CRIME: The Big Payoff

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"As they approached the Brink's building, they looked for a signal from the lookout on the roof of a Prince Street building. He previously had arrived in a stolen Ford sedan. After receiving the go-ahead signal, seven members of the gang left the truck and walked through a playground to the Prince Street entrance of Brink's. Using the outside door key they previously had obtained, the men quickly entered and donned the masks." Big Tony Pino and his driver remained outside in the truck, with the motor idling.

Using their specially made keys, the seven robbers made their way through five doors to the second-floor vault, where five Brink's men were busy counting the day's cash. Confronted with seven short-nosed pistols, the Brink's men surrendered without a fight. After tying and gagging them, the gang methodically began to stuff $1,218,211.29 in cash and $1,557,183.83 in checks, money orders and securities into burlap sacks they carried with them. While they worked, a buzzer went off. O'Keefe removed the adhesive-tape gag from Cashier Thomas B. Lloyd's mouth, asked him what it was. Lloyd said that it was another Brink's employee. The newcomer was admitted to the vault, bound and gagged with the others. As they were leaving with their bulging bags, the gang noticed a large, locked strongbox. They debated taking it along, decided against it. Later, in the newspapers, they learned that the strongbox contained another $1,000,000 in cash, the General Electric payroll.

After 20 minutes in the building, the robbers made their getaway, drove to the Roxbury home of Adolph ("Jazz") Maffie, 44, quickly discovered that they had too much money to count in one night. Joseph McGinnis, 52, the eleventh member of the gang, took the pea jackets, caps, false faces and about $100,000 in new and traceable currency away to burn, and the others dispersed (McGinnis, the gang treasurer, had spent the evening in a restaurant, talking to a detective and establishing a foolproof alibi). Two months after the crime, police found the remains of the truck, carefully minced by an acetylene torch and buried in a dump near O'Keefe's home.

No Honor Among Thieves. The case was ultimately broken by hard, routine investigation by the FBI and Boston police, and by a certain lack of honor among thieves. In two divisions of the loot, O'Keefe said, he was gypped out of $62,000. When he threatened reprisals, he was shot at twice in the streets of Dorchester. Then Bookie John H. Carlson, a close friend and confidant of O'Keefe's, suddenly vanished—apparently the victim of a "ride." Sixteen months ago Specs O'Keefe went back to jail in Springfield for gun-carrying and violation of parole. Brooding there last week, he decided to sing.

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