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Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci
Ludovico Di Ambrosio, Victor D'Ambrosio, Vincent Drucci "The Schemer"
After serving his country in the military, Vincent Drucci at a young age is involved with crime. He begins by robbing telephone coin boxes when he is noticed by the Northsiders. Nicknamed "The Schemer" for his various plans such as how to overthrow the government by killing everyone in command and becoming president of the U.S.
Drucci is a wacky fun gangster, at least to his co-horts. To others, especially rivals he was one tough torpedo to tangle with. One episode has him dressed as a priest on the sidewalk and as a couple walks by Drucci blurts out "You have a nice ass" As soon as they turn around to face the insulting Drucci he blurts out "Not you lady, your fellow!"
One time Dean O'Banion himself participated in the mayhem by pretending to kick the shit out of Drucci whilst in the priest outfit.
Other madcap jokes done by the druccmeister where done to drivers who delivered bootleg booze for the Northsiders. The driver would arrive at Schofield's and park his car out back and then drive off with the Northsider's truck in front for booze pick ups or deliveries. Once in winter time, Drucci went out back of the Flower shop and filled the driver's car full of snow. When the unsuspecting driver came out back to see his car, he was left in total shock. Drucci had shovelled snow inside his car right to the top. The driver was pissed off and Drucci was no where to be seen. When learning of this O'Banion laughed his head off but sympathized with the driver. O'Banion had to pay to have the car cleaned out.
Another joke performed by Drucci was the shoe game. Whenever someone in the gang had a new pair of shoes Drucci would yell "shoes!!!" and tackle the new shoe wearer to the ground while removing the new footwear and throwing it as far as he could. Hymie Weiss fell victim one day on the second floor of Schofield's flower shop. Drucci saw that Weiss had a shiny new pair on so he immediately tackled Weiss to the ground, removing his shoes and throwing them out the open window to the ground below. Coming up the street was a Northside truck driver who saw the foot covering missiles hitting the ground and the word "Shoes!" being yelled out.
Hymie stuck his head out and asked the driver to kindly retrieve the shoes and bring them up. Meanwhile, Weiss was calling Drucci every expletive available.
One interesting sidenote was that Drucci appeared in a blue movie called Bob's Hot Story.
It was shot in Chicago in early 1923.
One evening, Drucci got so intoxicated and out of hand that the the Northsiders had to throw him in the trunk of the car to avoid him killing someone. When they later opened the trunk they had found Drucci all full of his own vomit from being tossed about during the drive.
O'Banion is is said to have hated Italians and Drucci certainly disproved this notion. Drucci and O'Banion mutually respected each other as all the other Northsiders did.As a matter of fact O'Banion understood and even said a few words in Italian himself on occaision.O'Banion hated the Gennas, but not Italians.
June 25,1922 Drucci living at 3817 Osgood and O'Banion living at 6081 Ridge Avenue are caught trying to blow up a safe at 725 North Michigan avenue.Three days earlier both are arrested for robbing a truck filled with liquor.
Drucci the stunt man
Thursday August 31,1922 a man identified by police as Vincent"The Skimmer"(sic) Drucci is arrested for evading police. Always the thinker Drucci is noticed by police Sergts. Tuohy and Klatzko while touring the lower Northside.They recognize Drucci and know he has forfeited his bond for a charge of blowing up a safe in a teashop.Drucci also recognizes the cops and steps on the gas!! Arriving at the Michigan avenue bridge, Drucci sees the the bridge opening up for the steamer passing through. In desperation to evade the cops Drucci gives it full throttle and hangs on for dear life as he makes the spectacular leap across the jacknife bridge.The police go one better and also jump the bridge and corner the foot running Drucci one block southside of the river.
July 16,1925, Vincent Drucci is arrested on a new gun toting charge.He enters of all places the criminal courts building with a gun in his pocket.He is freed on a $200 dollar bond.He was at the time being questioned in connection with Tony Gennas murder.
Drucci wearing hat and glasses being questioned at the police station.
August 20,1925, Drucci is fined $300 by municipal judge Howard Hayes for carrying a concealed weapon. Everytime Drucci is seen by a cop he is immediately frisked for weapons. Everytime he is stopped Drucci exclaims "Is this Russia?"
November 14,1925, Drucci enters the Cadillac motor car company at 2301 South Michigan avenue. He kindly asks Mr. David Ziedman to use the telephone. Ziedman refuses.Drucci incensed at the refusal and with no weapon on him goes outside and gets a gun from his buddy Michael "Puggy" White. Drucci can no longer carry weapons as the previous gun toting charge has made him an instant mark for police to arrest.Another gun charge would mean jail time.Drucci takes the gun from White and re-enters the Cadillac company and begins to beat the crap out of Ziedman. Drucci leaves Ziedman with various scalp wounds.
