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Det. William Flynn and the New York Mafia

Retired Intelligence Unit Detective Gary Jenkins brings you his unique perspective on organized crime.

The Bulldog Detective: William J. Flynn’s Battle Against the New York Mafia and More Introduction: In the tumultuous landscape of early twentieth-century America, where threats from organized crime, espionage, and terrorism loomed large, one man stood as a bulwark against the rising tide of criminality. Meet William Flynn, the Bulldog Detective, who played a pivotal role in shaping the course of American law enforcement. gary and author Jeffrey Simon look into the remarkable career of William Flynn, focusing on his crusade against the New York Mafia and his enduring legacy in the fight for justice.

Early Life and Education: Born on November 18, 1867, in the heart of New York City, Flynn’s journey into public service began in 1897 after a standard public school education. Little did the nation know that this unassuming figure would become a central force in combating some of American history’s most notorious criminal organizations.

Early Career: Starting as a Manhattan plumber, Flynn’s trajectory shifted dramatically when he joined the United States Secret Service. His early focus on counterfeiting soon led him to confront the Black Hand extortionists and the infamous Morello crime family members. Flynn’s tenacity and strategic acumen set the stage for his future battles against organized crime. Collaboration with Detective Giuseppe “Joe” Petrosino: Flynn’s path intertwined with that of Detective Giuseppe “Joe” Petrosino, who met an untimely end in 1909 while investigating gangsters in Sicily. Undeterred by Petrosino’s tragic fate, William Flynn continued the pursuit, successfully building a case that resulted in the imprisonment of Giuseppe Morello and his associates in 1910.

Reorganization of the New York City Detective Force: In 1911, Flynn showcased his leadership skills by successfully reorganizing the New York City Detective Force. This began his rise in law enforcement, earning him recognition for his influential and innovative approach. World War I and Espionage Investigations: As the shadows of World War I loomed over America, Flynn’s role expanded to include investigating threats of sabotage. His dedication to national security became evident when he exposed a German-owned wireless station on Long Island, leading to the seizure of critical documents.

Director of the Bureau of Investigation: Flynn’s crowning achievement came in 1919 when he was appointed Director of the Bureau of Investigation. Praised by Attorney General Palmer as “the leading, organizing detective of America,” William Flynn uncovered a German spy network operating on U.S. soil. His relentless pursuit of justice and national security earned him the nickname “the Bulldog.”

Challenges, Resignation, and Reinstatement: Flynn’s hardline approach and public statements on German espionage strained relations within the German-American community, resulting in his resignation. However, in the face of escalating terrorist actions, Flynn was reinstated to lead the charge against the perpetrators, assigning a young J. Edgar Hoover to monitor suspected radicals.

Semi-Retirement and Legacy: William Flynn ventured into business, founding a detective agency with his children after his tenure in the Bureau of Investigation. Despite challenges, he contributed to the field through writing and scenario development for the motion picture industry. Flynn’s Weekly Detective Fiction, the magazine he edited, became a lasting testament to his influence in crime fiction.

Conclusion: William J. Flynn’s legacy is one of resilience, dedication, and an unyielding commitment to justice. His battles against the New York Mafia, German spies, and terrorists shaped the trajectory of American law enforcement. The Bulldog Detective’s story serves as a beacon, reminding us of the indomitable spirit required to confront and overcome the challenges of our times. William J. Flynn, America’s first line of defense against the underworld, may have been forgotten by history, but his legacy lives on in the annals of crime-fighting heroism.
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Transcript

William Flynn Det.
Gary: [00:00:00] Welcome all you wiretappers out there back here in the studio of Gangland Wire. I have an interview today with Jeffrey Simon. Jeffrey Simon is an author, a researcher, a policy analyst, and an expert on terrorism and on a certain area of organized crime.
Now, I saw somewhere, I think maybe on LinkedIn or something, I saw this book, and I hadn’t heard of this guy, an early mafia detective in New York City named William J. Flynn, and Jeffrey had done a book on him, and like, our Kansas City mob, he wasn’t a detective, he was, but he was a mob investigating patrolman, and then Joe Remo, and I, Joe Remo, and then Joe Petrosoni, I had done shows on them, but I had not heard of William J.
