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FBI Catches Mob Not Playing Pinochle

Is this a great mob movie scene or what?


I didn’t make it up; it’s in a file from the FBI Vault just released today, about the 1980 murder of Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno. In the days following the assassination the FBI and other agencies fanned out across the City of Brotherly Love and other mafia strongholds to learn what they could about who plugged Bruno at close range under his ear.


On this particular night, two agents visited a location [name redacted] in hopes of interviewing rival mob associate, Frank Sindone. The front of the building was completely dark, but looking through the glass front door, the agents could see activity. After a few minutes, they were let in, and a man allowed the agents to enter a back room. I’ll let the file take it from there; the narrative is much better than anything I could dream up.


“As the agents entered the room, they observed approximately 25 adult males in the room, about ten of which were seated around a brown Formica kitchen table approximately 3 ½ feet by 8 feet in size. It was also noted that several men were sitting on fold-up type chairs around  the room as well as on a couch located along the left side of the wall…One of the men seated at the table said “good evening officers, we were just playing cards,” to which another added, “yeah, a little pinochle.” It was noted that neither SA (FBI Special Agent) [name redacted] nor SA [name redacted] observed any playing cards in the room.


The agents observed that there was a third room equipped with kitchen appliances, including a refrigerator and stove. On the stove there was a large kettle in which there was cooking meatballs in red tomato sauce and at the time of observation an unidentified white male was making meatball sandwiches.”


Yummy to be sure.


But that’s not the juiciest part of the story. One of the men inside insists he does not know Frank Sindone, or another man the agents inquired about, Chickie Narducci, but promised to have them contact the agents should they ever happen to show up there. Right under the agents’ noses, it seems Narducci did come through the front door, but, spotting the agents, “turned around and briskly walked away.”


The thing to note about these old FBI files is that they are heavily redacted and come in no particular chronological order. This file ends as abruptly as it started so this reader/writer is unclear whether the G -men were able to catch up with Narducci that night, or with Sindone ever. But according to online articles, the two warring factions in Bruno’s Philadelphia family never worked things out. Sindone came to his own bad end in a mob hit in October 1980 and Narducci met with a similar fate in 1982.


And that’s what they call “a little pinochle.”

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