Monday, February 18, 2013

Life of Crime: “Willie the Actor” Sutton

Poor Arnold Schuster. The 24-year-old good citizen recognized wanted bank robber Willie Sutton and turned him in to police. Albert Anastasia, mob boss of the Gambino crime family, took a dislike to Schuster, called him a squealer, and ordered his murder. When the biography of Sutton was excerpted for Life magazine in January, 1953, Schuster’s murder had not been solved.

At one time Sutton, who reportedly stole about $2 million from banks over his lifetime and who spent more than half his lifetime in prison, was famous in a way reserved now for mass murderers. Standards have changed. Nowadays a clever bank robber is lower on the pecking order of notoriety than a killer who goes into a building spraying bullets at random victims.

Sutton was apprehended on this day, February 18, 1952. He was released from prison in 1969, and died in 1980 at age 79.

Copyright © 1953, 2012 Time-Life


Kirk said...

I like your comment that clever bank robbers are now lower on the pecking order than mindless mass murderers. It's true.

Someone eventually took a disliking to Albert Anastasia, as he found out when he took a trip to a barber shop a few years later.

Postino said...

Did anyone ever ask Anastasia's barber how he felt about getting not getting paid?

DEMiller said...

Isn't he known for answering the question, "Why do you rob banks?" with "Because that's where the money is."?

Kirk said...


Postino said...

Dave, yep, that answer has been attributed to him.