Flynn, so I wanted to get him on and learn about Mr. Flynn, an early Mafia detective, because, you know, I’m a later day Mafia detective, and [00:01:00] now I want to find out about the roots of my chosen profession over the years, so Jeffrey, I really appreciate you coming on the show. Welcome.
Jeffry: Thank you for having me.
Gary: It’s a pleasure. All right. So, so Jeffrey tell us a little more about yourself. I was looking, you got a ton of books in there, several more about terrorism and then this book and, and you’ve been a researcher and an analyst for the Rand Corporation on Terrorism. And, and I think that’s interesting as heck.
So tell us a little more about yourself and guys, by the way, I’ll have a link to to Jeffrey’s Amazon site to see all of these books in the show notes. So go ahead, Jeffrey.
Jeffry: Oh, sure. I had actually gone to undergraduate school at UC Berkeley in the late 1960s and I majored in history there.
And then I went for graduate school in political science. So my career kind of started looking at international conflict political violence. And then I had worked at the Rand Corporation for a number of years where the main specialty was on [00:02:00] terrorism. But as I continued to write about terrorism, I also kind of ventured into interesting biographies of people that might be involved in either having been terrorists or in combating terrorists.
So one book I wrote was about a terrorist group. And this book, when you write a book, you try to figure out a couple of things. One, has it been done before? Because if it’s done before, what are you going to really? Say or are you going to say it differently? And so it spends a lot of I spend a lot of time searching for a good topic That’d be an interesting topic and from one of my books.
I had a little section Excuse me on william. J. Flynn But I didn’t really know about his life. And then I was shocked to learn, one, nobody’s written a biography about him, and then he had such a fascinating career beyond what I had known in terms of some of the combating of a terrorist group. So then the next problem is, are you going to have enough information?
To write a full book [00:03:00] 80 to 100, 000 words, you know, if you can say everything in one page, you don’t have a book. So I just started doing the research. And then I looked out because William J. Flynn turned out to be a prolific writer. So he wrote a lot. He wrote essays. He was always in the news. And that’s where I was shocked because he was like a rock star, a law enforcement rock star during the early 1900s.
And yet he’s basically forgotten today. So that’s sort of how I got into, you know, his story. And because he was head, most of his career was with the secret service. I got great information from the archives and the secret service. And just, you know, you get a lot of help as you’re doing a book, you know, interviews or people tell you about this other person.
So basically that’s how I got into the story of William J. Flynn.
Gary: So he has the nickname of Bulldog. How’d he get that nickname?
Jeffry: It’s from Tenacity. And I want to read a little quote here. He [00:04:00] called it steady hammering. So he said, steady hammering, that’s my doctrine and advice. It doesn’t do to drop a case under pressure of a new matter.
Reserve a place for it in the back of the head. Think of it, hammer away at it, hear a little, there a little, until the men you are after are either apprehended or dead. So, he had this tenacity, so he got the nickname Bulldog, and he was a big man on the cover of the book, You could see his walking. He’s like 300 pounds.
I mean if you’re older younger viewers may not remember what Orson Welles looked like. Orson Welles is a famous movie director, but big big man and he had a big family. So Flynn had that nickname Bulldog and He lived up to it.
Gary: Interesting. Now you mentioned that, that he he, he knew Joe Petrosino, who was the famous New York City mob detective.
And, and, and [00:05:00] William J. Flynn, he didn’t really start out with the NYPD. I don’t believe he, he came to it later on. He started out with the Secret Service. So maybe you should start back to about his career in the Secret Service and counterfeiting because counterfeiting. And the mafia back in these days, that was, that was a big money maker for him before really got into gambling and that other stuff.
Jeffry: Yeah. Yeah. His NYPD, New York police department career was short lived. It was only about eight or nine months. Most of his career was with the secret service. Now the Secret Service was formed in 1865, and while most people think the Secret Service is presidential protection, their main function was counterfeiting, and at that, you know, getting the counterfeiters.
