American Mobsters – Abe Wagner – Hit by Murder Incorporated
Abe Wagner was a Lower East Side thug/bootlegger who became the quintessential Jewish neighborhood, the new “Kid Dropper,” he told people; Dropper was a tough Jewish gang leader from New York City who had bought the ranch himself in 1923. Wagner thought he was such a tough guy that he once roughed up the son of Italian mob kingpin Joe “The Boss” Masseria then told the boy to go away. house and show his old man what Abe Wagner had done. Fortunately for Wagner, Masseria was shot dead before he could avenge his son’s indignity.
Wagner and his brother Allie were making a good living bootlegging on the Lower East Side, when Mazza’s upstart gang decided to move in with them and take over their operations. On February 20, 1932, Wagner was driving down Suffolk Street in his brand new car. As Wagner walked slowly past the numerous carts on the street, half a dozen gunmen appeared out of nowhere and opened fire. As his car was being turned into Swiss cheese, Wagner was somehow able to roll out the passenger door and then run down the crowded street.
Not being the bravest of souls as he claimed, Wagner decided to make peace with his enemies. He sent his associate Harry Brown and his brother Albie to the Mazza gang headquarters at the Hatfield Hotel on the Upper East Side. “See if you can afford them,” Wagner said. The two men arrived at the Hatfield Hotel with a large sum of money. The Mazzas accepted the cash, but then shot Albie Wagner dead, leaving Harry Brown alive, so he could deliver the message to Abe Wagner, that no peace could be made until old Abe was dead too.
Wagner’s mother, Paulie, was mortified that her youngest son, Albie, was killed and did not want Abe to suffer the same fate. “Take (Abe’s wife) Goldie and go somewhere for a while,” Mama 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, the Lindberg baby was kidnapped in Hopewell, New Jersey, and Wagner immediately came under suspicion. “We have information that Wagner was seen in the vicinity of Hopewell approximately a month prior to the abduction,” said Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, chief of the New Jersey State Police.
The police couldn’t find Wagner, but the Mazza Gang, now aligned with Lucky Luciano, had a lot of eyes and eyes and feet on the ground across the country, and they set this apparatus in motion. After Wagner went unnoticed with his wife in several out-of-town locations, he decided to sneak back to New York City to see his mother. He was in his mother’s apartment for a few hours when Mama Wagner got the news that her son had been seen. “Go fast,” she said. “Dont wait”.
Wagner picked up his wife and headed west, stopping in St. Paul, Minnesota. He changed his identity to Abe Loeb and decided to go into the fruit business. Within weeks, the Mazza Gang had tracked down Wagner, and Luciano got in touch with his old friends Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, who, along with Louie “Lepke” Buchalter, had formed a tidy company called Murder Incorporated, which was staffed by an unsavory group of contract killers. To rent. They sent two of their best men, Joseph Shaefer and George Young, to St. Paul to push Wagner’s button. Both men were already on the run for killing federal agent John J. Finiello during a raid two years earlier at an illegal brewery in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Both men also knew St. Paul intimately, as it was one of their hideouts during the two years they were on the run.
On July 25, 1932, Wagner and his new partner, Al Gordon, left a pharmacy on University Avenue after having a prescription filled. They were followed by Schaefer and Young, traveling in a dark green Packard. Suddenly, the gunmen 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, then turned onto Snelling Avenue. The gunmen caught up with Wagner as he was running toward the Green Dragon restaurant. There, in front of witnesses, they shot him six times and then hit him on the head with their gun butts for good measure. Wagner died hours later at Ancker Hospital, and the gunmen were arrested by a patrol car passing minutes later on Roy Street. They were tried and convicted and sentenced to life in prison, despite the attempts of Lansky and Siegel, who spent thousands of dollars to help them avoid the death sentence.
The dead “Loeb” was not identified by St. Paul police as the fugitive Wagner. As a result, the following Thursday, Mama Wagner held a “press conference” at her Rutgers Street apartment. She told reporters: “My son Alie was killed in St. Paul last Monday. He was killed by the same killers who killed my Allie here. I knew they would. But why? Why? My son He was always so good to me.”
As proof of his son’s murder, he produced a telegram from Wagner’s wife, Goldie, asking him to send twenty-five dollars so that Wagner could be transported back to New York for a proper burial. “That was all the money she had,” Mama Wagner said. “If he wasn’t my son, why would he have the telegram?”