Why did President Roosevelt use Al Capone’s car?

| David Lewis | War

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On December 8th, 1941, a day after the notorious attack on pearl harbor, the secret service had been tasked to secure President Roosevelt (FDR) on his historical drive to Capitol Hill to declare war on Japan. 

At that time the director of the US secret service was one Frank J. Wilson, a former agent of the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Internal Revenue, most notably known for his part in the prosecution of Chicago mobster Al Capone in 1931.

Wilson was very concerned. Will the Japanese make an attempt at the president’s life? He couldn’t take any chance and determined that the president must be driven in a secure armored car.  But, upon entering WW2, under USA federal law a presidential car could not be purchased for more than $750. Needless to say that even back then no armored car could have been bought for such an amount.

So Wilson decided to use the infamous gangster׳s armored Cadillac to drive Roosevelt on that historic day.

President Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan

 

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And for all of Capone’s-enthusiasts, here are some more facts:

Alphonse “Al” Gabriel Capone was born in Brooklyn to a family who immigrated from Italy in 1899. He had seven brothers and two sisters.

Al engaged in crime at a young age and was a member of two youth gangs that operated in Brooklyn. At the age of 14, he left high school and began working for Frankie Yale’s who was part of the Masseria crime family. He worked as a bartender and as a bouncer at Yale’s club. After insulting a fellow gang member’s (Frank Gluccio) sister, the latter cut him in the face – giving him the nickname ‘Scarface’.

In 1918 he married Mae Coughlin and the same year their son Albert ‘Sonny’ was born. The happy family moved to Long Island where Capone began working as a contract hitman for Yale. After getting into a conflict with a rival gang, Yale sent him to Chicago till things cool down.

In Chicago Capone was given a junior role in Johnny Torio’s criminal organization, but Torio that recognized his skills quickly promoted him. Within less than 4 years Capone was appointed Torio’s deputy and was entrusted with most of Chicago’s gambling, alcohol and prostitution business.

After rival criminals attempted to assassinate Torio and seriously injured him, he returned to Italy and bequeathed his business to Capone.

Years of effort to put Capone behind bars finally bore fruit in 1931. Capone’s men tried to bribe and threaten the jury, but this was discovered by government agents that made sure the jury was completely replaced. Capone was convicted on five counts (out of 23), and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The infamous mobster was released in 1939 and died of cardiac arrest due to syphilis in 1947 in his Miami Beach home.

And for all of Capone’s-enthusiasts, here are some more facts:

Alphonse “Al” Gabriel Capone was born in Brooklyn to a family who immigrated from Italy in 1899. He had seven brothers and two sisters.

Al engaged in crime at a young age and was a member of two youth gangs that operated in Brooklyn. At the age of 14, he left high school and began working for Frankie Yale’s who was part of the Masseria crime family. He worked as a bartender and as a bouncer at Yale’s club. After insulting a fellow gang member’s (Frank Gluccio) sister, the latter cut him in the face – giving him the nickname ‘Scarface’.

In 1918 he married Mae Coughlin and the same year their son Albert ‘Sonny’ was born. The happy family moved to Long Island where Capone began working as a contract hitman for Yale. After getting into a conflict with a rival gang, Yale sent him to Chicago till things cool down.

In Chicago Capone was given a junior role in Johnny Torio’s criminal organization, but Torio that recognized his skills quickly promoted him. Within less than 4 years Capone was appointed Torio’s deputy and was entrusted with most of Chicago’s gambling, alcohol and prostitution business.

After rival criminals attempted to assassinate Torio and seriously injured him, he returned to Italy and bequeathed his business to Capone.

Years of effort to put Capone behind bars finally bore fruit in 1931. Capone’s men tried to bribe and threaten the jury, but this was discovered by government agents that made sure the jury was completely replaced. Capone was convicted on five counts (out of 23), and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The infamous mobster was released in 1939 and died of cardiac arrest due to syphilis in 1947 in his Miami Beach home.