And at that time, a third of the nation’s currency was counterfeit, You know, notes and counterfeit bills. Now, Flynn was born in 1867, and before he got to the Secret Service, he did a number of different jobs. He worked as a tinsmith, he worked as a plumber, [00:06:00] he actually built a successful plumbing business, but he had a dream.
He always wanted to be a agent. So he got to them relatively at an old age of 30. But he had worked at this jail called the Ludlow Street Jail in New York. He was told, go there, get experience. A lot of counterfeiters are held there. So he worked there for a few years as a keeper, sort of like a warden. He learned the tricks of the trade, and then he got a job with the New York office of the Secret Service.
Then he got sent to Pittsburgh. He did very well there. And in 1901, he comes back to New York to head the New York office, also called the Eastern Division. Now, that’s where he comes into play with the Mafia. Giuseppe Morello, who was called the Clutch Hand because he had a deformed right hand, was born in Corleone in Sicily, and was part of the Corleone Mafia there.
He was implicated in a murder and counterfeiting, so [00:07:00] he fled Sicily, came to New York, and started to get engaged in counterfeiting. So, Flynn, because Secret Service goes after counterfeiting, built up an intelligence unit to watch Morello, who had formed an organization who’s called the Morello Lupo Gang.
Ignacio Lupo was another major player in the mafia during those years. Lupo marries into the Morello family. He marries Morello’s stepsist half sister. And so the Morello Lupo Gang gets involved in extortion, in murder. Now Flynn can’t really investigate extortions and murders because that’s not the task of the Secret Service, but counterfeiting is so he has them under surveillance.
And one day he sees that there’s a new member kind of hanging out with them. And the day after that, there’s what’s called the barrel murder mystery. In the streets of New York, a body with a head almost cut off [00:08:00] was found in a barrel in sort of near the little Italy district. Nobody knew the identity of this person, but Flynn realized that was the person that they had seen with the Morello Lupo gang, you know, the night before.
What happened was that members of the Morello Lupo gang had been arrested and they suspected that one of the members confessed or told stories to Flynn and they now wanted to kill that, that person. But that person now was convicted and it was in prison, so they couldn’t get to him. So they had to get another blood relative, so they got a brother in law.
And the brother in law was the one that they killed. Now, it’s almost like terrorism, where if you’re a terrorist group and you want to get attention, you got to do something different. What’s been done before. ’cause people just get desensitized to the same flow of car bombings or whatever. And same thing with murder.
Murder here, murder there. But a mur, a ba body in a barrel in the streets of New York [00:09:00] became national news. Yeah. And so Flynn’s looking into that, he now knows who’s involved and that’s where he meets Petrosino. ’cause Petrosino was an Italian detective. Joseph Petrosino with the NYPD and he’s investigating this barrel murder.
Flynn and Petrosino work together and they realize The Morello Lupa gang’s involved. They get arrested, but there’s not enough evidence. So they go free. Flynn dedicates himself. He says the steady hammering. He’s going to do other things, but he’s going to keep at this case until he gets them. He’ll get them on counterfeiting someday, he believes, and he won’t stop until he does that.
Petrosino keeps investigating them, but also has to do other things for the NYPD. Now, as you know, Petrosino becomes a famous Italian detective in New York, and he’s sent on a secret mission to Sicily. in 1909. Very dangerous mission. The NYPD commissioner at that time wanted him to go to Sicily for three, three reasons.
[00:10:00] One, get information on all Italian criminals, all criminals who had served time in Italy who came to the U. S. Because they could then be deported if they had only been in the U. S. For less than three years. So it’s one way to get rid of mafia members who were in New York. The second was to get the names of the most dangerous Italians who were in prison so that they can have a list of them, maybe pictures of them.
So if they got released at some point, they could be stopped at Ellis Island before they can get in. And the third task was to create a sort of an an intelligence unit in Italy where you could get an informant who would help, you know, with the NYPD. But Petrosino is killed a few weeks into his journey there.
