Feds Reveal Details of Lufthansa Heist: Report

Feds Reveal Details of Lufthansa Heist: Report

Photo: The 1978 Lufthansa Heist was later immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s seminal mob film “Goodfellas,” starring Ray Liotta (from l.), Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci. File Photo

Federal prosecutors last week revealed long-suppressed details of the infamous 1978 Lufthansa Heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which netted brazen Bonanno crime family bandits nearly $5 million in untraceable cash and $875,000 in jewelry, according to an exclusive New York Daily News report.

The staggering heist, which adjusted for inflation would have set up the thieves with more than $20 million in cash and jewels today, also landed five reputed Bonanno members under federal indictment.

Among the defendants is reputed Bonanno captain and Howard Beach resident Vincent Asaro, 78, who, according to the Daily News story, blew his alleged $750,000 share of the heist haul at the racetrack.

Among the myriad witnesses set to testify against Asaro is former Bonanno boss Joe Massino and former Gambino associate Anthony Ruggiano, Jr., who allegedly will testify that his father, the late John Gotti crew member Anthony Ruggiano, helped Asaro and Burke fence the stolen jewelry.

According to published reports, the heist was masterminded by the ruthless Jimmy Burke (Robert DeNiro’s character, Jimmy Conway, in the film “Goodfellas”) and carried out by a laundry list of made men, La Cosa Nostra associates and degenerate gamblers.

Tipped off by an airport worker who was tens of thousands of dollars in debt to his bookie, Burke and his crew planned to abscond with the take, which for the most part was American currency flown in once a month from monetary exchanges for military servicemen and tourists in the former West Germany, after executing their strategy with seemingly military-like precision.

While not nearly as simple as “Goodfellas” depicted, the robbery took approximately an hour to complete. Burke expected to score no more than $2 million, and was said to be shocked when the count revealed a nearly $6 million pilfered prize.

Prosecutors, the News’ John Marzulli wrote, have indicated that each participant in the Lufthansa robbery “was supposed to receive approximately $750,000 but most did not live to receive their share (either because they were killed or it was never given to them).”

Asaro’s son, Jerome, 56, was recently sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for his role in a mob hit carried out in Ozone Park by his old man.

Jerome pleaded guilty last October to accessory after the fact, and appeared in court in late March to receive his term for digging up the remains of mob associate Paul Katz, which had been interred under an Ozone Park home since 1969.

Katz was murdered by Vincent and Burke. Some time in the 1980s, Vincent Asaro ordered his son to move Katz’s bones from the home, which was owned by Burke, because investigators were looking into Katz’s mysterious disappearance. According to the New York Post, federal agents acting on a tip descended on the Ozone Park house in 2013 and found Katz’s partial remains.




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