March 17, 2021 – Veteran Bruno-Scarfo wiseguy Vincent (Beeps) Centorino died last month of natural causes at the age of 90 in New Jersey. For a short period of time in the early 2000s, Beeps Centorino ran the Philadelphia mafia’s North Jersey crew. He was nailed for racketeering by the feds in 2001 and sent to prison for five years. When he died on February 13, he was living in Lebanon, New Jersey.
Centorino was born in Brooklyn, but grew up in Newark, joining the Bruno-Scarfo crime family in 1990. Per FBI records, Centorino operated out of Newark’s East Side Social Club and participated in the murder conspiracy surrounding the December 1996 gangland slaying of one of his Jersey skipper predecessors, Joe (The Nodder) Sodano.
Sodano was clipped for not responding to then Philly don Ralph Natale’s orders to “report” to him and put his rackets “on record” with the Natale regime, which lasted from 1994 until 1999. Natale gave the murder contract to Pete (The Crumb) Caprio, who had a bodyguard of his carry out the job and shoot Sodano to death behind the wheel of his car.
Natale became a witness for the government in the fall of 1999. Caprio subsequently took over as captain of the Newark-based crew, until he flipped in the spring of 2000. With Caprio entering the Witness Protection Program, Beeps Centorino was made capo of the Bruno-Scarfo clan’s North Jersey regime. He only lasted a year in the post before he went down in a bust and was doing a nickel-piece in the pen.
Upon his release from prison in 2006, Centorino was demoted to a soldier in the Philly crime family and had trouble scraping together a living as an everyday button man in the New Millennium. Taped conversations of Bruno-Scarfo mobsters chatting in 2010 in a New Jersey Italian bistro caught talk of Centorino being a “brokester,” unable to generate “even three cents” for reputed current Newark crew boss Joe (Scoops) Licata and resorting to “selling cakes out of the trunk of his car.”
Rumors floated in East Coast mob circles back in the late 1990s and early 2000s that The Sopranos creator David Chase, a New Jersey native, named a character in his groundbreaking HBO mafia-themed drama after Centorino. According to Garden State gangland lore, Beeps Centorino was the inspiration for fictional Jersey mob figure Joe (Beppy) Scerbo, played by Joe Pucillo.