The NYPD commissioner at that time, I believe, his name may have been Bigum, I’m not sure, but He inadvertently kind of released information to the press. Yeah, I don’t know where Joe Petrosino is right now. For all I know, maybe he’s in Europe. But it [00:11:00] turns out that the Morello Lupo gang, they had, you know, associates in Sicily.
They also found out Petrosino, through their intelligence, was going over there. And they had one of their associates kill Petrosino, and he’s the only NYPD officer to this date to die overseas. So it was huge news. He comes back at a funeral in New York. Flynn now is even more dedicated. To getting these guys and this becomes another part of the story.
Well, it’s a,
Gary: it’s a heck of a story. And, and that that whole Joe Petrosino, I’ve seen those images that were, you know, like thousands and thousands of people there to greet the boat that brought his body back. He was totally.
Jeffry: Yeah, there was a story about Petrosino, whether it was true or not. He was really tough.
And he goes into Lupo in addition to being, you know, with the mafia and counterfeiting, had a grocery business going. And so [00:12:00] he apparently went in, confronted Lupo, punched him in the face, and then left. But the myth grew that he punched him in the face and then stuffed him in a barrel. And And so also one of the things and you were aware of it that the mafia was doing in those days was called the black hand letters.
Yeah. They would send letters to wealthy Italian businessmen saying pay or die. And in the letter would be this black hand. And sometimes there’d be a A knife or a dagger, you know, in the hand, and those who didn’t pay were either murdered or their children were kidnapped. One case was a stable owner who refused to pay, so they poisoned two of his prize horses.
And so, you know, Flynn again couldn’t go after them for the murders and extortion, but he could for the counterfeiting. So shortly after Petrosino’s murder, and in fact, Lupo, when he heard word that Petrosino was [00:13:00] killed, says to his other, you know, members, It was successful. Petrosino is dead. So, you know, there was no, no question that they were, you know, involved.
Now in the summer of 1909, they the Lupo Morello gang gets engaged in another round of counterfeiting. You know, it goes in, in rounds, you know, they print up the money and they lay low for a while and they give it to what they call the pushers and the shovers. We’re going to pass it along. So Flynn gets word of new counterfeit 2 bills and 5 Canadian bills that are being passed around on the East Coast.
And through his intelligence, he finds out it’s in a plant in upstate New York. He raised a plant, but they’re gone. The equipment is gone. But Flynn decides, okay, enough, enough. I’m going to take a chance. Let’s round them all up. Every time they’ve been arrested, they got out because nobody would tell on them, and there was no, you know, not enough evidence.
But he says, let’s see what happens this time. And he lucked out, because [00:14:00] one of the members that he arrested was called Antonio Comito. Now, Antonio Comito has sort of been forced into working For the Morello Lupo gang. They tricked him into thinking it was a legitimate job, and then he’s printing up the counterfeit money, and they say, you leave, we’re going to kill you.
So he really didn’t want part of this, but he had no choice. So he’s arrested, and Flynn says, you know, we’ll give you immunity if you talk against them. You know, they may try to kill you, but we’ll protect you. So Camilo says, yes, I’m really angry with them. So that’s the good news for Flynn.
Okay, he has somebody now who’s finally ready. To spill the beans on the Morello Lupo gang. Nobody for what the bad news was the Monica, what, what Kamita was known as. It wasn’t, you know, Kameedo the killer, Kameedo the evil one, it was Kameedo the sheep. Because he was timid, he was a meek guy, and his nickname was Kameedo the sheep.
[00:15:00] So now Flynn’s saying, oh my god, we’re going to put this guy on the stand, he’s going to crumble under, you know, because Morel Olupo will be in there. Give him death signs. They’ll do all this kind of stuff. D’Amito came through like a lion. He was perfect. He had great memory. And there were other witnesses who also testified.
So the judge in the case, the jury convicted them, and the judge sentenced Morello to 25 years in prison and Lupo 30. for counterfeiting. That was unheard of. You don’t get that long a sentence. So they were involved in murders and extortion. So he’s going to give it now. Here’s what’s really interesting.
So these tough mafia killers, Morello Lupo, when they’re given their sentence, Morello goes into convulsions. He faints. He cries, he has to be carried out of the courtroom, and Lupo just starts crying throughout the whole sentence. And it was a tremendous victory for Flynn. So this is like 1910 now, so William J.
