prohibition, once worked there as a waiter and singer.  After waiting on and singing to customers, he would allegedly rob drunk customers after the left the bar.

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Johnny Depp frequented the Kerryman while playing the role of notorious bank robber John Dillinger in the film "Public Enemy." 

Johnny Depp frequented the Kerryman while playing the role of notorious bank robber John Dillinger in the film "Public Enemy." 

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The Raleigh Hotel--Former Flophouse for Richard Speck

This office building at 648 N. Dearborn, in the heart of Chicago's River North neighborhood, used to be the Raleigh Hotel, which served as a one-night flophouse for notorious mass murderer Richard Speck.  Speck tortured and murdered 8  nursing students from South Chicago Community Hospital on July 14, 1966.  Here is a 1986 Chicago Tribune article retelling the role of the Raleigh Hotel in this horrific event.

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"The Raleigh" lettering remains over the front entrance doors.  The canopy cover the old hotel's name unless you get close enough to the entrance. 

"The Raleigh" lettering remains over the front entrance doors.  The canopy cover the old hotel's name unless you get close enough to the entrance. 

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First Liquor License Issued in Chicago following Repeal of Prohibition

The Volstead Act was intended to carry out the intent of the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the production, sale and transport of "intoxicating liquors."  The 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.   Following the repeal of prohibition, The Berghoff was the first bar in Chicago to receive its liquor license.  Here is a photo the original that is still on its wall.

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