In Part 2, Frank goes into more depth about his work with the Hole in the Wall Gang. Spilotro obtained inside information that the owners of Bertha’s jewelry story in Las Vegas kept as much as a million dollars in jewelry and cash inside the safe. They planned to commit this burglary on the long weekend of the 4th of July, 1981.
It was late June or early July in Las Vegas, Nevada. Frank Cullotta and the Hole in the Wall Gang members, Ernie Davino, Leo Guardino, Joe Blasko, and Larry Neumann were planning the hit on Bertha’s Gifts and Home Furnishings on 896 E Sahara Ave, Las Vegas. It was an exclusive resale shop
for the finer connoisseur of home furnishings and jewelry. This was going to be at least a million dollar score for the Hole in the Wall Gang with a nice kick up to Tony Spilotro and the Chicago Outfit. This was not going to be easy, not even for the Hole in the Wall Gang.
The Hole in the Wall Gang got their name from the media. When they reported on burglaries in Las Vegas the reporters noticed the perpetrators gained access by breaking through the wall or roof of their target buildings. They did this to avoid being detected by alarm systems. Back then, alarms were wired around windows and doors, and it was very rare that an expensive motion detectors are used. The newspapers reported on these robberies and called them the Hole in the Wall Gang. However in the case of Bertha’s, they did have the expensive motion detectors. Frank has gone into Bertha’s a couple of times to case the joint out. He found they had motion detectors and so he determined the way to get into Bertha’s was to go through the roof over the safe and drill through the ceiling of the safe. He knew they did not have a motion detector inside the safe.
What he did not know was they had an informant inside their crew. Frank suspected that one crew member could be a snitch. He tells how he was contacted in Las Vegas by two Chicago cops and they told him about a mutual acquaintance named Sal Romano. It seems that the Chicago PD had a case on Romano and the FBI had taken the case away and it seemed to disappear. Frank knew this meant trouble for anyone connected to Romano. He informed Spilotro and he refused to believe that Romano was working with the Feds. You have to listen to the exciting conclusion of this story and the story of his encounter with Spilotro’s widow recently.
Thanks to Paul Scharff and his Murder in McHenry, 1981 for info for this article.
Thanks to Casey McBride for the track music.
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