[00:16:00] Flynn of the Secret Service, national headlines, brought down, it was almost like considered the first mafia family in New York.
Gary: Yeah, and it was too, yeah.
Jeffry: Yeah, it was. And it was just a major boom, you know, for his
Gary: career. And all because of Comito the Sheep brought him down, brought down Lupo the Wolf.
Jeffry: Absolutely, absolutely. Without Comito, the same thing would have happened. There wouldn’t have been anybody testifying, and they would have gone, you know, free again. Interesting. They served their prison sentences. The Lupo Morello gets pardoned I think in 1920. He starts working with another mafia group and he’s eventually assassinated himself in 1930.
Lupo is in and out of prison and then he has a, he goes back in prison because he’s involved again in illegal activities and he dies. In 1945 and 1946, something like that. And he died basically, you know, almost of [00:17:00] it was an illness. It was only 45, but he led a long, you know, violent life, hard life.
So the mafia was. Yeah, major part of Flynn’s story.
Gary: Yeah, it is. And then the other part is this, the German terrorists and they were planting bombs. It’s hard for me to fathom the German saboteurs prior to World War I were planting bombs, sending out package bombs in the United States.
Jeffry: But yeah, that, no, that’s only the second part of, Flynn had like three major periods.
Oh yeah. Mafia by itself would have been enough of his career to have made him famous, always in the news. He then has a brief period with the NYPD, he sort of wants to change, he becomes a deputy commissioner. He’s going to sort of correct wipe out what was going on there. There was some corruption, but he wanted to reorganize the detective force.
So he abolished all the branch detective bureaus in the city and had all the detectives report to him. He put all the old timers back in uniform and he hired like a hundred [00:18:00] young, aggressive detectives. And it’s very successful. They’re making arrests and all that, but bureaucrat. Bureaucratic politics came into play, he had enough, so he quit in only after eight months, goes back to the Secret Service, still head of the New York office, and then in 1912, he’s offered the job of Chief of the Secret Service.
Top dog! This is his dream. Now, I grew up in New York, so I kind of understand his head, although I’m out of that head now. He was a true New Yorker, so he loved New York, he didn’t want to leave New York. So, what does Flynn say to the treasury secretary who’s appointed him? Well, look, I’d love to take the job, but like, only if you move Secret Service Headquarters to New York.
We can’t do that. We can’t. We can’t do that. So, they make a compromise, he’ll stay in New York at a reduced salary, he’ll pay his own way for trips to DC, and he does that. And during that [00:19:00] period is where he comes into play into combat with German saboteurs and spies. World War I had broken out and the Germans set up an intelligence unit in New York City because the U.
S. was neutral at the time, but the Germans wanted to know what ships were going over to Britain, giving supplies and all that. And they had a plan in terms of sabotaging the ships. Causing strikes at the docks and all this kind of you know, sabotage and spy work. Now, the Secret Service didn’t really have evidence of all this happening, and President Wilson was frustrated.
He said, look, I want to get the goods on the Germans. This was after the Lufthansa was Torpedoed by the Germans. I think it was 1915. So Wilson goes to the Treasury secretary says get the Secret Service on this. I know their job is really going to counterfeiting, but they’re, you know, the best intelligence units we have put them on the Germans.
So Flynn [00:20:00] forms an 11 man counter espionage unit, puts his best man in charge, Frank Burke. They’re tailing the Germans all over New York, and one day, Burke gets a call from one of his men saying, you know, one of the guys we have under surveillance, he’s an American, German American, but he’s a propagandist for the Germans, and he’s gone into this building, and we want to see who comes out with him.
If he comes out with anybody, what’s he up to? So Burke runs over To his man, they hide as they watch two people come out of the, this building. One of them is the guy they know about. And the other is this well dressed man with a briefcase. And they figure, God, that guy must be important. Let’s follow both of them as they go up to this elevated train.
