FBI searches home of late mobster LaPietra

Apr. 28, 2010 (CHICAGO)

LaPietra has been dead for 11 years, but he has not been able to rest in peace for many of them.

The South Side mob boss, infamous for hanging his victims from meat hooks, lived in a mansion in the 200-block of 30th Street that the agents searched Wednesday.

An FBI spokesman said Wednesday night that there have been no additional arrests in a case that began with federal agents following three mobsters straight to LaPietra's former home.

The house is still in LaPietra's family. His 43-year old daughter JoAnn Lascola lives there now.

Angelo "The Hook" - a barrel-chested mob boss - ruled outfit rackets from the First Ward southward for decades before his death in 1999.

Early Wednesday morning, FBI agents began going through the well-fortified home on what a spokesman said was a "routine follow-up."

They had no search warrant, indicating that LaPietra's daughter let them search freely.

The walkthrough follows last month's arrest of Jerry "Witherhand" Scalise and Arthur "The Genius" Rachel. According to the FBI, they were caught camped out at the house, planning to break into the home of their late capo. The FBI said Robert "Bobby" Pullia was also arrested while camped out at the scene.

Although an FBI spokesman cautioned not to read a lot into the search Wednesday, mobologists are a-flitter because the famous Marlborough diamond was stolen in 1980 from a London jewelry store by Scalise and Rachel.

The more-than-45-carat gem has never been found, and because of that, outfit watchers speculate that the mob duo may have been planning a break-in to retrieve the diamond.

While federal agents Wednesday emerged from the former home of "The Hook," they didn't appear to be carrying a 45-carat sparkler.

The search appeared to have been less fruitful than the one conducted last month at the home of another top hoodlum, Frank Calabrese, Sr., in Oak Brook.

Inside a hidden compartment behind the family portrait, authorities found $1 million in rings, pendants and cash.

The three mobsters arrested outside LaPietra's home are still being held on attempted bank robbery charges. The government is fighting a federal magistrate's decision to release them on bond.

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