The big heist : the real story of the Lufthansa heist, the Mafia, and murder / Anthony M. DeStefano.

One of the biggest scores in Mafia history, the Lufthansa Airlines heist of 1978 has become the stuff of Mafia legend -- and a decades-long investigation that continues to this day. Reporter Anthony DeStefano sheds new light on this legendary unsolved case using recent evidence from the 2015 trial o...

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Main Author: DeStefano, Anthony M., 1946-
Published: New York : Citadel Press, [2017].
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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Veteran Mafia chronicler DeStefano (Gangland New York: The Places and Faces of Mob History) serves up a comprehensive account of the legendary 1978 heist at New York's JFK Airport, including the recent indictment of Vincent Asaro, an elderly member of the Bonanno crime family, who was charged and acquitted in 2015, decades after the theft. DeStefano traces the arc of Asaro's Mafia career before delving into allegations made by his cousin Gaspare Valenti, a fellow organized-crime associate, who testified that Asaro took part in the robbery. Though the book melds an impressive amount of material into a coherent narrative, it's not all that suspenseful, especially for those familiar with the crime, which is documented in other accounts such as Nicholas Pileggi's Wiseguys (1985). DeStefano's insights into the more recent material, such as the trial of Asaro, aren't enough to sustain interest. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Review by Library Journal Review

Newsday reporter DeStefano (Gangland New York) details the 2015 trial of longtime (and almost 80-year-old) Bonanno crime family captain Vincent Asaro on federal racketeering charges. Asaro joined the family business: his father was a Bonanno captain, his uncle Michael Zaffarano was the Times Square porn/peep show magnate who made a lot of money from the sale of his properties when New York City cleaned up the area, and his son Jerome eventually usurped him in rank and power. Asaro's cousin -Gaspare Valenti, who had been his "partner in crime" for many years, became the star government informant against him. In addition to the usual racketeering charges (robbery, fencing, loan-sharking), the charges against Asaro included the long-unsolved murder of low-level associate Paul Katz and the accusation that Asaro was involved in the 1978 Lufthansa "big heist" when approximately $6 million in cash and jewelry were stolen from the JFK airport. By the time of the trial, most of those involved in the heist had either taken a deal or were long dead. VERDICT While a good coda to Goodfellas, a must-purchase only for extensive true crime collections.-Karen Sandlin -Silverman, Mt. Ararat Middle Sch., Topsham, ME © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.