They took a train in New York, the L train. So, they’re following them. One gets off, the propagandist they know about, and Flynn’s and Burke’s comrade follows him off. But now Burke stays on the train just looking at this well dressed man with a [00:21:00] briefcase. The train stops at 50th Street. The well dressed man panics, he was reading a book, and sees the door is about to close.
He says, stop, stop, that’s my stop! And he runs out, leaving his briefcase there. So Burke takes the briefcase, runs out, and this lady sitting next to to that diplomat, it turns out it was a diplomat, says, you left your briefcase here! So he tries to get back in, he can’t get in. And now Burke has a briefcase on the platform.
He doesn’t want the German whose name is Dr. Heinrich Albert to see him. So Burke runs down to the street. Albert then runs down the street himself and sees Burke. And starts giving him chase. So Burke, so we have a secret service agent with a briefcase, running the streets of New York. A German agent, who’s a he was a the commercial attach√© for the German embassy.
Running after him. You got my briefcase, you got my briefcase. So Burke says, what am I going to do? He doesn’t want a diplomatic incident there. So [00:22:00] he jumps onto the streetcar and he tells the conductor. You see that crazy man waving his hands. He caused a commotion on the train. Don’t stop the streetcar.
Keep going. Keep going. He calls Flynn from a a store, Flynn drives over, meets Burke, they quickly look at the briefcase. Now it’s in German, but they could see from notes and things like that. These are important, important documents. So they go to the treasury secretary and they get, you know, German interpreters.
They look at it, they read it. Turns out it was a 27 million budget. To fund all the sabotage and propaganda. And the secret service has a newspaper published this to give awareness to the country about what’s going on. And so Flynn eventually gets credited, you know, for, you know, bringing to light what the Germans were up to, you know, a number of them get expelled.
So this is like number two. of his career. So, and he made a movie of it. He was very media [00:23:00] savvy. He called it the eagle’s eye and he was they got stars to play in it, a silent movie. And he’s even more famous now, the guy who exposed the Germans. And yeah, then he leaves the secret service and his next job is appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation.
That was a forerunner of the FBI and that’s where the plant of the package bombs come in.
Gary: I’ll be darned. So that was a Bureau of Investigations operation there for the package bombs. Now those were German saboteurs were those extortionists that planted those bombs?
Jeffry: No, they weren’t. Well, in terms of when he was with the Secret Service, it was the Germany saboteurs.
They had some come over from Germany. They recruited you know, within the U. S. So there was a number of that going on and the propaganda, the planting of bombs, what happened with anarchists. That was a different element where when [00:24:00] Lynn with the Bureau of Investigation. So now he’s not just doing counterfeiting.
He’s going after terrorists. And the reason he was appointed was that a group is called the galley anist. Had sent third, they try to send 30 package bombs across the country in 1919, they were designed to look like gifts from Gimbel’s department store, which was like a Macy’s department store of that time, a very famous department store.
16 of those packages never left the New York Post office, because there wasn’t enough postage on it, they screwed up, they didn’t know how much it weighed, but six other 14. got to their destination. One exploded it damaged, it hurt a, the maid of a wife of a former senator. Another exploded. So this becomes sort of news, you know, there’s stories in the newspaper.
Now, a postal worker working the night shift takes a train home. And in those [00:25:00] days, there were newspapers printed at midnight. He picks up a late edition. It says, Oh my God, this package bomb that went off. That looks like the 16 packages that I put into the basement of the New York post office, but not enough posted.
So he runs back as a train back downtown to the post office. They then quickly, you know, they get a bomb expert to open the packages. And they realized these were bombs. So 16 were saved because of that. So we have this happening in April, May of 1919. And these were sent to attorney general, a Mitchell Palmer.
They were sent to police commissioners. They were sent to senators country had never seen something like this. A month later, nine bombs go off in seven cities in a two hour period. Can you imagine if that happened today? What would it be like? Yeah. And so one of them. was right at the home of A. Mitchell Palmer, who was the target, the attorney [00:26:00] general of the previous attempt.
Here, the terrorists fell and the bomb went off. So Palmer’s like, you know, enraged. So he needs a rock star to take over investigation. That’s where he points Flynn. And Flynn now goes after this group, the Gallianists.
