Who ordered the murder of Arnold Schuster?

In 1952, Arnold Schuster was a 24-year-old clothing salesman living with his parents in Borough Park. One night, while riding the subway to his 45th Street home, he realized the guy next to him was bank robber and fugitive Willie “because that’s where the money is” Sutton.

ArnoldschusterSutton left the subway at Pacific Street. Schuster followed him and then flagged down some cops, who later made an arrest. Sutton’s capture was headline news at the time, and Schuster became a minor celebrity, even appearing on TV.

That probably wasn’t a smart move. Less than a month later, Schuster was murdered, shot in the groin and in each eye.

Sutton insisted he had nothing to do with the slaying. Though the crime outraged New Yorkers, no arrests were ever made. The Schuster family sued the city for not protecting Arnold; eventually city officials settled for $41,000 but admitted no wrongdoing.

Below, a Life magazine photo of a Brooklyn College professor asking citizens to help the police ID Schuster’s killer: 


So who ordered the hit? Years later, a mob turncoat told police that Mafia boss Albert Anastasia, who had no association with Sutton, wanted Schuster dead after seeing him on TV one night. “I can’t stand squealers!” Anastasia supposedly shouted.

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20 Responses to “Who ordered the murder of Arnold Schuster?”

  1. pakistancrimes Says:

    Criminals, murderers and sometimes Police kill innocent people.

  2. Queen TEE Says:

    snitches got stitches

  3. mack Says:

    so bad so bad so bad such a young boy

  4. NYPD RET Says:

    years ago a 1st grade detective who worked on the case told me Schuster owed sutton money and he thought if he turned sutton in he would be rid of the debt.

  5. Redy-red Says:

    Wat els u expect to happen to a snitch im surprised he even made it to tv

  6. Jim Says:

    schuster was even on the tv program “I’ve got a secret”
    he should of kept his secret and his mouth shut and he woulda lived!!!!!!!

  7. Pancho Says:

    I agree that he ought to have kept his mouth shut. He’d be an 83 year old man today with a story to tell his grandkids. But no, he just HAD to be a “hero.” There’s a vast amount of wisdom in the old saying, “Mind your own business.” As for going on TV: Talk about naive!! I can see it all now: “Hi, I’m the guy who snitched and after the show I’m going to go home and live a nice, quiet life!” I have to add that I DO feel sorry for the guy, but I have to also add that he was one of those fools that didn’t know how the world works…

    • Danger Says:

      He did not know how the world works. Smartest thing I’ve read in ages.

      • George Quinn Says:

        I was 11 years old in 52, and when I was about 8 yoa, my Mom told me to never tattle tale on anybody. Everybody dislikes a tattle tale. I remember saying to my family one evening at the supper table after Shuster’s killing.” He should have never told on anybody.”

  8. perry floyd Says:

    why isnt 45 street between 9 and 10 ave named after schuster

  9. Minnesota Fats Says:

    I remember the case well from my teen-age years in Brooklyn. At the time there were rumors that Albert Anastasia had assigned the hit to Frederick Tenuto, but nothing was ever proven. Tenuto disappeared, was never seen or heard from again, and was presumed dead.. Tenuto was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for 14 years until 1964, giving him the distinction of having the longest tenure on that infamous list.

  10. yonah Says:

    yeah: snitches wind up with stiches in ditches.
    Even in 1952 he should’ve known better… he could have just called the cops anonymously, and let it go at that.
    -But no…he just HAD to have his 15 minutes of fame.
    Did his dangerous decision emanate from his his own psyche,… his desire to be an ‘amateur crime fighter’ ( & just what the hell is that !), or…. even his ethnicity ?
    Think it about.
    You be the judge.

    • Rick Barry Says:

      Never help the police the prosecutor’s ..let those assholes solve crimes on there owe for once..

      • George Quinn Says:

        I read a book about this, which concluded, Willie Sutton never asked anybody to murder Shuster. It suggested Shuster had other shenanigans goin on and screwed somebody, but we’ll never really know for sure. My friend, as a cub reporter, went and interviewed Willie Sutton in jail.

  11. fla george Says:

    Among the first things, at 3 years old, my parents ever taught me was never to tattle on anybody along with never touch another man’s goods, especially his motorcycle.
    Snitches deserve street therapy. Bye Arnold, C ya next life

  12. cnwzkc Says:

    I remember reading about Schuster’s murder years ago, and I agree with those on this blog who have little sympathy for him. Schuster should NOT have bragged to the whole world about his ‘snitching’ of Sutton. He could have been much more low-key about it.

  13. Tony M Says:

    mob hits of civilians are very rare ,and it is believed that Anastatia’s own violent death was pay back for breaking mob rules about this very subject. it is also known that he was a hot head who never was bothered seeing people die and when he saw this rat on TV he ordered the hit..the wise guys all knew WILLIE SUTTON and admired him. and last but not least, he was from BROOKLYN. local talent. but AA was acting too independently like Joe Calumbo in later years .god bless WILLIE who once said ” I never wanted a person hurt during a robbery” .but would carry a Thompson or a 38 because ” you can’t rob a bank w/ just charm and personality.”

  14. Smart Boy Says:

    Schuster was a good boy-so far as is known.Albert Anastasia,who probably ordered the murder,was a monster.Even the other Cosa Nostra chiefs realized he was an out of control maniac and they had him rubbed out a few years later.(Killing ordinary people not involved in mob business is a no-no for the mob-bad for business.)
    That being said,Schuster should have avoided the publicity.

  15. Life Schedule Leave Says:

    Life Schedule Leave

    Who ordered the murder of Arnold Schuster? | Ephemeral New York

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