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Friday, September 23, 2005


One of the more absurd crime sagas in New York City history now seems to have been resolved:

In the annals of New York City crime, few undertakings were more ill-advised, foolhardy and just plain dangerous than the one that prosecutors say was chosen by Thomas and Rose Marie Uva, a young married couple from Queens.

The Uvas set out more than a dozen years ago to solve their financial difficulties in a most unusual fashion: walking into mob social clubs with an Uzi submachine gun and separating the Mafiosi within from their ill-gotten gains.

The crime spree was predictably short-lived. They were killed in 1992 in one of the more public executions in the recent history of organized crime in New York. On Christmas Eve, in broad daylight on a busy Queens thoroughfare, they were each shot several times in the head as they sat in a car at a traffic light. Ms. Uva, the authorities said, had more than $1,000 in her wallet; investigators said they believed the couple might have been out for some last-minute Christmas shopping.

No one had been charged in the case until yesterday, when F.B.I. agents and police detectives arrested a man, whom they accused of being a captain in the Gambino crime family, on charges that he was part of the hit team that killed the couple.

The man, Dominick Pizzonia, who prosecutors say was known as Skinny Dom, was charged with racketeering conspiracy, including the two murders...

The robberies had stunned the world of organized crime: gangland figures were incredulous over the brazen assaults on the normally inviolate establishments where they played cards, sipped coffee and schemed, according to several law enforcement officials.

There were at least four robberies, and as the crime spree stretched over several months, the mob initially seemed unable to stop it. Perhaps belaboring the obvious, one former high-ranking mob figure, who became a government witness several years ago, said, "It's embarrassing if wise guys get held up."

I'd never heard of this story before reading this article, but it's pretty astonishing, isn't it? I mean, how foolish do you have to be to try and rob the mob, even if they are a shadow of their former self? That's just asking to be killed. In the history of New York criminality, the Uvas have to be right up there in terms of absolute idiocy.

For more background information, see Joseph Capeci's 'Gang Land' column from the January 12th, 1993 Daily News.

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