Indictment made in famous 'Goodfellas' heist from 1978
Posted: January 23, 2014 - 1:53pm

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 30 years after the crime, a reputed mobster was indicted Thursday in the $6 million Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport that was dramatized in the Martin Scorsese movie "Goodfellas."

The wide-ranging indictment naming Vincent Asaro, his son Jerome and three other defendants alleges murder, robbery, extortion, arson and bookmaking. Asaro was accused of participating in the Dec. 11, 1978, armed robbery — one of the largest cash thefts in American history.

Hooded gunmen invaded the airline's cargo terminal and stole about $5 million in untraceable U.S. currency being returned to the United States from Germany. The cash was never found. Authorities say jewelry worth about $1 million also was taken.

The Asaros, both alleged captains in the Bonanno organized crime family, also were charged together in a 1984 robbery of $1.25 million worth of gold salts from a Federal Express employee. Information on their attorneys was not immediately available.

All five defendants were in custody and awaiting appearances on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn.

The elder Asaro was charged in the murder of Paul Katz, whose remains were found last year during an FBI dig at a house once occupied by James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke. Burke, a late Lucchese crime family associate, planned the Lufthansa heist and was known for burying victims of mob hits in familiar places.

Burke owned Robert's Lounge, the saloon that a fellow Lucchese associate, the late Henry Hill, described as Burke's private cemetery. "Jimmy buried over a dozen bodies ... under the bocce courts," Hill wrote in his book, "A Goodfella's Guide to New York."

Burke inspired Robert De Niro's character in "Goodfellas," which was based on Nicholas Pileggi's book "Wiseguy" and told the story of Hill's time in the mob and subsequent cooperation with law enforcement.

The indictment alleges that in December 1969, Asaro "together with others ... did knowingly and intentionally cause the death of Paul Katz," but provides no further details.

The Latest

Breaking NewsNazi flags confiscated, seller removed from stand at Bloomsburg Fair

UPDATED 1:34pm - BLOOMSBURG — A picture of a stand selling Nazi flags next to...

Front PageEx-BU student regrets beating

23-year-old paying victim’s medical bills, owes $300 fine in plea bargain

Front PageHerb hobby grows into passion

Bloom Fair’s oldest worker, 92, has been rooted to post since 1980

Front PageBedridden man ruled guilty of harassing

Patient fined $305 for acts ‘with no defenses’

Front PageShow leaves ‘em cackling

Robo-chickens charm with barnyard humor