Coppola Held Uncooperative in Questioning—Police Pay Call on Costello
Anthony Coppola, confidante and occasional chauffeur for Al-bert Anastasia, New York gang-ster who was killed by two gun-men on Friday, was jailed for vagrancy early this ..mcrning. Coppola, cleacribed.–by. soul. ,as Ana,stasia’s bodykuvd ,and by Chief of Detectives Jam6 B. Leggett as • his “messezikeib, boy,” was booked at 1 :10 A. M. at the West Fifty-fourth Street station. The specific charge was that he “has no visible means of support.”
The police would make no of-ficial comment on the reason for the arrest. It was known, however, that Coppola had been “uncooperative” in many hours. of questioning. Goes to Court Today Anastasia, the former head. of Murder, Inc., gang of kill-for-hire hoodlums, was shot dear!l Friday morning in a barber chair at the Park Sheraton Hotel. Coppola first surrendered to theftpolice at 6:30 P. M. Friday.. He was questioned all Friday night and yesterday morning until 5 o’clock, At that time he was permitted to leave, but was brought in again at 2 P. M. The questioning continued through yesterday afternoon and last night .until his arrest. He will appear in Week-end Court today on the vagrancy charge. Coppola, who was near the hotel when the shooting oc-curred, has denied that he had an appointment with the slain gangster.
The police yesterday pressed a wide search for the two gun-men. Detectives were deployed throughout the . city hunting leads. About sixty persons were questioned at the police station and about 100 more at their homes. Other Cities Alerted Frank Costello, the gambler, was questioned about the Ana-stasia slaying last night for the first time. He threw no light on the case, according to Dep-uty Chief Inspector Edward W. Byrnes. Inspector Byrnes, . in command of Manhattan West detectives and in direct charge of the investigation, called on Costello with Deputy Inspector Frederick M. Lusser at Costel-lo’s home, 115 Central Park West. After the questioning, which started at 6:15 P. M. and lasted’ for fifteen minutes,
Inspector Byrnes said that Costello had “passed no comment regarding the shooting.” Earlier, Chief Leggett summed up the status of the police investigation in this way: “No motive. No prog-ress.” The police In other cities were asked to notify authorities here if they thought they had any information that could lead to the solution of the Anastasia murder. ‘ Checking the pistols used by the two killers, which were re-covered after the slaying, de-tectives learned yesterday that one of them had been purchased in 1934 in Evanston, Ill., by a Gary, Ind., business concern. This fact supported an opin-ion held by some policemen here that the Anastasia killers were professional gunmen imported from the Midwest. If New York detectives had an answer to the slaying of the one-time “chief executioner” for the now defunct gang known as Murder, Inc., they were keeping it from the public. •
Meanwhile, the body of the slain racketeer lay yesterday at the funeral chapel of Andrew Torregrossa & Sons, Inc., 1305 Seventy-ninth Street, Brooklyn. ‘ Only members of his family and a few friends visited the mor-tuary.
Although Anastasia was a racketeer will be buried at 10:30 A, M. tomorrow in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, which is nonsectarian. The slain racketeer had lived in. a $75,000 home in Fert Lee, N. J. , Andrew Torregrossa Jr. of the mortuary said that arrange-ments for the funeral had been made by the dead man’s broth-ers Anthony (Tough Tony), and the Rev, Salvatore Anastasio, a priest. (Both Tony, a Brook-lyn waterfront union leader, and Albert used the name of Anastasia, rather than Anas-tasio.) Mr. Torregrossa said that Father Anastasio had not ap-plied to either the Brooklyn or New Jersey diocesan •authorities for masses or a consecrated burial for his brother. Albert Anastasia was one of the top figures in the nation’s criminal hierarchy, but he rested yesterday in a simple, maroon-colored steel coffin. He was dressed ‘in his favorite dark-blue business suit, a white shirt with a blue tie and black shoes. Red rosary beads were wrapped around his right hand, which was clasped on his left wrist that had been struck by two bullets.
There were only a few floral wreaths in the mortuary, Although the police dis-claimed any knowledge of the motive for the’ Anastasia mur-der, some observers contended that it might lead to a shake-up in the top echelon of the under-world in the New York area. They pointed out that it had followed the abortive assassina-tion attempt on Costello and they expressed the belief that the two shootings were Con-nected. They said that younger men were probably trying to supplant older gang leaders. Reuters reported from Bar-cheliajtaly, that Raffaele Ana-stasia, who was described as a brother of Albert, had been at-tacked in that village on Fri-day. However, members of the racketeer’s family denied here yesterday that the victim of the assault in Italy was related to them.