Saturday, December 10, 2011

THUG OF THE DAY:                              JIMMY "THE GENT" BURKE
You probably think of a slicked back Robert DeNiro in a sharkskin suit in the film, "Goodfellas" when you hear him mentioned.  But
The real Jimmy Burke (called Jimmy Conway in the movie) was not given his nickname because of the way he dressed, but for his habit of tipping the truck drivers whose cargo he hijacked.

He did take their driver's licenses so that they knew that he knew where they lived, but they got $50 to forget his face.

Jimmy was an associate of the Lucchese crime family and the alleged mastermind behind the infamous Lufthansa heist in 1978.  Jimmy and his crew stole approximately $6 million in currency and jewels from a cargo building at JFK International Airport.

It is likely that Jimmy was responsible for the murders of nine people following the heist to tie up loose ends and avoid being implicated in the crime and to keep more of the loot for himself.  Over the course of his career, Burke was rumored to be involved in over 50 murders, though he was only ever convicted of one.

Famous Mob turncoat, Henry Hill testified against his old friend and said that Burke had "whacked out" a drug dealer and con man by the name of Richard Eaton.

Sentenced to life in prison in 1985, Jimmy The Gent served over ten years at Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, NY.  He died in 1996 while being treated for lung cancer at Roswell Medical Center in Buffalo, NY.

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