1989 Year of the Stool Pigeon Paul Panczko

October 4, 2021

Paul Panczko

Gary, Camillus Robinson, and Paul Whitcolmbe discuss the chain of events that started with Paul “Peanuts” Panczko and ended with the FBI making informants and government witnesses out of Duke Baisle and Gerald Scarpelli. These two men were long-time Outfit thieves, armed robbers, burglars, hitmen, and enforcers. First, we go back to Paul Panczko. He was a well-known career criminal who did burglaries and other crimes with his brothers. They were known as the Polish Robinhoods. He was once arrested by Chicago cop Dennis Farina (famous for his role as Lt. Mike Terrillo on Crime Story) for carrying a gun. The Chicago PD turned him and he started wearing a wire. He would commit a robbery of the Balmoral racetrack with outfit associate James “Duke” Basile. The FBI approaches Basile and he turns and wears a wire on Gerald Scarpelli.

Gerald Scarpelli

By 1989, what Paul Panczko put into motion when he helped turned Basile starts bearing results. Basile wore a wire on a more important Outfit member named Gerald Scarpelli. He was a member of the hit team called the Wild Bunch and had participated in many hits. Basile gets him to admit o many of his crimes and even tells about a mob graveyard in DuPage county. The FBI was able to find three bodies in this area. Basile’s information on Scarpelli allowed the FBI to turn him and he made a 500-page confession in which he detailed many Outfit secrets. He admitted to helping in 10 murders. He will commit suicide while the feds held him in the Cook County jail. Many folks speculate that Outfit heavy Frank “The German” Schweihs murdered him because he was in the same jail and even in the same general area.

Show notes by Gary Jenkins
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