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Excerpt for Harry Fleischer Detroit Purple Gang Mobster by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Harry Fleischer

Detroit Purple Gang Mobster

Published by Robert Grey Reynolds Jr. at Smashwords

Copyright 2018 by Robert Grey Reynolds Jr.

On Wednesday, January 18, 1950 fugitive Detroit Purple Gang member Harry Fleischer, (August 25, 1901-December 1985), (also Fleisher), was arrested by four Federal agents while he sunned himself in Pompano Beach, Florida. FBI agent Everette Crawford Carson (1910-1980) of Miami described Fleischer as one of the most dangerous and badly wanted criminals in the United States. Taken into custody, he was accompanied by Ida Bernice Jackson (1918-1979) of Detroit. The daughter of Frank Jackson and Alice Watson Jackson, Bernice had married Joe Kalvaitis on November 9, 1935.

The Purple Gang’s trademark was kidnapping. The organization was also linked closely with alcohol and beer rackets. Formed in Detroit during the 1920s, the criminal organization was comprised mostly of Jewish immigrants. Most became involved in bootlegging and hijacking. Other lucrative moneymaking ventures included extortion, prostitution, narcotics, gambling, theft and murder.

Harry and Louis Fleischer led the Purple Gang. Its members also included Joe Stein, Jack Selbin (1892-), Sam Fleischer, Harry Keywell (1887-), and Irving Milberg. Despite its increasing notoriety the Purple Gang was never formally organized with a steady group of members. It drew its members from the Oakland Sugar House Gang, i.e. Romanian-born Harry Altman (1891-1949) and Harry Keywell, and the original Purple Gang, i.e. Harry Fleischer and Henry Shore. Soon after World War I the Sugar House Gang was headed up by Fleischer, Henry Harry Shorr, Milberg, Altman, and Morris and Phil Raider. Shorr was in charge of financing. Russian native Keywell immigrated to the U.S. in 1906. In 1910 he was a lodger at a Winder Street residence in Detroit.


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