Riverville Murder - Chapter 18
Case of the Riverville Murder
A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack
The patrol plane continues 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.
Men from the Northland, who assisted the Spencer crew, returned to the Northland, which turned about and set out for home; Portsmouth Virginia.
The Dolphin is confiscated by the Coast Guard at Boston and the crew is turned over to ATF agents for transport to Portland, where they will be interrogated and arraigned.
Chief Grant and his crew are making good progress as they stealthily approach suspects on the street, in restaurants and in homes.
One SPD detective is following two suspects walking, as his partner follows in a car. Suddenly, the suspects begin arguing loud enough for the detective to hear one say, “Geeze, Gus. There’s a meeting at the Carter Street warehouse this afternoon. We can’t possibly go to the track. What are you, crazy?”
“Oh yea, I forgot about that. Guess our ass would be in a sling, or worse, if we missed it.”
The detective following, signals his partner to pull over, as he speeds up to get close to the suspects. The car pulls to the curb, and the detective gets out about six feet in front of the suspects, weapon pressed flat to his leg. As the following officer grabs their shoulders, the other brings his weapon into view and proclaims, “You two are under arrest for gang related activities. Hands behind your back, please.”
The two are transported to the station and booked. Then, the detectives go to the communications room and call Chief Grant about the warehouse meeting.
“We might just clean up this operation with a raid on that warehouse. What do you think, Sergeant?” Chief Grant asks his state police partner.
“Yes Sir, I would say you’re right on with that; at least all the top men will be there. Minus Goddard, of course. I feel safe in saying, anyone who isn’t at this meeting is at the bottom of the pile in this gang. Furthermore, whoever is left over will, more than likely, be heading for parts unknown when the news gets out.”
Grant, being relieved at the prospect or a big haul, laughs as he says, “I sure hope you are right, Sarge. I’ve been trying to get a rope around this bunch of bastards for too long now.”
The rest of the morning things are slow for Scott and his crew. His men are getting anxious just sitting and looking at faces as the pass by. It’s beginning to appear that the word might be out, and people are in hiding.
Scott, noticing the men in his car fidgeting, gets on the radio. “We are getting nowhere this way. Car two, take the street to the north and car four, the street to the south. I’ll take this street. Let’s get out and walk, checking any bars, pubs, restaurants, pool halls, gyms, or any establishment you find that can be a place to hang out. Don’t bunch up and be careful and as inconspicuous as possible. You have all been issued the limited range radios. Make sure they are all on the corrected channel. Don’t hesitate to use them should the need arise.”
Two hours later, the results of the tactic are less than gratifying, having bagged only two suspects in a pool hall.
Scott retrieves his short-range radio. “OK, let’s bring it in. We only have two, so meet at Goddard’s bar. We’ll put two more away and see if we can extract any information from the prisoners.”
Shortly after arriving at the bar, Scott directs Detective Qualter to bring John Byrne from the storage room.
“Over here Byrne, and sit down,” Scott demands.
While Qualter cuffs Byrne to the table leg, Scotts says, “Do you have any idea how much trouble you are in, Mister Byrne? You will be arraigned on one count of accessory to murder, one of attempted murder and conspiracy to comment another murder of a young lady. Oh yes, illegal arms trafficking and racketeering too.”
“Yea, yea, your stooge here already told me. But I’m telling you, I had nothing to do with murders. That was a guy named Albert Nunsay, on Mister Goddard’s orders.”
“So, you say, however we have proof that you set up the whole thing, Scott replied. Now, I believe the word is out and people are in hiding, and I want you to tell me where. Cooperation with the authorities is in your best interest.”
Leaning back in his chair, Byrne smiles smugly at Scott, “I don’t think so. Sure and, you’re bluffing, and I can’t see how you can possibly have any proof of anything about me. I’m too smart for you guys.”
“Oh really, I’m glad you think so. You have a big mouth, Scott replies. I have a witness who will testify regarding conversations you’ve had with Nunsay, and between you and Mister Mc Dougal, mentioning Kelly Adams and two ATF agents. You know, one of your big mistakes was not knowing the Miss Adams grandfather is the Riverville Chief of Police and her uncle is a Detective Sergeant. We’ve been on Goddard and his bunch since a couple of days after Miss Adams overheard the conversation between Hurley and Sullivan at the All Erin Pub, and the body of Clarence Anderson was discovered in Riverville by Patrolman Francis Hendersen, who, by the way is Kelly’s cousin.”
The front legs of John Byrne’s chair thump loudly on the floor, as he returns to an upright position. His face is pale and his mouth hangs open in surprise. As hard as he tries, he cannot muster-up a rebuke, or even a faint comment. John Byrne sits, shoulders hunched and head down, in realization that he is in a very bad spot.
“OK, Byrne, that’s it for now, but you better think heavily about cooperation, and what the lack of it can mean to your future. Take him back to his friends, Sergeant Qualter.”
“Hold on there, Byrne pleads. It’s not that I think you have anything on us; and I certainly wouldn’t want it know that I’m tellin’ you, but there is a private social club over near the beach. It has some sort of Italian name out front, but isn’t. Goddard owns it. You might take a look there. And, it’s hopein’ I am, you’ll remember, when the trial comes ‘round, it was I who told you.”
As Qualter returns Byrne to the storage room. Scott beckons to Sgt. Allan Rockford.
“Allan, take a ride along the beach. See if you can find a building with a sign indicating an Italian Social Club. Look around and determine if there is any activity there. Be as inconspicuous as possible.”
