In 1978, a group of robbers descended on Kennedy International Airport, making off with around $5 million in cash and close to $1 million in jewels from the Lufthansa cargo building. Officials at the time said it looked like a big one, maybe the biggest that town had ever seen, causing members of the Mafia to enthusiastically slap their shower walls, then celebrate by buying their wives mink coats and fucking Cadillac cars, and the most expensive Christmas trees they had.
But the resulting, intense federal scrutiny—and the fact that it made Jimmy sick to turn money over to the guys who stole it—led to those responsible doing everything they could to cover up the evidence. Months after the robbery, they were finding bodies all over, while the streets of New York were filled with the melancholy coda of “Layla.”
But now the New York Times reports that a group of organized crime figures have finally been arrested in connection with Lufthansa, as well as a series of unsolved investigations that includes “armored car heists, murder, attempted murder, extortion, bookmaking,” and all the other fun stuff that happened in the first two acts of Goodfellas, before cocaine entered the picture.
As the article notes, suspected mastermind Jimmy “The Gent” Burke died in prison while serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder. And as Goodfellas notes, almost all of the other people believed to have been involved are dead. (Some of them were even believed to be frozen so stiff, they had to thaw them out for the autopsy.)
Still, at least one man—Vincent Asaro, now 78—has been accused of participating in Lufthansa, and he is currently in custody for both that and for charges on an unrelated murder. It’s also believed he puts too many onions in the sauce.
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