The world of organized crime is no stranger to mysterious disappearances. In the case of notorious gangster Jimmy Hoffa, his vanishing in 1975 has become one of the most enduring mysteries of American history. However, Hoffa is not the only gangster to have seemingly vanished into thin air. The case of Dutch Schultz, a bootlegger and racketeer during the Prohibition era, is another instance of a notorious criminal seemingly disappearing without a trace.
Born Arthur Simon Flegenheimer in the Bronx in 1902, Dutch Schultz rose to prominence in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s. He was involved in a number of illegal activities, including bootlegging, extortion, and murder. Schultz’s power was such that he was known to have close connections with prominent political figures of the day and was a force to be reckoned with in the criminal underworld.
However, in 1935, Schultz’s empire began to crumble. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had him on their radar, and an indictment for tax evasion was looming. Fearing that he would be sent to prison, Schultz decided to take drastic action. He ordered a hit on the prosecutor assigned to his case, Thomas E. Dewey.
The plan failed, and Schultz quickly became the target of a massive manhunt. He fled New York City and went into hiding in a small town in upstate New York with a handful of his closest associates. However, he soon became paranoid and began acting erratically. He became convinced that one of his closest allies had betrayed him and was secretly working for the authorities.
On October 23, 1935, Schultz met with his associates at a restaurant in the Bronx. He was reportedly in a state of extreme paranoia and was convinced that he was being set up. He repeatedly checked his gun and warned his associates to be on guard. However, before he could put his plan into action, a group of gunmen stormed the restaurant and opened fire.
Schultz was hit several times and left for dead. His associates managed to escape unharmed, but Schultz died several hours later in the hospital. His killers were never identified, and the case remains officially unsolved to this day.
However, some theories suggest that Schultz may not have died that night in the Bronx. Some believe that he faked his death and went into hiding, fearing for his life. Others speculate that he was abducted and held for ransom by rival gangsters. Still, others suggest that he was murdered by his own associates, who had grown weary of his erratic behavior and feared that he was more of a liability than an asset.
Despite the many theories and rumors surrounding Schultz’s disappearance, one thing is certain: his legacy as one of the most notorious gangsters of the Prohibition era lives on. His brazen disregard for the law and his ruthless tactics have made him a notorious figure in American history, and his disappearance remains one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries of the criminal underworld.