January 2 1926, Myrtle Fels (515 Diversey parkway) dress shop is visited by Drucci and a husky blonde woman. Myrtle Fels has been going around saying that Drucci has robbed her store of $5,000 the previous thursday. Drucci who is peeved at these assumptions sends a woman in to beat the crap out of Miss Fels. She is repeatedly slapped around by the woman while Drucci herds the seven customers at gunpoint to the back of the store.She is warned to stop flapping her gums about Drucci. Drucci and the hitwoman both leave the store,enter a taxi and speed off.
July 12,1926, Vincent Drucci is suspected along with Peter, Frank Gusenberg and Michael "Puggy" White of robbing $80,000 in jewels from Wilbur R. Brown at his Congress hotel room.
August 10,1926, after a hearty breakfast at the Congress hotel the famous Oil Standard shooting occurs while onlookers gaze in shock. Accompanied by Earl "Hymie" Weiss,Vincent Drucci shoots wlidly at Capone men who fire first from a car. Drucci fires five shots.Three shots are tossed at Drucci. One bystander by the name of James Cardan of 6807 South Aberdeen is injured with a flesh wound from flying shrapnel.Weiss gets away as the Capone attackers flee. Drucci not giving up commands a driver of a car (C.C.Bassett 9545 Calumet Avenue) at gunpoint to chase them.Before they could move ahead the police step in to arrest Drucci. Drucci gives the fake name of Frank Walsh to police.He claims he's in real estate.They know he's lying and Drucci maintains it was a simple case of robbery gone bad. Drucci had $13,200 on him at the time and claimed they wanted his roll.The truth is the Capone gang try to kill Weiss and Drucci plain and simple.
One onlooker was a Wyoming cowboy (E.D. Jackson of Gillett) who was in Chicago to perform in a rodeo. He enjoyed the shootout and wished he had brought his own gun. He stated"This is more fun than i've seen since I left Wyoming"
Many historians have claimed there were two shootouts at the Standard Oil building with Drucci and Weiss.There is no proof whatsoever as to this claim. I think this was a misinterpretation of newspaper stories as an early one claimed Drucci was alone and in following reports Hymie Weiss makes an appearance.
October 17,1926 Vincent Drucci, Julian "Potatoes"Kaufman,and Henry Sork are arrested at Cub's park while viewing the Cardinals-Bears football game.All three denied knowing anything in connection with Hymie Weiss' slaying in front of Holy Name cathederal.Drucci claimed he was in New York at the time of Weiss' demise and hadn't seen him in a month.
December 2,1926, Vincent Drucci is arrested with Benjamin Sorge at Sheridan road and Belmont avenue. Drucci was charged with impersonating a government agent and trying to confiscate beer in a garage by slugging the attendant there.The next day it is learned that it is in fact Drucci ,Moran and the Gusenbergs that enter the garage at 2901 Lawrence avenue There they find two police on guard with a black garage attendant named Ulysses.Drucci claims to be a government agent and slips the cuffs on the police and disarms them.Drucci beats the hell out of Ulysess.Neither of them touches the beer and suddenly return the revolvers to the policemen.It is believed there were there to seize certain records on the premises.Drucci is held on a $2,000 bond for impersonating an officer.
Drucci at the morgue.
Chicago American April 4,1927.
(Mario Gomes collection)
April 4,1927, Drucci is killed in a Detective Squad car by Detective Dan Healy. They were enroute to the bureau for questioning after Drucci was apprehended trying to ransack and threatening an opposing elections office. Some say Dan Healy was on the Capone payroll to rid of opposing mobsters.In fact Healy who hated all gangsters probably had some remarks in the car towards Drucci who at this point probably went ballistic and tried to get to Healy's gun. As the result, Healy wrestled his gun off Drucci and shot him to death.
Detective Healy, the man who killed Drucci.
Chicago American, April 4,1927, Story on the events leading up to Drucci's killing.
(Mario Gomes collection)
April 5,1927, Chicago American story on jury to sit on inquest over Drucci's killing.
(Mario Gomes collection)
Vincent Drucci's Funeral procession about to leave Sbarbaro's funeral home.
(Special thanks to Bill Helmer and Rick Mattix. This photo is taken from their fine book, The Complete Public Enemy Almanac 1919-1940)
Drucci's funeral procession.
Having served in the Navy, Drucci was buried with miltary honors. His wife Cecelia Drucci noted "We sure gave him a swell sendoff".
Vincent Drucci's resting place near Hymie Weiss and Dean O'Banion.
First Posted June 2007