September 27, 1998 |
Central Pennsylvania is full of pleasant surprises. We've frolicked at old-fashioned Knoebels Amusement Park and toured quaint Victorian towns, including Boalsburg and Bellefonte. And then there's charismatic State College and its exciting neighbor, Penn State. Now we can add to our list of "discoveries" Penn's Cave, which calls itself "America's only all-water cavern and wildlife sanctuary. " The sights certainly are unique, especially the one-mile boat ride through a limestone cavern filled with magnificent natural formations.
December 17, 1995 |
Christmas marks a year since James "Whitey" Bulger, Boston's most elusive gangster, skipped town to avoid charges that he extorted millions from a network of bookies, loan sharks and drug dealers. When Bulger vanished just days before a massive federal indictment, Whitey watchers throughout New England cracked wise about his future stake in lottery winnings that he had been paid: $119,408 a year. His "Mass Millions" prize, won in 1991, was slated to last through 2010. Now, Scroogelike in this holiday season, comes the U.S. attorney, who late last month won a decisive round in a legal battle to reroute Bulger's bounty into government hands.
December 19, 1993 |
For almost 20 years, authorities said last week, a former Cherry Hill plumbing contractor had gotten away with murder. Then one day this month, he met an old friend at a flea market near his new home in Boca Raton, Fla. And amid the trinkets and trifles of other people's lives, the past caught up with Irving Norton Singer. "He set up the perfect crime," one New Jersey law enforcement official said last week. "And then his own mouth beat him. " Singer, 68, was arrested Thursday at Newark International Airport and charged with the 1974 murder of his ex-wife Carol, a striking blond former cocktail waitress who was found brutally stabbed to death in the second-floor bedroom of their posh South Jersey home.
September 23, 1993 |
He was, they said, a South Philadelphia bon vivant, a happy-go-lucky gambler, a legendary bartender who was known everywhere and knew everyone. What he wasn't, they added quickly, was a gangster. "No way," said a friend yesterday as he left the funeral Mass for Frank J. Baldino at St. Rita's Roman Catholic Church on South Broad Street. "This guy wasn't involved with this stuff. This never should have happened. " This, of course, was the Friday night ambush in the parking lot of the Melrose Diner that left Baldino, 50, riddled with bullets and slumped over the wheel of his late-model Cadillac.
June 16, 1993 |
Some of them extort money from innocents. Some bring in heroin from overseas. Some use Bart Simpson's face or Nike sneakers as a kind of drug dealer's code. And some stomp their victims' skulls with a technique they call "sidewalk cracking. " They number more than 700, with enough members - 14,000 - to populate a small town, and enough ethnic backgrounds to rival the United Nations. They have their own language, methods of communications, rules and morals. They are underground societies that operate on fear.
April 11, 1993 |
Rosario Bellocchi, the suspected mob hit man charged with murder in Camden County last week, was angry. The Sicilian-born pizza maker stood with his hands cuffed behind his back during a March 29 preliminary hearing. A Montgomery County District Court judge had just refused to lower his $250,000 cash bail in a mob-related kidnapping case when he shouted: "What am I, an animal? I'm in jail, I didn't do nothing . . . What did I do?" Who Bellocchi is and what he has done are, in fact, two central questions in a broader organized crime investigation that sources say is aimed at bringing down reputed Philadelphia-South Jersey mob boss John Stanfa.
February 9, 1993 |
Confessed South Jersey hit man Willard "Junior" Moran heard about the murder of Mario Riccobene last week while sitting in a special wing of a federal prison somewhere in the United States. And even though he's been away from the Philadelphia area for more than a decade, Moran - like Riccobene, a cooperating government witness - knew immediately what it was all about. "It was a message to all of us," Moran, the triggerman in the 1980 murder of union boss John McCullough, said in a telephone interview.
January 13, 1993 |
Rod Colombo lived in the fast lane. And that, law enforcement investigators are saying, makes it all the more difficult to determine how he ended up dead on a quiet, residential street in Audubon last week. Colombo, 29, had been living in South Philadelphia for the last year, according to authorities and family members. But his roots go back to the West Coast where he grew up and where, four years ago in Los Angeles he was tried and acquitted in the murder of a suspected drug dealer.
January 30, 1992 |
He was the friendly old man who could be seen each day walking his dog around his South Philadelphia neighborhood, leaving his apartment at precisely the same time, getting a newspaper and then crossing East Passyunk Avenue for a cup of coffee. But this old man was no one to fool with. For nearly 50 years, authorities said, Felix Bocchino made his way as a gambler, swindler, drug trafficker, extortionist and long-surviving member of the Philadelphia mob. Yesterday, at age 73, that career ended violently.
April 22, 1991 |
Mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo once explained to an associate how he was different from former Philadelphia Mafia chief Angelo Bruno. "Bruno was a racketeer," Scarfo said. "I'm a gangster. " The difference is underscored in the Pennsylvania Crime Commission's 1990 report, a 364-page document that tracks the rise and fall of the Scarfo crime family during the 1980s, the mob's most violent decade. Titled Organized Crime in Pennsylvania, a Decade of Change, the book is a veritable "Who's Who in the Underworld," and is expected to replace the commission's 1980 report as a major reference source for law enforcement agencies, academics and the media.