Feds: Guns, masks found in garage leased by Chicago Outfit

Court sketch of Scalise, Pulia, and Rachel.

April 14, 2010 3:06:40 PM PDT
During a bond hearing Wednesday morning for three reputed mob figures charged in a bank robbery plot, federal prosecutors showed pictures of items discovered last night inside a garage they say was leased by Joseph "Jerry" Scalise. A van, two cars, loaded handguns, three hooded sweatshirts, goggles, masks, mace, drills and handcuffs were seized. A driver's license with the name John Anthony Martan was found with Scalise's picture on it. The government believes these items were being stored in preparation for a planned robbery of a suburban bank by Scalise and his friends, Art Rachel and Robert "Bobby" Pullia.

In federal court Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Markus Funk said beginning last year FBI agents began trailing the three men as they eyed the First National Bank in LaGrange and the one-time home of Chinatown boss Angelo "the Hook" LaPietra. Funk said the FBI secretly recorded Scalise, Rachel and Pullia discussing strategies for robbing the bank and breaking into the late mob boss's Chicago home, where they believe money was hidden.

Several audio recordings were played in court today. During a clip from April 1, 2010, the government says Pullia told Scalise what they would do if anyone walked in while they were inside the LaPietra home. "She, she walks in while we are there we will grab it (expletive), because we'll be masked up anyways. (Expletive) Put the arm on her and walk her back, any alarm goes off we will kill ya."

Funk said, "These are violent men intent on committing a violent crime."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan did not rule on bond for any of the men today. She said she wants to wait until next Wednesday when the defendants' high profile attorneys will get a chance to cross examine government witnesses.

Scalise, 73, Pulia, 69, and Rachel, 71, are also the main suspects in a 2007 robbery at another LaGrange bank.

Scalise and Rachel were convicted for the theft of the Marlborough Diamond from a jewelry store in London in 1980.