October 1, 1996 |
While police and the FBI were investigating one armored-car robbery yesterday in West Philadelphia, gunmen ambushed a second crew of armored-car guards about two miles away, wounding one in an exchange of bullets and escaping with a bag of money, authorities said. The injured guard, identified as Ray Valez, 24, was reported in stable condition last night at Misericordia Hospital with a bullet wound to the arm. According to police and the FBI, the first holdup occurred about 9:25 a.m. when the crew of a Wells Fargo armored truck stopped at 40th and Chestnut Streets to fill two automated teller machines near the corner.
April 28, 1997 |
The caterer to reputed organized crime underboss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino's baby's christening party will cater lunch for a different kind of mob today at the same site as the Merlino bash. This time, Steve Finley of Finley Catering, Havertown, will be feeding heavy hitters from the world of politics and business. Among 400 guests at the Ballroom at the Ben in the Benjamin Franklin House, 9th and Chestnut streets, will be President Clinton, former presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford, Mayor Rendell, and retired Gen. Colin Powell.
November 4, 1989 |
Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, son of a convicted mob underboss, managed to smile at times yesterday even after a former friend pleaded guilty and named Merlino as one of the brains behind a $350,000 armored car robbery. As a result of the surprise guilty plea to the 1987 heist by codefendant Richard Barone, who also agreed to testify against Merlino, Merlino asked for and got U.S. District Judge Norma Shapiro to declare a mistrial. Merlino, the 27-year-old son of Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino, will also get to stay out of jail while awaiting a new trial later this month, but the judge ordered him to stay under so-called house arrest.
October 27, 1988 |
The head of the FBI's office in Pittsburgh was named yesterday as the special agent in charge of the bureau's Philadelphia division. The appointment of Wayne R. Gilbert, special agent in charge at Pittsburgh since March 1986, was announced in a statement by FBI Director Williams S. Sessions. Gilbert, 49, a 23-year veteran of the nation's top law enforcement agency and described as an expert in international terrorism, will succeed Wayne G. Davis in Philadelphia. Davis, 50, announced his retirement last month, effective Nov. 3, after 25 years with the bureau, the last three in charge of Philadelphia.
July 25, 1995 |
An apparently well-planned robbery of two Brinks Inc. armored-car guards netted a trio of holdup men about $87,000 yesterday outside a Center City off- track betting parlor, police said. Frank Motta, 60, and his partner, Howard Toaltoan, 33, were intercepted about 9:30 a.m., just after they left the Center City Turf Club near 16th and Market Streets. The robbery took only a few seconds, and there were no injuries. "(The gunmen) obviously spent a little time taking a peek at this," said one city detective, describing the precision with which the crime was pulled off. According to the FBI and police detectives, Motta and Toaltoan left a third guard inside the truck after parking it on 16th near Market to pick up the weekend's receipts from the club, operated by Philadelphia Park.
September 5, 1990 |
The owner of a New Jersey-based armored-car company that was held up for more than $5 million in 1988 pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to illegally wiretap the company's controller in 1985. Herman J. "Kip" Koehler 3d, 60, of Boonton, Morris County, owner of Coin Depot Armored Car Co. of Elizabeth, made the plea before Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in U.S. District Court in Camden. He faces a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced by Rodriguez Nov. 2. Koehler used the information he obtained from the wiretaps to confront the controller, Robert Lange, about a suspected business-related conflict-of- interest, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Lacey said.
April 19, 2013 |
THIS YEAR'S bad-timing award goes to "The Company You Keep," a movie about on-the-lam former members of the Weather Underground. Not the best week to be releasing a movie about radical bombers in hiding, although as several lefty websites have noted, "Company" is loosely based on a 1981 armored car robbery/murder committed by folks who'd been ex-communicated from the group, which disavowed their deadly tactics. The Weatherman, they note, bombed empty buildings (although for the victims of the radicalized perpetrators, probably a distinction without a difference)
May 21, 1999 |
They planned an easy heist. After robbing an armored car, the three robbers and their getaway driver were going to split what they expected to be a "six-figure score," a federal prosecutor told a jury yesterday. What the robbers did not know, Prosecutor Stuart Rabner said, was that Fernando Flores, their getaway driver and a former Merchantville police officer, was working with the FBI on a sting to get Charles "Crazy Charlie" Rodriguez and his two associates, who were wanted in connection with two Camden County bank robberies.
January 6, 1991 |
Less than a week into the new year, Philadelphia recorded its first armored car robbery of 1991. That was about par for the course. Heisting armored cars, or the contents therein - a dangerous crime with a small success rate - has become a popular crime hereabouts. In 1990, there were 14 armored car robberies in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania suburban counties. Five of those were in the last three weeks of the year - three cases in the city and two in Upper Darby.
November 24, 1993 |
A federal judge yesterday sent Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, reputedly the head of a pack of dissident mobsters, back to jail for three years for violating his parole by lying about his job and associating with convicted felons. Merlino, unshaven and wearing a long-sleeve white T-shirt, white jeans and sneakers, appeared unmoved by the decision by U.S. District Judge Norma L. Shapiro to send him back to federal prison. He smiled and waved to his family and friends before he was led off in handcuffs.