Friday, January 11, 2008


New Years Eve will never be the same for some heroic members of this department.

The January 1 2008 edition of the Daily News noted the dedication of the lobby at 1PP to the five members of the NYPD who heroically were called to action on December 31, 1982 in response to the bombing incidents that took place around lower Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn.

It was twenty five years ago that the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN planted five bombs in the city aimed at law enforcement targets – the federal building at 26 Federal Plaza, the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse and 1PP.

Commissioner Kelly dedicated the visitor’s entrance at Police Headquarters to these heroes on December 31, 2007 – 25 years to the day.

The first explosion went off at Federal Plaza; the blast blew out the windows and could be heard for blocks.

PO ROCCO PASCARELLA was working Headquarters Security, and was tasked to check the perimeter of the building. The second bomb found him.

PASCARELLA was able to alert SALVATORE PASTORELLA, who was a Bomb Squad Detective at the time that the bomb was inside a fast food container (chicken box).

A third explosion went off around 10pm at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.

Soon after, after having been alerted of a person seen leaving paper bags near the main entrance of 1PP, the other devices were found.

PASTORELLA and his Bomb Squad partner ANTHONY SENFT cleared the area of any pedestrians, covered another explosive with Kevlar blankets, and suited up in their bomb squad suits to begin their work.

“I knelt down on my right knee and extended my right hand,” PASTORELLA remembers. “Just then the bomb went off.” SENFT was sent flying 15 feet in the air, and was blinded in the right eye and broke his hip. PASTORELLA was blinded in both eyes and lost most of the fingers on his right hand.

The fifth bomb was then successfully disarmed by two other Bomb Squad MOS, Detective FRANK DECICCO and then-Sgt. CHARLES WELLS. This fifth device was found by the entrance to 1PP.

Brooklyn North sleuths will know Charlie Wells very well, as he retired last year as an Inspector, the XO of Detective Borough Brooklyn, after serving in posts as a Detective Captain in Brooklyn North Detectives, with the Brooklyn North Gang Squad, Staten Island Detectives, and then at SID where he commanded the department’s counter-terrorism efforts after 9/11.

“What is it that enables these men to confront danger that most people would flee?” Police Commissioner Kelly said as he honored these men.

“You realize again how lucky you were to have survived,” remarked SENFT, who is still a Detective.


Compiled in 1859 by George W. Matsell, former Chief of Police of New York City, the SECRET LANGUAGE OF CRIME was a comprehensive dictionary of the criminal; a Rogues Lexicon.

Some of the entries of interest follow:

Amusers: Fellows who carry snuff or pepper in their pockets, which they throw into a persons eyes and then run away; the accomplice rushing up to the victim, pretending to assist, robs him while suffering with pain.

Barking Irons: Pistols

Baster: A house thief

Betty: A picklock

Blow a Cloud: Smoke a cigar or pipe.

Booth: A place where thieves gather or congregate.

Case: A dollar

Century: A hundred dollars.

City College: The Tombs.

Fly-Cop: A sharp officer; an officer that is well posted; one who understands his business.

Moll: A woman.

Mumpers: Beggars

My Uncle: Pawnbroker.

Oil of Barley: Strong beer.

Peepers: Eyes

Philistines: Police officers; officers of justice.

Pinked: Stabbed.

Roofer: Hat

Stop: A Detective

Tail-Diver: A thief who steals pocket-handkerchiefs from coat-tail pockets.

Thimble: A watch.

Turkey-Merchants: Purchasers of stolen silk.


The AK-47 has long been the weapon of choice of European organized crime gangs.

In Italy, where the Camorra rules organized crime enterprises in the Naples area, it is absolutely the weapon of choice.

“A young man with a degree in economics, was so impressed with the contraption (the AK47) the first time he shot it that he immediately wanted to take a trip to meet its inventor”, it is noted in the book Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano, on the Italian organized crime empire.

“The neighborhood capo wanted to be sure that all his men, even those with college degrees – the businessmen as well as the foot soldiers – knew how to shoot” an AK47.

This particular crime soldier, the one with the economics degree, was responsible for millions of euros, and had control over the distribution of certain brands of coffee in the area bars. Organized crime knows no boundaries! “It’s not just drugs”.

Being handed an AK47 for the first time, he told how he unloaded it into various bar windows one night, selecting them at random. The feel of the gun was impressive to this first-time shooter.

What of the storeowners who would find their windows shot out in the morning? Well, in this particular part of Naples, the feeling was that the owners “would come up with some sort of valid explanation of why someone would be shooting their windows out, because there’s always some reason to feel you’re in the wrong, or got caught by someone who you were trying to get over on”.

Many storekeepers have taken to installing bullet-resistant glass. But a bullet-resistant shop window can cost up to 5,000 euros, so it’s better to stick with the violent decorations than to replace it. And besides, there’s always the chance that the sight will lure curious customers to stop and ask what happened, chat with the owner, and maybe even buy a little something extra in the end. Rather than replace the broken window, most just wait until they implode from the next burst of gunfire. At that point insurance will cover the cost, because if the owner gets there first thing in the morning and makes all the merchandise disappear, the spray from an assault rifle is labeled a robbery.

