9. The Murder That Began to Undo Murder Incorporated
The lethal violence that lurked within Lepke Buchalter was not evident from a casual glance. Unlike many mob bosses who liked to wear their toughness on their sleeves, Buchalter was a soft spoken and quiet man, who preferred to listen instead of talk. He was highly regarded by his subordinates, who were exceptionally loyal to him because he treated them exceptionally well. He generously compensated them for their services, and did not stint on the personal touches. He socialized with and treated his underlings to entertainments, took them to boxing matches and other events, and even on winter cruises.
Buchalter’s downfall began with the 1936 hit on a Brooklyn candy store owner, Joseph Rosen. Buchalter had shaken him down out of a garment factory, and he now suspected that he had turned snitch and was in contact with the authorities. The Rosen murder went unsolved for some time, but two months later, Buchalter was convicted of anti-trust violations. He went on the lam while out on bail, and was sentenced in absentia to two years. Albert Anastasia, head of Murder Incorporated’s Italian hitmen, took over as overall boss of Murder Incorporated.