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The story of the 'diamond' street of New York: a chronology of banditry



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The legendary 47-th street in New York is famous for selling 80% of all diamonds mined in the world on it, and store shelves are strewn with decorations for every taste. But besides this, the street is known for crimes committed by Italian mafiosi and immigrants from Soviet Odessa. Writes about this lenta.en.

Photo: Shutterstock


“Everything that glitters here is actually gold, because here is the largest jewelry market in the United States, and according to some sources in the world. Local stone exchanges earn no less than $ 24 billion a year, and jewelry stores are located on the ground floors instead of the usual cafes and eateries, ”the newspaper writes.

And where there is a lot of money, there is a lot of crime, the source emphasizes.

Diamond tower

The diamond story of 47 Street began at the end of the 19th century. Then America was booming and became the main consumer of diamonds that came from Africa through the port of New York.

At that time there was no single platform for the sale of jewelry.

“And commerce in those years was conducted chaotically: transactions were carried out without any contracts or signatures, and stones and money were simply passed from hand to hand. Sometimes diamonds disappeared without a trace along with sellers, and robberies became an everyday occurrence, ”the source notes.

To end the unrest, in 1931, tycoon Fenimore Goode built the World Diamond Tower on 47th Street, a 33-story skyscraper that became a safe trading place. This is how an exchange called the Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) was born. The dealers were personally defended by Edgar Hoover, director of the newly created Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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So, thanks to Hoover, big businessmen got round-the-clock security. Also, many detectives were sent to 47 Street. Thanks to this, work became calmer, although crime did not disappear.

To provide protection, Hoover accepted donations from jewelers. True, he did not take this money for himself - it was sent to the budget of the department.

At the end of the 1930's, with the beginning of the mass emigration of Jews from Europe, where business became worse after Hitler came to power, the business model of 47 Street was finally formed.

Many of the visitors settled in New York. Since many of them were engaged in jewelry business at home, soon the entire quarter near the Diamond Tower began to trade in jewelry.

“By the end of World War II, more than 47 workshops, firms and shops were located on 2,5th Street, one way or another connected with the jewelry business. And they spoke there mainly in Yiddish and Hebrew, ”the newspaper notes.

It was a golden time on Xnumx Street. The value of real estate on it soared. Trade was active, and money flowed.

Jewelers increasingly began to visit the famous street with its best establishments, and returned home closer to morning in the company of prostitutes. The latter introduced the jewelers first to drugs, and the mafia came to 47 for drug dealers and pimps.

Italian mafia

The Italians were not interested in stones; they needed money that they wanted to receive from businessmen on an ongoing basis. “For protection” demanded a quarter of the total revenue monthly.

After several arson and robberies, the small shopkeepers were the first to surrender. Then there were large workshops that sent jewelry all over the country with salesmen.

“Delivery of diamonds began to resemble a game of cat and mouse. Jewelers began to use doubles and went to numerous tricks: for example, they booked one hotel to stay in another, and bought plane tickets to Los Angeles to get to San Francisco by train, ”the source notes.

However, all these tricks did not save, and the bodies of sellers and couriers were increasingly found even thousands of miles from New York. Many had their hands chopped off, as they attached attaché case, a black armored case for transporting jewelry, with metal handcuffs. Soon, these cases were called "portable coffins."

In the spring of 1954, several large jewelers who transported diamonds worth a half million dollars were killed. The stock market began to panic. This increased the demand for precious stones, but lowered the price of life of those who sell them. So, 47-I street surrendered to the mafia.

Russian bandits

The Italians controlled the situation until the mid-1970s. Soon after the partial defeat of Cosa Nostra, when the organization's influence weakened, first the Irish came to the legendary street, and then - immigrants from the USSR.

Russian bandits did not try to build a racket system. They just robbed jewelry shops.

Soon they began to be called gunmasters (masters of shooting). The most desperate of them were immigrants from Odessa.

“Ironically, another wave of Jewish emigration did not benefit 47th Street. According to employees of the special department for combating fraud at the Police Department, half of all stolen jewelry in New York by the end of the 70s was sold on the black market by Jewish immigrants from the USSR, ”the newspaper emphasizes.

The shadow turnover was estimated at about $ 131 million per year.

Odessans realized that they had in their hands a chicken laying golden eggs and defended their business desperately. Jewelers, members of opposing organized criminal groups, regardless of nationality, also fell under the hand.