A shop window shooting is not always an intimidation, so much as a necessity.

When a new shipment of AK-47s arrives, they have to be tested, to make sure they don’t jam. The Camorra could try them out in peace in the countryside, shoot at old armored cars, or buy some sheet metal to blow to pieces. But, no, they fire at stores – windows, doors, metal shutters – a reminder to all that there is nothing that does not potentially belong to them and that everything is really granted by them, a momentary concession.

And there’s also the side benefit.

The local glass companies with the best prices on replacement windows are all related to the clan; the more broken glass, the more money they make.


The AK-47 is short for the Russian “Avtomat Kalashnikova”, which means “Kalashnivov’s automatic”, and 47 refers to the year in which it was selected as the official weapon of the Soviet Union.

The AK47 is noted as a weapon that is very easy to use, with very high firepower.

Their strength is in their size: neither so small as to lack sufficient firepower, like revolvers, nor so big as to become unwieldy or have too much recoil. They are so simple to clean and assemble that in the former Soviet Union the military trained schoolboys to do it in an average of two minutes.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is the inventor of this high-powered weapon. Little did he anticipate what his resulting firearm would become, when he set out to design a weapon of value for the Soviet Army that he served in for many years.

Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov was born in 1919, and is now a well-preserved, sprightly old man, who still gets invited all over the place as a movable icon to the most famous assault rifle in the world.

Before retiring from the armed services of the Soviet Union, he received a general’s stipend of 500 rubles, which is more or less $500 a month. If he had been able to patent his weapon in the West, he would undoubtedly be one of the richest men in the world. There are approximately more than 150 million Kalashnikovs of varying models that have been produced over the years. Even if he only earned one dollar for each weapon, he would be swimming in money.

“I did not invent that weapon to make money, but only and exclusively to defend the Motherland in a moment in which she needed it. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would do exactly the same things and live my life just as I have. I have worked all my life, and my life is my work”.

Interesting, as there is nothing in the world which has produced more deaths than the AK-47. It has killed more than the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more than the bubonic plague, more than malaria, more than all the attacks of the Islamic fundamentalists.

Yet there are those who consider its inventor, and the gun itself, to be an icon.


Why are there green lights outside police precincts?

It is believed that the Rattle Watchmen, who patrolled New Amsterdam in the 1650's, carried lanterns at night with green glass sides in them as a means of identification.

When the Watchmen returned to the watch house after patrol, they hung their lantern on a hook by the front door to show people seeking the watchman that he was in the watch house.

Today, green lights are hung outside the entrances of Police Precincts as a symbol that the "Watch" is present and vigilant

“It is not how they died that makes them a hero, but how they lived their lives”.

January 11, 1908 Ptl Robert Fitzgerald, Bridge Pct, Drowned-Rescue
January 11, 1916 Ptl Joseph Gaffney, 26 Pct, Shot-arrest
January 11, 1929 Ptl Albert Bruden, Mcy Unit, Auto pursuit
January 11, 1941 Ptl Edward Maher, Traffic P, Shot-robbery
January 12, 1974 PO Timothy Murphy, 120 Pct, Shot-off duty incident
January 12, 1981 PO Robert Walsh, 7 Pct, Shot-off duty robbery
January 13, 1924 Ptl John Schneider, 3Div, Robbery investigation
January 13, 1950 Ptl Edward Carraher, 14 Pct, Injured on patrol
January 13, 1997 Det Kenny Fung, 72 Sqd, Heart attack during investigation
January 15, 1938 Ptl Frank Zaccor, 14 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
January 16, 1953 Ptl Thomas Sheehan, 10 Pct, Line of duty heart attack
January 17, 1947 Ptl Harry Schriffies, McyDist, Shot-investigation
January 17, 2000 PO Benny Marciante, SITF, LOD Heart attack
January 18, 1935 Ptl James Killion, 17 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
January 18, 1960 Sgt Edward Johnson, 5 Pct, Stabbed by EDP
January 18, 1967 Det Harold Jacob, Safe Loft & Burg Sqd, Line of duty heart attack
January 18, 1979 PO Robert Manzione, 7 Pct, Line of duty heart attack

January 21, 1932 Ptl John Walsh, 17 Div, Shot-off duty robbery
January 21, 1941 Ptl Daniel Piselli, 88 Pct, Killed-line of duty incident
January 21, 1948 Ptl William Von Weisenstein, 101 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
January 21, 1958 Det Francis O’Rourke, 32 Sqd, Line of duty heart attack
January 21, 1986 Det Anthony Venditti, OCCB, Shot-investigation
January 21, 1995 Det Alfred Boesch, Housing SNEU, Line of duty incident
January 22, 1971 Ptl Robert Bolden, 75 Pct, Shot-off duty altercation
January 23, 1934 Ptl Joseph Misichia, 114 Pct, Shot-arrest
January 23, 1943 Ptl Pasquale Venturelli, 45 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
January 23, 1987 PO Michael Reidy, 41 Pct, Shot-off duty robbery