Today a man alleged to have been involved in the 1978 Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy airport, New York, is among 5 men taken into custody by the authorities for the crime.
Federal agents have carried out a series of raids in the NY metro area to apprehend the suspects. A 78-year-old Vincent Asaro of Howard Beach is one of the mobsters facing a series of charges including the infamous JFK airport robbery that happened over 3 decades ago.
“An FBI operation is ongoing. We will release further details later this morning,” said FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser to ABC News.
Asaro will be the first suspect to face charges in the Lufthansa heist case. The only other person who has ever been charged is airport worker Louis Werner. Werner was accused of providing critical information to the mobsters in order for them to carry out the crime. Other suspects in the case have died and only a small fraction of the money has been recovered.
More than $5 million in cash and $1 million worth of jewelry was stolen during the robbery that took place on Dec. 11, 1978. This is equivalent to about $20 million today. At the time, it was the biggest heist ever pulled off in the United States. Despite long investigations, nothing came of it, though in 1990 Hollywood released “Goodfellas”, a movie that made the heist even more famous.
Federal prosecutors indicted the five men with a number of crimes including murder, robbery, exhortation, bookmaking and arson. The four other suspects apprehended are Jack Bonventre, Jerome Asaro, John “Bazoo” Ragano and Thomas “Tommy D” Di Fiore. The men are all believed to belong to the Bonanno crime family.
The men will be arraigned in U.S district court in Brooklyn on Thursday.
According to Langmesser, Vincent Asaro was arrested following an investigation conducted last summer at the home of another mobster called James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke. Some time ago human remains were found at Burke’s home and were identified as those of Paul Katz. Katz was allegedly murdered in 1969 by Vincent Asaro and his accomplice Jerome Asaro because they believed he was a police informant.
Further details of the arrests are still developing.
Image via Wikimedia Commons