Case of the Riverville Murder
A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
The three men finished breakfast and are relaxing with coffee. Scott is about to light an Ehrlich Rhodesian pipe, when the telephone interrupts the quietness of the room.
“Do you have him, Mr. Wadsworth?” the voice loudly asked.
“If this is Chief Grant and you are referring to Nathan Goddard, I do indeed. He is presently in a holding cell, all by himself, thinking over his plight. We got him at his bar, sound asleep beside a lovely young woman. As yet, we know nothing about her. In addition, four men were also arrested while sleeping in another room. We are assuming they are all gang members – bodyguard, perhaps. Almost forgot that we found a steel safe that, when they get it open, might turn out to be a treasure cove of insight into the two gangs,” Scott answered.
“Fabulous catch! Grant exclaimed. I have men in good position to nab several of the “Hill” gang when we start part two at seven. From there on, it will be patrolling and spotting to get others. My men are highly motivated to clean this up, so I expect great results. I’ll call you tonight and let you know how it went.”
At precisely 0700, Scott entered the BPD parking area and found the men standing at their cars waiting to go. “OK, let’s make the best of the day and aggressively make some arrests. It is doubtful if we can get them all today, and maybe never. You have been cruising this area for a couple of weeks and should be fairly knowledgeable about who is regularly on the streets. Sergeant Simmons, please assign a couple of men to Goddard’s bar. If needed, we will use it as a holding area for prisoners today and call a “Wagon” to haul them in. That’s it, good luck and be careful.”
The cars, head out in various directions to their assigned neighborhoods, as radios crackle and checks are made to assure all are in communication.
Streets of Southie:
As the cars take up positions, there isn’t much stirring on the streets of Southie, other than, determined by their uniforms, waitresses and nurses, on their way to work. A few cabs are cruising or just sitting near corners, and some men with lunch pails, and wearing overalls, heading out to work.
The officers sit patiently, comparing faces to photos as men walk by when the radios come to life with; “Wadsworth here. I guess these guys aren’t early risers. I know this is tedious work at the moment, but don’t lose concentration.”
The round-up started slowly until 10:00 when the radio announced, “Attention, attention! This is car four parked near the “Butter & Egg” restaurant on C Street, about a block west of Goddard’s building. We have spotted five or six matches to our photos go into the restaurant. Back-up requested. Over.”
“This is Wadsworth, car one. We will be right there. Car two, respond as well. No one move in until we can do so together.”
The cars quietly approached the position from two directions. When in place, Scott instructed, “Car two, cover the rear and be ready to enter if things get hot. The rest will move into the restaurant individually or by twos, beginning with car four. Car one will follow immediately. Try to spot the suspected people and position near them. Do not use deadly force unless absolutely necessary. We don’t know how many uninvolved folks are in there, and there is no time to sort them out. I’ll make an announcement and you all move in. Be careful.”
As Scott entered the restaurant, he quickly determines where his people are before standing and loudly saying, “Attention please. There are several police officers in here to make arrests. Everyone else please remain seated until we are finished with the task.”
At that, all officers stood and took charge of suspects seated nearby, retrieving several handguns and identification before securing them with handcuffs. One man working behind the counter, eases his way to the kitchen to escape out the rear, but is abruptly stopped by the men from car two. As discovered later, he had no affiliation with Goddard, but had warrants against him for home burglary.
The two men assigned to Godard’s place, Detectives Lloyd Qualter and Al Guatino, pull car three in behind the building and enter through the rear door, turn on the lights and hang their jackets in a small check-room.
“Think we should bring in the shotgun?” Guatino asks.
“Plenty of time if we need it. Let’s see how many prisoners they bring us. First, we need to find a place to hold the prisoners. I remember seeing a fair-sized storage room at the right of the bar when we were here earlier. We better have a look. I don’t want anything in there that will prompt someone to try an escape.”
The room is about one-eighth full with paper goods, bar supplies and light bulbs, all packed neatly in one corner. The one window is securely covered with heavy steel mesh imbedded in the framing. Nothing usable as a weapon is discovered. A pad lock with key is found hanging on the inside wall next to the door.
Qualter pockets the lock saying, “I hope there is a hasp on the outside of this door.”
The two detectives sit at one of the tables and check their weapons. Shortly, Lloyd Qualter gets from his chair and walks to the door, takes a quick look around and returns saying, “I sure wish there was an eatery close by. It’s my coffee time.”
“There is a double coffeepot setup on the back of the bar, Guatino noted. I’ll see if there is any coffee back there. I’m sure Mr. Goddard won’t mind donating some to two of Boston’s finest.”
Qualter, sitting at the bar, and Guatino, now in a bar apron standing behind the bar, are enjoying coffee as the sound of a car on the gravel parking lot grabs their attention. Soon, two men come in and sit at a table near the rear. Detectives Qualter and Guatino continue in conversation until one of the men yells, “How’s about a couple of Guinness over here, mate?”
“Comin’ right up,” Guatino says as he removes his clip holsters and sticks his revolver in his belt under the apron.
Qualter slides from the barstool saying, “You’re busy, Al. I’m off to the men’s room and then home. I’ll see you later.” He folds his jacket over his arm to hide his weapon and walks to the men’s restroom in the rear. Guatino pulls the tap handle, fills two glasses, then starts toward the two men at the table. About half way there he realizes the two men are Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne, both high on the state’s wanted list.
“Who in hell are you, Mc Dougal asks. And where is Jake?”
“Jake’s brother-in-law. He’s down with the flu,” Guatino replies.
