Leopoldo Lauritano

by Jon Black

Alias: Leo Lauritano

Born: 1872

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Leopoldo Lauritano owned a coffee house at 133 Navy St, Brooklyn. The coffee house was used as the headquarters for the Neapolitan Navy Street Gang.

On June 24th, 1916, a meeting took place at Coney Island between the Sicilian Morello gang, the Neapolitan Navy Street gang and the Neapolitan Coney Island gang. The idea of the meeting was to discuss the expansion of gambling dens in lower Manhattan. A plan that led to a string of murders across New York.

In May 1917, Ralph ‘The Barber’ Daniello, a member of the Brooklyn based Navy St gang, began to tell the police everything he knew about Lauritano, the Navy St crew and the recent murders.

Lauritano, received a twenty one year sentence for manslaughter in 1918. On 12th January, 1926, after serving only seven and a half years, he was paroled from Sing Sing. He was immediately rearrested under an indictment that had been served in 1918 in connection with the murder of Giuseppe Verrazano. On Thursday 14th, Judge Selah B. Strong, discharged Lauritano on a writ of habeas corpus. An action that caused an open argument between the Kings County DA, Charles Dodd, and Judge Strong.

Lauritano returned to court in February 1927, he was tried at the Brooklyn Supreme Court under Judge James Cropsey. He was charged with perjury during the trial of Anthony Paretti, where Lauritano had stated he did not know the defendant or his associates. The ADA, James Cuff, managed to produce a photo of Lauritano in the Navy St cafe with fellow gang members, thus proving his testimony false. Lauritano received five years in Sing Sing.