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Al Capone Biography

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Al Capone was possibly the largest and most feared mofia boss

America has ever seen. This 1920's gangster made his mark on the world

through organized crime during the Prohibition era. He is solely attributed

with Chicago's reputation as a lawless city.

Alphonsus Capone was born on January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New

York. As a child he was a member of the Brooklyn Rippers and the Forty

Thieves Juniors "kid gangs." Capone quit school at age fourteen in the sixth

grade. He worked a few odd jobs in Manhattan in a bowling alley and a

candy store. Then Capone took a position as a bouncer in Frankie Yale's

Brooklyn dive and the Harvard Inn. While working at the Inn he was

attacked by a man and received the facial scars that would give him the

byname "Scarface."

Capone met Anne "Mae" Coughlin at a dance in 1918. Later that year

on December 4, 1918 she gave birth to their son, Albert "Sonny" Francis.

Less than a month later they were married.

Capone became a member of the Five Points gang in Manhattan.

During this time he hospitalized a rival gang member in a fight. Feeling the

heat from the conflicting group, he moved his family to Chicago. He began to

work for John Torrio, an old partner and mentor of Yale. Capone was soon

helping to manage Torrio's bootlegging business. He quickly gained the

respect of Torrio and became his number two man. After being shot by an

opposing gang member, Torrio left Chicago. Capone became boss of the

"outfit." Torrio's men respected Capone and trusted his business decisions.

They referred to Capone as "the big man." In the next five years he

expanded his industry of crime. Capone controlled speakeasies, nightclubs,

brothels, gambling houses, and much more. His bootlegging provided the city

of Chicago with alcohol during prohibition. Capone had a reported income of

$100,000,000 a year.

Capone had an intricate spy network throughout Chicago. Crooked

police men let him prepare for liquor raids and some of his other men made

him aware of assassination plots. He would use hotels as his headquarters

and front businesses for a hideout. Capone was always good at successfully

knocking off his enemies when they became too powerful. Although he killed

men himself, it was much safer for his henchmen to do his dirty work.

Capone's men would rent an apartment across the street from their target and

gun him down when he stepped outside. These operations were quick and

precise, and Capone always had an alibi.

On St. Valentines Day, 1929, four of Capone's cohorts entered the

liquor headquarters of George "Bugs" Moran. Two of these men were

dressed as police. Moran's men, thinking this was a police raid, dropped

their guns and put their hands against a wall. Using two Thompson machine

guns and two shotguns, Capone's men killed six gang members and an

unlucky friend. More than 150 rounds were fired into the gangsters. Moran,

who was most likely the real target, was across the street. Capone, as

always, had an alibi; he was in Florida.

Eliot Ness was assigned to shut down Capone's illegal industry. Ness

and his men found ways to beat Capone's spy network. They received the

sobriquet "Untouchables", because they never took a bribe. The

Untouchables were made up of young, brave officers fresh out of police

training school. Ness used these officers because he didn't know which of

the men already on the police force were moles for Capone. Soon they were

shutting down breweries and

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