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When you see something, say something – the fall of the Cleveland mafia

Sketch drawing of Ray Ferritto, who along with an associate assassinated Danny Greene in a car bombing in 1977. Used with credit given in blog post when you see something say something.

When you see something say something – How the Cleveland mafia broke down

The young couple was driving to their art gallery in a suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio.

And then they heard the sound – a loud explosion.

Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections

Abnormal, but it could have been anything.

And then they saw the nearby Plymouth driving slowly, then speeding up.

Not strange by itself, but a man driving and another in the back seat with the front seat unoccupied? 

And why was the man holding an antenna?

A chauffeur driving an executive in an inexpensive Plymouth?

That didn’t make sense.

The young couple drove on to the east towards the gallery, not tying the loose ends together until they heard the news.

On the afternoon of October 6th, 1977, Danny Greene, a long-time thorn in the side of the Cleveland mafia, was killed in a car bomb explosion.

That’s when it dawned on the young woman, who, coincidentally, was a sketch artist that maybe the two men in the car were connected to the loud explosion.

So she called her father, a policeman.

When you see something, say something.

Her father encouraged her to sketch her recollection of the men in the vehicle.

Credit Bob Friedrick – police sketch of Ray Ferritto by Debbie Spoth

And she did.

When the photograph of the driver was taken to the Cleveland police department, the detectives immediately recognized the driver, Ray Ferritto, an alleged hitman for the Cleveland mafia.

The eventual case against Ferritto and his accomplice in the car developed quickly, eventually leading to the unraveling of the Cleveland mafia’s operations.

It’s unlikely the case against Ferritto, who turned state’s witness and testified against high ranking members of the Cleveland and New York mob organization, would have been closed as quickly had it not been for someone who saw something and said something.

Want to learn more about the Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia?

My favorite resource to read about organized crime in Cleveland, Ohio is Rick Porrello.

Rick Porrello has written extensively on the history of the Cleveland mafia, and his book Kill the Irishman was turned into a motion picture featuring Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, with Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken.

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