Gaspipe Casso – the early years
Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso was born May 21, 1940. Before his career ended with the U. S. Marshal’s office and Witness Security, mob bosses would promote him to the formal position of Underboss of the Lucchese crime family. Gaspipe Casso will gain the reputation of being a “homicidal maniac.”
Anthony Casso was the youngest of the three children born to Michael and Margaret Casso. Casso’s grandparents had emigrated from Campania, Italy, (the Naples area, not Sicily). Michael Casso was a low-level soldier in the Genovese crime family and worked on the docks in Brooklyn. His parents asked a Capo in the Genovese family, Salvatore “Sally” Callinbrano, to be little Anthony Casso’s Godfather. Since this guy was a powerful influence on the Brooklyn docks and his father probably benefited from that relationship.
Casso dropped out of school at 16 and got a longshoreman’s job. As a young boy, Casso became a crack shot, firing pistols at targets on a rooftop which he and his friends used as a shooting range. Casso also made money shooting predatory hawks for pigeon tenders. During these years Anthony Casso was short at 5’6 but was a very solid 185 pounds. He joined a street gang known as the South Brooklyn Boys. Christopher Furnari, a Lucchese Capo, noticed a teenage Anthony Casso and put him to work as a collector of his loan shark money. Christopher Furnari saw his value as a criminal and brought him into his gambling operations and drug dealing.
How did he get the moniker – Gaspipe
Over the years, there have been various stories of how Casso got the nickname “Gaspipe” Casso claims it is from his father, Michael, and passed along the story that his father used a gas pipe to threaten union dissidents. Others have claimed that his father made extra money hooking up illegal gas connections. Gaspipe Casso never liked the nickname but it stuck to him for life. Few people and mainly only cops would ever say it to his face. It was said that some close friends did call him “Gas.” Like most mob guys in his early 20s, he married and his wife’s name was Lillian. They would have a daughter and a son.
Gaspipe makes his bones
In the 1970s, he appears to have “made his bones” by murdering a drug dealer who was a suspected stoolie or snitch. By 1974, at age 32, The Lucchese family made him a full member, of the Lucchese crime family. Gaspipe partnered with another young soldier, Vittorio Amuso, and started a criminal partnership that would last for years. They committed scores of crimes, including drug trafficking, burglary, and murder. Later in life Gasspipe will claim to be one of the greatest burglars ever known. He claimed in a 60 minutes interview that he was an expert with a magnesium burning bar to open heavy safes and bank vaults. He believes the character played by James Caan in Thief was based on him and his exploits. I really don’t agree with that because this crew as based in Chicago and they had a real deal Chicago burglar Chicago Outfit burglar as a technical advisor and he had a small part in the film.
The next episode
Anthony Casso will have a successful career and become an important capo in the Gambino family.
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