Five Mobsters Arrested Three Decades After the 1978 Lufthansa Heist at JFK Made Famous in the Movie ‘GoodFellas’ (Update: Bonanno Crime Family Suspect Vincent Asaro, Jerome Asaro, Thomas DeFiore, John Rigano & Jack Bonventre Arrested)
Five men believed to be reputed mobsters associated with New York’s Bonnano crime family have been arrested Thursday in connection with the 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK International Airport. The “heist” was made famous in the 1990 movie. ‘GoodFellas’. Huh, I would have thought at this point either those involved in the multi-million dollar heist would have died of old age or been whacked for their involvement in the crime. Many of those who took part in the crime turned up dead to keep their silence. Mastermind of the heist James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke was a member of the the Lucchese crime family and died in prison in 1996. However, it would seem that Jimmy the Gent had some secrets in the basement of his home, now owned by his daughter.
Original VIDEO from NBC of the 1978 Lufthansa Heist
Five men believed to be mobsters were taken into custody on Thursday on charges of murder and other crimes linked to an long-unsolved 1978 Lufthansa heist at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, an FBI spokeswoman said.
The arrests in the three-decades-old crime, made famous by the 1990 film “Goodfellas,” were the result of an FBI search last summer at the New York home of James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke, said FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser.
Burke, the suspected mastermind of the heist, died in prison in 1996 while serving time for the murder of a drug dealer. Robert De Niro played a character based on Burke in the film.
Those arrested were Bonanno family suspects Vincent Asaro, Jerome Asaro, Thomas DeFiore, John Rigano and Jack Bonventre.
File this one under, better late than never … Arrests Made in Cold Case Investigation, Including ’78 Lufthansa Heist.
The investigation looked at numerous crimes, some predating even the airport heist, including a homicide committed in the late 1960s. The federal investigation first became public in June, when F.B.I. agents descended on a home in the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens and began digging in the basement, soon finding human remains, the person familiar with the investigation said.
The property was owned by the daughter of the late James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke, the underworld figure whom investigators have long suspected of masterminding the Lufthansa theft.
One of the men who has been arrested, Vincent Asaro, 78, is expected to face charges in connection to the airport robbery, according to a second person familiar with the investigation. It is not immediately clear what investigators believe to have been his role.
The other men under arrest are not accused of that particular crime.