THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

THIEF! Tony Spilotro Excerpt

Excerpt from THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist by William "Slick" Hanner & Cherie Rohn, released by Barricade Books in Oct. 2006

Las Vegas, around 1985—It all started when this Outfit messenger, Guido, tracked me [Slick] down to the Aladdin poker room about 4:00 a.m. I sat out the next few hands since I was losing anyway. In the coffee shop, Guido opened up.

“Slick, I gotta see Tony [Spilotro]. It’s very important.”

“Okay, Guido. You wait for me here and I’ll see what I can do.”

I didn’t have Tony’s phone number on me but I knew he lived at 4675 Balfour, a regular middle-class neighborhood. In fact, Tony’s house looked exactly like all the other ones on his block, just the opposite of Lefty’s sprawling ranch house on the Desert Inn Golf Course. I’d driven Tony home a couple of times because he didn’t like to drive. He figured you made an easier target in the driver's seat. Here’s my chance to help Tony out, I thought, listening to the doorbell ring inside the house.

A long five minutes later, Tony answered the door dressed in his pajamas. “Oh, it’s you,” he said, a little surprised to find me on his doorstep at such an early hour. “What are you doing here?”

“This Guido from Chicago collared me at the Aladdin just now. He says he has something very important to tell couldn’t wait. So I came right over.”

Very calmly, Tony asked, “Was it important for him, or important for me?”

I stood there with my mouth open like a fish caught in a net. My mind raced for an answer, but none came. Tony quietly closed the door.

Tony nailed it. Who was it important for? Every time I was around that guy I learned something the fact that whenever Tony invited a guy to his house, Tony would say, “I’m going into the Jacuzzi, what size bathing suit do you wear?” He’d glance at the guy’s waist and shout, “Nancy, get him a 38.” If the guy refused, Tony figured he had a wire on and the guy was in deep shit. Only a few people knew this about Tony... I decided to skip the Aladdin.

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