Wednesday, March 11, 2009
After growing up in the Italian slums of Red Hook, Brooklyn, Al Capone briefly worked as an accountant in Baltimore. But in 1921 when his old friend from New York, Johnny "The Fox" Torrio, called and offered him work in his Chicago crime syndicate, Capone jumped at the opportunity.
The advent of Prohibition created opportunities for enterprising and intelligent men to make a fortune in the underworld, and Capone was just that type of man. Upon his arrival in Chicago in 1921, the future gang leader was first tested by Torrio with street-level enforcement work at the Four Deuces and organization of a prostitution enterprise in Rogers' Park. But with his business acumen and willingness to employ violence, Capone quickly climbed the corporate ladder, and he became Torrio's closest business partner within a year.
It was at this point that Al Capone first came to the attention of the Chicago police department, when, intoxicated, he slammed one of Torrio's cars into a parked taxi cab at the corner of Randolph and Wabash, pictured above. The story in the Tribune, reprinted below in full, tells what happened next:
Capone was right. Torrio's "pull" within the police department, as evidenced by his phony sheriff's badge, kept Capone out of prison. Needless to say, if Capone had been sentenced for his DWI in 1922, the entire course of the 1920s in Chicago would have been different.