Gangsters, Mobsters & Outlaws of the 20th Century


Morris Raider – A member of the Purple Gang, Raider was sentenced to 12-15 years in prison in 1930 for murder.

Adam Richetti

Adam Richetti

Adam “Eddie” Richetti (1909-1938) – The son of Italian immigrants, Richetti was born in Oklahoma on August 5, 1909, and by his teens was involved in a criminal lifestyle. He soon hooked up with the likes of Vernon Miller and Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd and began to rob banks. On June 17, 1933, he along with Floyd and Miller, attempted to free their friend, Frank Nash, from authorities as he was being transported to the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth Kansas. As the lawmen were moving Nash to a vehicle at Kansas City’s Union Station terminal, a gunfight erupted, in which two police officers, an FBI agent, and Nash were killed. The shootout is known as the Kansas City Massacre. He was later arrested and executed in the gas chamber of the Missouri State Penitentiary on October 7, 1938.

David “Chippy” Robinson (1897-??)St. Louis, Missouri armed robber and contract killer responsible for many crimes during the Prohibition era. He was a top ranking member of the Egan’s Rats gang.

Ralph Roe – A bank robber, Roe was sent to Alcatraz. Along with a man named Theodore Cole, the pair escaped on December 16, 1937, and were never seen again.


Verne Sankey (1890-1934) – Named America’s first public enemy, Sankey was involved in a Denver, Colorado kidnapping. He committed suicide in the South Dakota State Penitentiary in 1934.

Harry Sawyer – A Barker-Karpis Gang member, Sawyer was sent to Alcatraz.

John Paul Scott – He was the only known Alcatraz inmate to conclusively reach the San Francisco shore by swimming.

Jack Selbin – A member of the Purple Gang, Selbin spent time in Alcatraz.

Ziggy Selbin – A member of the Purple Gang, Selbin was assassinated in October 1929.

Irving Shapiro – A member of the Purple Gang, Shapiro was assassinated in July 1929.

Richard Sam Shockley, Jr. (1909-1948)  – An Oklahoma bank robber and kidnapper, he was captured and sent to Alcatraz. He attempted to escape twice in 1941 and in 1946, in which officers were killed. He was executed for killing the officer on December 3, 1948.

Bugsy Siegel

Bugsy Siegel

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (1906-1947) – A Jewish American mobster, Siegel was known as one of the most “infamous and feared gangsters of his day”. Described as handsome and charismatic, he became one of the first front-page-celebrity gangsters. He was also a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip.

Edward Smith – Committed one of the first bank robberies in the United States on March 19, 1831, stealing $245,000 from the City Bank on Wall Street in New York City.

Walton Spark – An accomplice in John Dillinger’s Indiana jail breakout, Spark spent time in Alcatraz.

Joe Stein – A member of the Purple Gang, Stein spent time in Alcatraz.

Robert Franklin Stroud (1890-1963) – The so-called “Birdman of Alcatraz,” Stroud was a prisoner in Leavenworth, Kansas before being sent to Alcatraz. Sentenced for murder, he actually kept birds only at Leavenworth, despite his nickname. He was transferred to Alcatraz in 1942 where he stayed until 1959 when his health was failing and he was transferred to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He died at the Springfield Center at the age of 73, after 54 years of incarceration, of which 42 were in segregation.

William “Willie” Francis Sutton (1901-1980) – A prolific bank robber, Sutton stole as much as $2 million in his career and spent more than half his adult life in prison. After his release, he died in 1980 at the age of 79.


Ray Terrill – An Oklahoma safe cracker in the 1920s.

Terror Gang – See Dillinger Gang.

Johnny Torrio

Johnny Torrio

Giovanni “Johnny” Torrio; aka: “The Fox,” “Pappa Johnny” (1882-1957) – An Italian-American mobster who helped build the criminal empire known as the Chicago Outfit in the 1920s that would later be inherited by his protege, Al Capone. He died of a heart attack in 1957.

Roger Touhy – Roger Touhy was an Irish-American mob boss and prohibition-era bootlegger from Chicago, Illinois. In the latter part of 1933 and the early part of 1934, the Roger and his gang of criminals were taken out by the FBI, at which time all members were either dead or in prison. After Touhy spent 26 years behind bars, he was released in 1959 and was murdered by the Chicago Outfit less than a month later.


Wilbur “Mad Dog” Underhill, Jr. (1901-1934) – Nationally headlined outlaw of the Depression era, he was the first criminal ever shot by the FBI.


Homer “Wayne” Van Meter (1906-1934) – A bank robber active in the early 20th century, he was a criminal associate of John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.

Paolo Antonio Vaccarelli, aka: Paul Kelly (1876 – 1936) – A Sicilian-American criminal, he founded the Five Points Gang, one of the last dominant street gangs in New York history. He recruited many of the most prominent criminals of his day including Johnny Torrio, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Frankie Yale.


Richard Reese Whittemore (1898-1926) – Leader of a gang of jewel thieves in New York.

Harmon Metz Waley – Convicted of kidnapping, Waley was sent to Alcatraz.

Ted Huron Walters – Arkansas bank robber, Walters was sent to Alcatraz and attempted to escape in August 1843. He was caught before he made it off the island.

Thomas Wareagle – A Native American kidnapper who served time in Alcatraz.


By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated March 2019.

Also See:

Gangsters, Thugs, and Mafia in Hot Springs, Arkansas

La Cosa Nostra – American Mafia

Outlaws Across America

Prohibition in the United States

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