FBI agents in plain clothes

After some time, the criminal world of New York stopped trying to squeeze Odessa residents from 47-th street. However, it attracted so much attention with the number of deaths that the FBI became interested in the street.

Like many years ago, agents in civilian clothes appeared on the diamond street, and arrests began.

Odessa residents did not like this, and it was decided to move the "headquarters" to one of the poorest areas of New York - Brighton Beach. At the same time, the way of earning has also changed. Instead of jewelry, the inhabitants of Odessa began to engage in smuggling, selling drugs and contract killings.

Meanwhile, new owners appeared at 47th Street - "Russian" swindlers.

“The pioneer and real legend in this matter was Vyacheslav Lyubarsky, nicknamed Ovoschnik, who among his other“ exploits ”in 1983 knocked out his friend Roman Zononashvili to throw the insurance company for a fabulous amount of $ 1,5 billion,” the source writes.

The fraudsters also got companions - Italian mafiosi Anthony Nunzio and Anthony Lanza, as well as a roguish owner of a jewelry store who, by the agreed date, received gold bullion, diamonds and securities on credit.

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The gang planned to stage the robbery, and the insurance paid to be divided between the participants in the scam. However, something went wrong. It turned out that the FBI, surrounded by Lubarsky, had an informant - someone Boris Granik, who had been extorted and in exchange for freedom began to “knock” on his own. All fraudsters were arrested on the day of the planned robbery.

Four years later, the criminals were released and set to work on the old.

They first sold $ 70 worth of fake diamonds to an elderly appraiser. Later, a large batch of diamonds was stolen. After that, Lyubarsky found a buyer who wanted to buy all the stones in bulk for $ 1 million, but even here he failed.

Reportedly, this time the scammer was let down by his own greed.

“The buyer was a crime boss, a native of Moldova Monya Elsman, nicknamed Chisinau. Realizing that he had been thrown — instead of rough diamonds, Lyubarsky slipped cubic zirconia — he asked his assistants to bring the head of the offender. Lyubarsky and his son Vadim were shot dead in the entrance of their house, ”the message says.

Other criminal stories of a diamond street

The crimes committed on 47-th street were too many to describe all of them here. However, here are the most impressive of them.

31 декабря 2009 года the office of the jewelry company Dialite Imports was attacked by two armed bandits. They took out products worth $ 4 million. The crime scenario was taken by criminals from the movie “The Big Jackpot” by the British director Guy Ritchie.

To get inside, they pretended to be Orthodox Jews: they put on tallit cloaks, bales, glued paisas and beards. So they entered the sixth floor of the office, where they painted over the lens of the surveillance camera, and began to act.

“In less than five minutes, the robbers got out their weapons, tied up the employees and the owner of the company, opened the safe with the jewelry, took the contents and disappeared. They have not been caught yet, ”the newspaper writes.

November 11 2014 years a pair of blacks armed with pistols robbed Watch Standard Jeweler. The office sells premium watches and belongs to Boris Mikhailov and his son Danik, who escaped from the USSR Bukhara Jews. It is noted that the robbery went on a tip, because a couple of days before it, the company received a wholesale batch of watches and jewelry for half a million dollars. In addition, the criminals knew about the time of the change of guard, so they did not meet any resistance. Taking the goods and $ 100 thousand in cash, the hijackers fled.

An investigation has begun. Danik said that he was robbed by his father from another "Russian" jeweler. Then detectives and agents of the Bureau for the Control of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) got involved.

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The feds quickly came to the suspect - a drug and smuggler dealer. As it turned out, the jeweler’s son also takes part in the same business.

The criminal admitted that he wanted to scare Mikhailov Jr. because he did not want to share a percentage of the sale of another batch of smuggling. However, as he assured, he was not going to rob the companion.

As a result, it turned out that a major New York drug dealer - African American Rondo Frisbee, who not only “borrowed” his fighters, but also decided to take his share from the jewelers, was behind the crime.

So the crime was solved, and all the participants, except Danik - he went through the case as a witness - received large prison sentences.

25 August 2019 year the last high-profile robbery took place on the famous street.

So, in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, when the majority of Avianne & Co. The Jewelers were in their homes as three armed black men broke into the firm's store, tied up employees and cleaned out all the windows. The total amount stolen was $ 4 million. However, despite the fact that the criminals were caught on CCTV cameras, and their portraits were in the police file cabinet, they have not yet been found.

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