Prosecutors have disclosed new details of the infamous 1978 Lufthansa Robbery some of which will be used as evidence against Vincent Asaro. The former Bonanno crime family captain is facing an impressive lineup of mafia rats including former Bonanno boss and underboss Joseph Massino and Salvatore Vitale along with former Gambino family associate Anthony Ruggiano Jr and his own cousin Gaspare Valenti.
According to recently released court documents Asaro kicked up an attache case filled with jewelry and gold to Massino who was his mob captain at the time of the heist as tribute. Massino will take the stand against Asaro to confirm the tribute payment with Sal Vitale testifying that he saw Massino in possession of the gold and jewels and that he was given a gold chain from the heist.
Ruggiano Jr will testify that his father Gambino family mobster Anthony “Fat Andy” Ruggiano helped Jimmy Burke and Asaro fence some of the stolen jewels from the robbery. Valenti claims his share was glommed by Asaro leading him to wear a wire and secretly record his cousin ranting about his participation in the heist. During a taped conversation Asaro said “We never got our right money, what we were supposed to get, we got f—ed all around, that f—ing Jimmy (Burke) kept everything.”
According to prosecutors Asaro blew his nearly $1 million dollar payoff from the robbery gambling at the racetrack. Each member of the crew was supposed to receive approx $750,000 for their part although most either were killed before they could collect or were just never paid according to the new court documents.
A roster of deceased participants in the 1978 Lufthansa heist have been released which include Jimmy Burke, Angelo Sepe, Burke’s son Frank, Tommy Desimone, Joseph “Joe Buddah” Manri, Danny Rizo, Louis “Fat Louie” Carfora, and Anthony Rodriguez. Asaro is likely facing life in prison if he is convicted on all charges in his upcoming trial. The Lufthansa robbery has long been a part of New York mafia history and lore.