The whereabouts of Joey "The Clown" Lombardo remained a mystery Thursday almost a month after the federal indictment charging him with gambling, extortion and murder. As the F-B-I conducted a nationwide manhunt, mob investigator and organized crime expert John Flood offered a theory or two about where the reputed Chicago mob boss might be hiding.
"I believe he's probably still in Chicago and will probably surface sooner or later," Flood said. "He's too well known." Flood said there's a high probability Lombardo's on the run with outfit pal and fellow fugitive Frank "The German" Schweihs.
"Frankie Schweihs lived down by Miami and he's still on the run," said Flood. "Schweihs and Lombardo were very close. They both disappeared when the indictment came down. I wouldn't be surprised if they're sitting somewhere having some linguine and clams."
Lombardo, Schweihs and nearly a dozen other reputed crime family members were indicted in Chicago April 25. The nine-count, 41-page indictment charged 14 reputed mobsters and mob associates as part of a case code named "Operation Family Secrets." According to prosecutors, the murders included the 1986 hit on Tony and Michael Spilotro dramatized in the movie "Casino." Indicted with Lombardo were brothers Frank Calabrese, 68, and Nicholas Calabrese, 62, and brothers Michael Marcello, 55, and James Marcello, 62.
On May 3 a letter with a Chicago postmark was delivered to the office of Lombardo's attorney directed at U-S District Judge James Zagel who is presiding over the case involving the 76-year old Lombardo. Lombardo requested a $50,000 recognizance bond and a trial separate from the other defendants as conditions for his surrender. Zagel said he could not guarantee the conditions and issued a fugitive bench warrant for Lombardo.
The correspondence was sent to the F-B-I Lab in Quantico, Virginia where evidence technicians examined the handwritten letter for fingerprints and any other clues that might help narrow their search for Lombardo.
"I am not hiding to avoid the charges against me," Lombardo wrote. "I am no part of a enterprise or racketering...have no part in the poker machines, extorcinate loans, gambling and what ever else the indictment says," the letter stated. "About the 18 murders in the indictment, I want you to know that I was not privy before the murders, during the murders, and after the murders, and to this present writing to you," Lombardo wrote.
Flood offered this advice to law enforcement - don't underestimate the aged Lombardo. "He's as tough today as he was 30 years ago. He might be a little slower in step but he's tough."
It's only a matter of time said Flood until Lombardo is captured or surrenders.
Flood is one of the foremost experts on organized crime, is a member of the Chicago Crime Commission and is a former police officer.
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