As Rockford leaves the building, Scott has Jerry McDougal brought out of the storage room, and follows the same line with him as with Byrne. McDougal wasn’t near as flippant, and revealed information about Goddard’s gambling empire and minor prostitution activity. He obviously had little knowledge of gun running, and put the murders on Nunsay’s head.
From then on, it was a steady procession from the storage, room and back. Most of the questioned are errand boys and bag men for Goddard’s protection racket. One is allotted to keeping the “girls” in line and two men, suspected of being bodyguards, kept silent. Thinking of bodyguards, Scott made a mental note to talk to the four men captured with Goddard at the bar.
Scott is drinking more coffee and conversing with Henry Reichmann when Allan Rockford returns from reconnoitering the Italian Club.
“I found the club right on the beach road, a mile from here, but saw no activity. A few lights are on in the building, but the place isn’t fully lit, like it would be if open. Looks like you’ll need a specific warrant if you want to look inside.”
“You’re right, Allan. Find Captain Callan, please.”
“Captain, I’d like you to take charge of these prisoners, please. I have to get a warrant in a hurry. If you can call for a wagon and haul these guys to the BPD Central Division for holding, we might be able to wind this up today. Have everyone else remain here until I get back.”
“Doesn’t sound like a problem, if I can take Sergeant Simmons away from you?”
“Sure, he’s yours anyway. We will double up where needed.” Scott replies, and heads for the pay phone on the wall next to the hat-check room. He digs into his pockets for change and call Judge Millstone.
After several minutes, the judge’s receptionist comes back on the line and announces, “The judge will speak to you now. I’ll connect you.
“Wadsworth, how is it coming?” the judge’s voice booms over the phone.
“Very well, sir. I’m afraid I have to bother you for one more warrant. There is a social club called simply, “Italian Club”. One of the gang members tells us, after considerable persuasion, it is no such thing. In fact, it is owned by Nathan Goddard and a probable hiding place for his lieutenants. An immediate search warrant seems in order, sir. It is becoming apparent that the word of the roundup has somehow leaked.”
“Your request is quite out of the ordinary, Wadsworth. Yet, under the extraordinary circumstances, I will comply with your request. You can pick up the warrant in an hour or so. Good job, and good luck.”
As Sergeant Allan Rockford stood with him, Scott informed Captain Callan, Sergeant Simmons and Henry Reichmann of the new warrant.
“Captain Callan, forget about hauling the prisoners away. Give the job to a couple of the BPD officers. You and Simmons still take command here. You’ve heard Allan describe the Italian Club building and surroundings. Form a plan for invading the building. We don’t know who, if anyone, is in there, so stress being ready for resistance. Use as many access points as possible and coordinate your entrance. Allan and I are leaving to pick up the warrant. Do not move on the building until we return, However, send a couple of men to keep an eye on it. I can call them back on the limited distance radio when I get here.”
“You’ve got it, Chief Investigator,” Callan said, as he feigned a salute.
On the way to pick up the warrants, the portable bag phone Allan keeps in the car rang loudly. “This is Wadsworth. Who’s calling?”
It’s Mic, Scott. Boy, am I glad I got you – thought you would be near that funny bag phone. The town is buzzing. Everyone knows about all the cop activity. Even here in the shop, people are commenting on it; some for and some against it. If you are having trouble finding people, this is why.”
“I also overheard comments about a social club on the beach and a Rugby Club facility near the end of Telegraph Street. Guess they play at Thompson Park. The consensus is, gang members are probably hiding at one or both places.”
“Thanks for thinking of us, Mic. We know about the Italian Club, but haven’t heard anything about the Rugby facility. Your call is very timely. We are on our way to get a search warrant for the Italian club; maybe I can get one for the Rugby Club spot. Don’t suppose you know the number on Telegraph Street.”
“No, sorry. Good luck, Scott. Call me when this is over. I’ll be interested in how it all turns out.”
Scott immediately got the mobile operator and gave her Judge Millstone’s number.
“Judge Millstone, I’m very sorry to bother you again, but I have received a tip that there are another place Goddard’s gang members are possibly hiding. I’m hoping you can add it to the Italian Club warrant, or issue a second one for the Rugby Club building on Telegraph Street, South Boston.”
“Wadsworth, I’m not going to say it not a bother. I’m so deeply into this action, that bother can no longer be considered. The cause is good, and I have a lot of respect for you and the man who raised you. I want you to remember just how busy I am and make this the end. If necessary, use your initiative and hope you can dig up enough, on whom ever it is, to make an arrest stick. You lawyers sometime carry the word of the law too far. I’ll add it to the Italian Club Warrant. Good bye.”
“We have it, Allan. And I just received the nicest dressing-down of my life. I think the judge is really behind us on this one.”
“I’m not sure getting that last warrant and executing it was worthwhile. Scott says, as he sits at a table drinking coffee with Henry Reichmann, Captain Callan, Detective Sgt. Mark Simmons and Detective Sgt. Allan Rockford. What did we net? Sixteen bottom rung gang members; numbers runners, extortion collectors and hard-fisted bullies. Not a lieutenant in the bunch.”
“At the least, we cleaned up the streets, Captain Callan added. Goddard can’t function without them, even if he were free.”
“You are absolutely correct, but we don’t have a single lieutenant. The bums we grabbed are a dime a dozen. Goddard’s next in command can be back in action in a couple of days. We’ll have to exert some real pressure on the people we have in custody and find out just who they are and where they might be holed-up; even if we have to take some extreme measures.”
All at the table grew quiet, as if contemplating the situation.
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
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