We posted a story last week regarding Daniel J. Wakin’s great book The Man With the Sawed-Off Leg and Other Tales of a New York City Block, where mentions kidnapper, mail extortioner, gangster Percy Geary, who used 334 Riverside Drive in West Harlem, NY as a hideout.
Percy had a 5′ 9 medium build with chestnut colored hair. Gray eyes, medium complexion and weighed 134 pounds (according to a 1930′ wanted poster).
Alias John Nolan and Jack Edwards. He was initially imprisoned in Leavenworth and later transferred to Alcatraz. First arrested in 1916 New York City at the age of sixteen for burglary. Spent most of his years in and out of prison for burglary, extortion and related gun charges.
In 1933, Percy “Angel Face” Geary and his gang abducted John O’Connell, son of New York’s most powerful upstate political family, held him for 23 days later for $40,000. Along with the two Oley brothers, he participated in the August 1934 Rubel Armored car robbery which netted the criminals $429,000 in cash. A record haul that lasted until the 1950s.
After being captured and convicted for the O’Connell kidnapping in 1937, along with John Oley and Harold “Red” Crowley they escaped from the Syracuse jail for three days before being recaptured.
He received a 77-year sentence and $10,000 fine for the kidnapping. In 1959 he was given old age parole. However it’s believed since he had spent most of his life behind bars, and always being told what to do that he could not face life on the outside. He pleaded with Alcatraz officials to keep him locked up. Being denied his request Geary committed suicide by throwing himself under the prison laundry truck. He left behind a wife (named Josephine) and child.
Mrs. Josephine Geary. She was a heavy set but beautiful woman. Believed to have purchased the print set, with daughter in tow, that made several ransom notes.
TAKE A HARLEM GOSPEL & JAZZ TOUR
Photos an text via source.