Gary: Well, interesting. And then that Wall Street bombing, then that was, I remember now that was anarchist, wasn’t it?
That was, that was huge. That Wall Street bombing at the time. I’ve heard
Jeffry: of that. Yeah. So yeah, what happens is so the 1919, the Lynn and the Bureau of Investigation, they’re looking into who was responsible. They know from leafless drop and he’s like that it was Italian anarchist, and then they were pinpointed to the galleanus.
But Galliani was deported. He was the leader of the Gallianus. He was deported to Italy in 1919, which is one of the reasons why the Gallianus went into their violent Campaign, you know, they said deport him will dynamite you. [00:27:00] So the investigation goes on. They know that the guy who set up the bomb at a Mitchell Palmer’s home, his name was Val Dosini.
He was close with Galeani, but they never can get enough evidence of all the group. You know, all the other members, except for two and two of them newspapers reported that they were confessing. So the rest of the group kind of went underground. So for a little period of time from 1919 to 1921, there really wasn’t any more terrorism 1920 and then in September 16 1920, the worst terrorist attack.
In history at that time occurred when a horse and wagon exploded on Wall Street, killing 38 people and the bomb was hit, you know, in a horse and wagon and Flynn knew immediately that this was the gallienus because there’s leafless left at the scene with the same that were left at the scene of the other bombings.
And, but the [00:28:00] perpetrator was never found, but is believed to be Mario Buda, who was a confidant one member of the galleons.
Gary: Well, that was like the Oklahoma City bombing where they left a truck right outside the place they were wanting to bomb. Totally.
Jeffry: And no one was suspecting it. So this shabby, it was a shabby horse and wagon, you know, this affluent Wall Street.
But nobody was suspicious and then it goes off and, you know, there’s all kinds of witnesses had different, you know, witnesses, you get 20 different stories, you know, an hour before and so now Flynn it was real frustrating, but he and nobody else could really solve this case, but he got interference from another famous detective called William J.
Burns of the Burns detective agency. Burns wanted, you know, his glory. So he tried his own investigation and there was one other name. Who came into play a [00:29:00] young member of what’s called the radical division of the Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice technically under Flynn’s command, but really working under the command of a Mitchell Palmer.
And he also interfered with the investigations, you know, wanting everything to come across his desk. And his name was J. Edgar Hoover. Well, for your younger listeners and viewers, he was head of the FBI for a
Gary: lifetime. The most infamous head of the FBI.
Jeffry: He came into contact, yeah, with all these his life was amazing. Now, there’s even more to this story. So after that happens, he gets forced out of the Bureau of Investigation by Burns, because Burns was close friends with the new Attorney General, and 1921, Flynn’s out of a job. Now, Flynn forms his own detective agency.
Doesn’t do very well on it. But then he creates a [00:30:00] detective magazine, a fiction detective magazine called Flins. Becomes the most successful, famous detective magazine of the time. It lasted for maybe 30, 40 years. And he said in his first issue, I’m going to tell true stories. I’ll tell you about my life in the Secret Service.
I want other writers to submit articles about going after crimes, whatever it is, the mafia in those days or current things. And if you have a fiction story We want it, and we don’t care if you’re not known, if you’re young, you just have something you want to say, if it’s a good story, we’ll print it. So one of the stories of somebody who wasn’t known, who he felt was a good story, it was called My Traitor’s Heart, published the author’s name, Agatha Christie.
So Agatha Christie, the famous mystery writer, kind of got her start. And her article she revised years later. And quoted witness for the prosecution, which became a famous movie. So, yeah, [00:31:00] I mean, this, this guy, you know, Flint had such an incredibly successful, you know, kind of career, but he kind of died heartbroken.
He expected he’d be called back to government service. It never really happened. And he got, you know, he’s always overweight and he died of heart disease, but I was shocked. that I really didn’t know much about him. Most people I talked to, even within the Secret Service, they went, okay, he was a head, but they didn’t know his famous story.
And so that’s why I kind of say in the book, he, he’s sort of the forgotten man in history, even though he did all of these incredible things.
