Some of the Biggest Crimes in History took place right here in New Jersey
Rightly or wrongly New Jersey has always been portrayed as a haven for crime and corruption. This portrayal yielded two major HBO series Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos. It’s pretty tough to argue the case that New Jersey is a place filled with lily fields and Julie Andrews running down the meadow signing The Sound of Music. We’ve certainly had our share of crime here in The Garden State but every other state can claim the same. It’s just that here in New Jersey we do crime in a big way.
There was Aaron Burr, the sitting Vice President of the United States, and Alexander Hamilton the former Secretary of the Treasury, duel which at the time was outlawed in the northern US. Held in Weehawken, NJ the draw didn’t end well for either gentleman. Burr’s bullet hit Hamilton, Hamilton’s bullet hit a branch behind Burr’s head and Burr was rowed across the Hudson immediately after prompting him to be indicted for murder in both New Jersey and New York.
There was the unique and terrible Lindbergh baby kidnapping. The kidnapping of the 20-month-old son of famous aviator Col. Charles Lindberg and his with Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The baby was kidnapped around 9:00 pm on March 1, 1932, from the nursery on the second floor of the Lindbergh’s home in Hopewell New Jersey.
A series of ransom notes back and forth, mud prints at the scene, interrogation of those close to the crime, and involvement from the New Jersey State Police, the Governor, and many politicians. The baby was accidentally found about 4 miles from the Lindbergh home in Mount Rose New Jersey, Mercer County.
An autopsy suggested that the baby was injured in the kidnapping and may have hit his head on a ladder rung and was killed instantly. After years of searching for the killers, the evidence landed and pointed to Bruno Richard Hauptmann from the Bronx. .After years of appeals and new trials, he was finally convicted and sentenced to die by electrocution. On April 6, 1936, at 8:47 Bruno Richard Hauptman was electrocuted here in New Jersey.
Enoch L “Nucky” Johnson. Nucky Johnson was the basis for the “fictional” character in the HBO Series Boardwalk Empire. The character played by Steve Buscemi in the HBO series is not too far from the truth about the real Nucky.
Nucky Johnson was the political boss that ran Atlantic City and Atlantic County, New Jersey. He was a sheriff of Atlantic County, a crime boss that ruled south Jersey and controlled Atlantic City and Atlantic County from the 1910s until his conviction of tax evasion in 1941.
He was prominent in handling prohibition; he also had strong ties to gambling and prostitution. There wasn’t a street, a parade, a building, or a school that would be built in Atlantic City or Atlantic County without the blessing of Nucky Johnson. He stood up and demanded respect from the New York crime families who frequently would test the strength of Nucky’s reach.
He became successful and was instrumental in smoothing the tensions with the black neighborhoods of Atlantic City. He was instrumental in getting the blacks out to vote, albeit for his designated candidate.
Nucky was a tall, strong man standing just over 6 feet tall, always dressed impeccably, and wore a fresh red carnation in his lapel every day. This was well represented in the Boardwalk Empire series. He was a living legend, men feared him, women wanted him and Atlantic City became stronger as a result of his stronghold.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.