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American Mobsters – Abe Wagner – Whacked By Murder Incorporated
Abe Wagner was a lower east side thug/smuggler who fashioned himself as the quintessential Jewish hood, the new “Kid Dropper,” he told people; Dropper was a tough New York Jewish gang leader who bought a ranch on his own in 1923. Wagner thought he was such a tough guy, he once corrupted the son of Italian mob kingpin Joe “The Boss” Masseria, then told the kid to go home and show his to the old man what Abe Wagner did. Fortunately for Wagner, Masseria was killed before he could avenge his son’s dignity.
Wagner and his brother Allie were making good money running a bootlegging business on the Lower East Side, when the upstart Mazza gang decided to move in on them and take over their operations. On February 20, 1932, Wagner was driving down Suffolk Street in his brand new car. As Wagner slowly made his way past a number of street carts, half a dozen sharpshooters appeared out of nowhere and opened fire. With his car embedded in the swiss cheese, Wagner somehow managed to roll back the passenger door and then escape by speeding through the crowded street.
Not the bravest of souls as he claimed, Wagner decided to make peace with his enemies. He sent his partner Harry Brown and brother Albie to the headquarters of the Mazza gang at the Hatfield Hotel on the Upper East Side. “See if you can pay them off,” Wagner said. Two men arrived at the Hatfield Hotel with a large sum of money. The Mazzees accepted the cash, but then killed Albie Wagner, leaving Harry Brown alive so he could deliver a message to Abe Wagner that peace could not be made until old Abe was dead.
Wagner’s mother, Paulie, was horrified that her youngest son, Albie, had been killed and did not want the same fate to befall Abe. “Take Goldie (Abe’s wife) and go somewhere for a while,” Mom Wagner told her son. “Go now so I don’t worry. Hurry up.”
Wagner did as his mother told him and quickly left town. A month later, Lindbergh’s baby was kidnapped in Hopewell, New Jersey, and Wagner immediately came under suspicion. “We have a tip that Wagner was seen near Hopewell about a month before the abduction,” said Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, chief of the New Jersey State Police.
The cops couldn’t find Wagner, but the Mazza gang, now associated with Lucky Luciano, had a bunch of eyes and eyes and feet on the ground all over the country, and they set this machine in motion. After Wagner slept with his wife in various locations outside the city, he decided to sneak back to New York to see his mom. He was at his mother’s apartment for a few hours, when Mama Wagner got the news that her son had been spotted. “Go quickly,” she said. “Don’t wait.”
Wagner picked up his wife and headed west, stopping in St. Paul, Minnesota. He changed his identity to Abe Loeb and decided to sell fruit. Within weeks, the Mazza gang located Wagner, and Luciano contacted his old friends Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, who, along with Louie “Glue” Buchalter, had formed a neat business called Murder Incorporated, consisting of a nasty bunch of contract killers. for rent. They sent two of their best men, Joseph Shaefer and George Young, to St. Paul to push the button on Wagner. Both had already been charged with the murder of federal agent John J. Finiello during a raid two years earlier on an illegal brewery in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Both also knew St. Paul’s intimately, as it was one of their hiding places during the two years of flight.
On July 25, 1932, Wagner and his new partner, Al Gordon, left a pharmacy on University Avenue after receiving a prescription. They were followed by Schaefer and Young, who were driving in a dark green Packard. Suddenly, the killers jumped out of the car and started shooting. Gordon was killed instantly, but Wagner was only wounded. He ran for his life down University Avenue and then turned onto Snelling Avenue. The gunmen caught up with Wagner as he ran into the Green Dragon restaurant. There, in front of witnesses, they shot him six times, and then beat him on the head with butts. Wagner died a few hours later at the Ancker Hospital, and the attackers were arrested a few minutes later by a passing patrol on Roy Street. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison, despite the efforts of Lansky and Siegel, who spent thousands of dollars to help them avoid the death penalty.
Dead “Loeb” police St. She did not identify Paula as the escaped Wagner. As a result, the following Thursday, Mama Wagner held a “press conference” at her apartment on Rutgers Street. She told reporters, “My boy Allie was killed in St. Paul last Monday. He was killed by the same killers that killed my Allie here. I knew they would. But why? Why? My boy was always so good to me.”
As evidence of her son’s murder, she provided a telegram from Wagner’s wife, Goldie, asking her to send twenty-five dollars so she could fly Wagner back to New York for a proper funeral. “That was all the money I had,” said Mom Wagner. “If it wasn’t my son, why would I have a telegram?”
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