A key figure in a legendary jewel heist attributed to the Chicago mob is back in custody today, rekindling the mystery which first made worldwide headlines three decades ago.
Joseph "Jerry" Scalisea mob enforcer who served a lengthy prison sentence for the theft of the 45 carat Marlboro diamond from a London jewelry store, was picked up last night. The government says details of his arrest will be made public at a hearing later today.
Thirty years ago, following the spectacular daytime jewelry store robbery where nearly 4 million dollars in jewels were taken, Scalise and an accomplice, Arthur "The Genius" Rachel, were arrested on a return flight from London. But the diamond, valued at nearly a million dollars, has never been recovered.
A mob accomplice said it was his understanding that Scalise had simply mailed the famous diamond back to the United States before boarding his return flight from London. Local mob watchers have long suspected the gem was cut up and sold.
Scalise made news again in 1989 when bodies began to be unearthed on property near his home near Argonne national laboratory in the far western suburbs. Federal investigators carried out extensive investigations of the "mob burial ground," but Scalise was never charged.
Most recently, Scalise served as a consultant on the John Dillinger biopic, "Public Enemies".
At the time of the movie's release last year, director Michael Mann defended his employment of such a notorious criminal, telling the LA Times he wanted to know what it was like inside a robber's psyche.
"Jerry is an armed robber," Mann said. "He once stole the Marlboro Diamond which was as big as a grapefruit! He's a real Chicago guy."