Gary: Really? I mean, that it’s incredible, Jeffrey. I see when, when you got into this, you couldn’t stop. Once you got into something like that, you could not stop. There’s just one.
This
Jeffry: chapter. Okay. This is the end. I’ll kind of wrap up. And then that leads to the other, you know, and then you got the Petrosino side story. And then there were just other side stories that, you know, keep going with [00:32:00] it. So fascinating, man.
Gary: And not only that, he almost started the true crime genre that’s so popular today.
Jeffry: There were other competitive magazines at that time, but his was was the most famous, you know, and yeah the covers, as you probably know that they were great artwork, you know, they have all the,
Gary: you know, kind of lured flamboyant. Yeah. You got onto that early on too. The
Jeffry: stories were pretty, pretty interesting.
And but He probably
Gary: had titles like seven ways to kill people. Well,
Jeffry: absolutely, absolutely. And and this is trying to track down those issues. You know, I would go on Amazon and kind of buy one of the old issues to see what it really felt like, but it was called. Pulp magazines for a reason.
You get the magazine and you open it, it starts falling apart. It was so thin and whatever, but some good, good stories. And [00:33:00] and he he rose, you know, from meager means, you know, and just, you know, streets of New York to the highest levels of government. And it really served the country well in many different capacities.
He did. Oh, and after the mafia in those early days,
Gary: that is Jeffrey. That is an amazing story. And I really appreciate you coming on, telling my guys about this, telling me about this story. I didn’t, I didn’t know it myself. It’s just, that is amazing. It just is unbelievable. All the different people. He was, he was kind of like the Forrest Gump of those times.
He just touched on every major incident in law enforcement in the Northeast part of the United States. And Throughout the world, really, by the end with the terrorist thing.
Jeffry: I love those nicknames, you know the clutch hand, you know, Morello, the clutch hand.
Gary: The clutch hand, yeah, I’ve, I’ve done something about both of them and put them up on my Facebook group and put that famous picture of [00:34:00] The clutch hand with his hand up there like that.
Jeffry: It’s like a string is holding it together. You know, I wonder how he did all his characters
Gary: like that anymore. We don’t have any policemen that are characters. We don’t have any criminals that are characters.
Jeffry: Absolutely. Yeah. You put them all together. You got Flynn, you got Luceno, you got Lupo the Wolf Morello, the clutch hand, all of it.
It’s, it’s amazing. But, but the Petrosino side story really is a sad, sad story because when he went over to Italy, he had just gotten married and just had a baby. And one of his last letters that they found after he was killed by the mafia in Palermo was a letter to his little baby daughter, you know, can’t wait to see you again and this really, but, you know.
There’s so many stories like that, as you know,
Gary: yeah, that’s crazy. All right. Jeffrey Simon, William J. Flynn, the bulldog detective, but is [00:35:00] that the exact name of it? Did I get that? Right? Almost.
Jeffry: It’s called the bulldog detective, William J. Flynn, and America’s first war against the mafia spies.
Gary: All right, great.
And guys, there’ll be a link to that if you want to get it and I, I recommend you get it because this is just scratched the surface of the stories are in there. There’s tons of stories in that. So so reach out there and get that book. And Jeffrey, I really appreciate you coming on. Don’t forget guys. I like to ride motorcycles for watch out for.
Motorcycles when you’re out there and those 20, 000 pound death machines they call automobiles and your big F 150s look out for people. And if you have a problem with PTSD, be sure and go to the VA website if you’ve been in the service and get that hotline number. And you know, with PTSD comes drug and alcohol dependency and a former Gambino soldier.
Anthony Ruggiano is a [00:36:00] drug and alcohol counselor down in Florida, and he has a hotline on his website, so check that out, and don’t forget to like and subscribe, and check the Facebook page out, the, the group, got over 50, 000 people in it now, guys, we have a lot of great mob discussions, a lot of people who, who, family members were in the mob, they put up pictures, and, and it’s really a, a great resource if you’re interested in mob history, which is, that’s what we’re interested in around here, and You know, give me a review to think about it.
And I really appreciate you coming on Jeffrey. Thanks a lot. Thank you so
J

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