Reaching for his wallet, Mc Dougal asks, “What’s the tab, pal?”
“I’ll run one for you. You are going to have more, aren’t you?”
At that time, Qualter realizes Guatino is up to something and quietly heads back toward the table; his weapon now in-hand. Guatino, in his peripheral vision, is aware of Qualter approaching and quickly brings his revolver from beneath his apron.
“Hands on the table, gents, and drink your Guinness. I doubt you will have another for quite some time. Oh yes, it’s on Mr. Goddard who, not so incidentally, is currently in a holding cell at BPD Central Division.”
Suddenly, Mc Dougal up-ends the table, turns to make for the rear door, and runs smack into Qualter with his ’38 aimed at Mc Dougal nose. Mc Dougal raises his hands and returns to where John Byrne is up righting the table. Both men are pushed into chairs and have one hand secured to a table leg by handcuffs.
“Now, get you other hand on the table, please. I’ll get you another beer. Seems Mr. Mc Dougal spilled them. Detective Qualter will tell you that you are under arrest and inform you of your rights.”
“Are you blokes Feds, and how do you know us? Byrne askes.”
“No, I’m a Mass. State Detective and Detective Guatino is with the BPD. And, we know all about you and Albert Nunsay, your association with Nathan Goddard and the murder of Clarence Anderson, ATF agent. Also, the attempt at Martin Wolfe, who you know as Sean Keogh, and your plans for a young lass, Kelly Adams. Now shut-up and enjoy your final beers.”
Turning to Guatino, Qualter says, “We should let Wadsworth know who we have here. Radio it in, and bring the shotgun back with you. Also, let him know about the storage room, and that we are ready for prisoners.”
On the radio, Scott replied to Guatino, “That’s great. I was wondering when, or if, we might get those two. We’re on our way to you with a bunch we picked up at the “Butter & Egg”. See you soon.”
Returning to the bar, Guatino, shotgun in the crook of his arm, tells Qualter, “They’re on the way with prisoners.”
“Get up, you two, Qualter tells Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne. Pick up your chairs and head for that door,” indicating the storage room.
He releases them from the handcuffs, leaves the storage room and slips the padlock through the hasp loop just in time to hear the cars enter the gravel parking lot. The prisoners, being ushered into the bar in single file, are met by Guatino and his shotgun, who tells them, “Over against that wall and face it,” directing them with a wave of the shotgun.
Scott walked over next to Guatino and addresses the six men against the wall. “All of you are associates of Nathan Goddard. As such, you are under arrest for racketeering and miscellaneous other crimes. This will all be explained formally in greater detail later today. Now, one by one walk to a table, select a chair, and carry it to that door. You are only six and we are many, and I advise you not to try an escape or anything else foolish.
Immediately, Qualter opens the storage room door and directs each prisoner in, and then secures the hasp behind them with the found padlock.
“Good job, men. Now if we can convince one of these esteemed jailers to get those two pots behind the bar brewing, we’ll take a break before heading out again”
The dolphin, at full speed, is skirting the North American coast five miles out. The Captain, in the wheel house, is elated and congratulates himself on having the foresight to fill the tanks to the brim.
As they clear Montauk Point, with no sight of a Coast Guard vessel, the crewmen begin to consider the chance of getting away without being discovered, and expect an eventless journey to Virginia. The captain cuts to two-thirds speed, sets the automatic steering and turns the wheel-house over to the First Mate. “I’m, going below for some chow and a drink. Call me only in an emergency.”
The men, sprawled around the deck and hatch, are relaxing or playing cards on this sunny and hopeful day.
A couples of miles South-West of the Dolphin’s position, an HC-144A patrol plane is returning to its Coast Guard Air Station from a routine coastal patrol. “There’s something ahead, the spotter tells the pilot as he reaches for his binoculars. By God, I think it’s the Dolphin, but I can’t read it clearly. Move in. Whatever it is, it shouldn’t be at that traffic lane.”
The pilot drops the plane a hundred feet and heads for the sighting.
“Try to get parallel to it so I get a direct look at her.”
Seconds later, the spotter excitedly proclaims, “It is. It’s the Dolphin, just cruising along with the crew relaxing on deck, like the fools didn’t have a care in the world.”
“Good sighting, Chief. We’ll get behind them and call it in to all stations.”
Within minutes, two, 270-foot Famous class, Medium Endurance Cutters are dispatched; The Spencer from Boston and the Northland from Portsmouth, Virginia. The Spencer arrives first, with all guns trained on the Dolphin. The captain stepped on deck from his nap, just in time to see the crew of the Spencer boarding the Dolphin.
The patrol plane continued to make a wide circle over the dolphin as support surveillance. “Here comes another cutter from the south. Looks like the same class, the chief said as he lowered his binoculars, should be here in about an hour and a half, at the speed its going.”
“In case they aren’t watching their radar, we’ll notify the Spencer. Perhaps they don’t need the back-up,” The pilot replied.
The radioman, on the inter-comm, tells the Pilot “Sir, they will wait for the other Cutter, and told us that we can go on home. A good day wouldn’t you say, Lieutenant?”
The Dolphin’s crew is transferred to the Spencer and locked up, An officer and several seamen man the Dolphin for the trip back to Boston. The Dolphin is confiscated by the Coast Guard and the crew is turned over to ATF agents for transport to Portland, where they will be interrogated and arraigned. Several men from the Northland, who assisted the Spencer crew, returned to their cutter, which turned about and set out for Portsmouth.
Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.