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August 30th, 2006

1941 Cold Case

abe.jpg
This is a crime scene photo from either the suicide or murder of mob hitman, Abe Reles, taken in front of the Half Moon Hotel on Coney Island in 1941.

I found the case files for Abe Reles in a warehouse in Brooklyn maintained by the Central Records Division. I’ve posted this before, but normally case records for unsolved homicides are supposed to stay in the precinct where the homicides occurred. Anything older than the 1980’s is often missing, however. They were lost in a move, the people at the precinct usually explain, or destroyed in a flooded basement. But 187 boxes of homicide records both solved and unsolved, and spanning the years 1921 to 1973, sit largely forgotten in an aisle at the very back of the Central Records warehouse. Some boxes have a few cases, some have thirty or more. They may be falling apart from age, but there are probably 4,000 to 7,000 case files there.

I thought of writing about Reles, but for various reasons decided not to. It’s a gruesome and interesting story though. He killed people by jamming an ice pick through their ear into their brain. He was eventually caught and was going to be convicted most likely, but instead he became a government witness. Hence the quotes around the word suicide.

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