Posts Tagged ‘unsolved New York murders’

A 1996 East Village murder remains unsolved

April 3, 2013

Abe Lebewohl had a routine, his employees later told police.

Every morning around nine, the 64-year-old owner of the Second Avenue Deli would take the previous day’s earnings from the 10th Street restaurant, then drive to a bank on Fourth Street and make a deposit.

Secondavenuedeli

On March 4, 1996, he got to the bank, but never made it inside. According to a 2010 New York Post story, “at least two thugs approached him as he sat in his van and pumped three bullets into him.

“The monsters dragged Lebewohl into the back of van and drove one block before fleeing the vehicle with his black shoulder bag that held the $8,000 deposit and his wallet containing another $2,000.” Lebewohl lay mortally wounded.

AbelebewohlparkThe cold-blooded killing was all the more stunning because Lebewohl was so well-liked and embraced by the community.

Born in the Ukraine, he came to New York with his family in 1950 after years in a refugee camp in Italy.

He worked as a waiter at a coffee shop on Second Avenue and 10th Street, then bought the property, turning it into a Jewish culinary institution that served locals and celebrities.

His generosity was legendary. “[Sic] he often provided free food to homeless people, striking workers, and neighborhood events,” states the web page for Abe Lebewohl Park, a small space across Second Avenue dedicated in his honor (above).

Secondavenuedeli2At first, cops had a solid clue. Soon after the slaying, they found the murder weapon, a handgun, in Central Park.

But after chasing false leads and circulating thousands of witness sketches of the suspects, the case went cold.

Seventeen years later—after the Second Avenue Deli moved to midtown and the Upper East Side and the old location has become another bank branch—the men behind the murder remain at large.

[Top photo: 2ndavedeli.com; middle: NYC Parks Department; bottom: Forbes.com]

Who ordered the murder of Arnold Schuster?

May 12, 2009

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: 

Arnoldschusterlifemag

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.