Born in Ireland Coll and his brother got into the thick of things early in life. Coll was at first an enforcer and strong arm man for Dutch Schultz. When he demanded that he be made a partner Schults let him know it wasn't going to happen. Coll left with a vendetta against Scultz and took sever of the gang members with him.
At one point the Coll gang raided one of
Dutch Schultz's beer drops, destroying ten trucks and 150 slot machines, and
two days later, Coll killed Louis De Rosa, a Schultz lieutenant.
In the next
several weeks, Coll's gang targeted several of Schultz's mob, killing several
gang men and several innocent bystanders, including a five-year old boy.
in business acumen to take over the underworld beer industry, he then decided
to meet his financial needs by the successful strategy of kidnapping people for
ransom. Prior to the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in 1932, kidnapping was not a
federal offense, and gangs often kidnapped famous personalities or rival
bootleggers to obtain ransoms for them.
He is suspected of having kidnapped
Broadway singer Rudy Vallee, supposedly obtaining $100,000 from Vallee, and
later kidnapped Sherman Billingsly, owner of the Stork Club, the best-known
restaurant in New York. For Billingsly's release, Coll obtained $25,000. In
June 1931, he kidnapped George "Big Frenchy" De Mange, an important
subordinate of gangster Owney Madden. Madden paid a ransom of $38,300 for Big
Frenchy's release. Shortly after this, Coll kidnapped Billy Warren, a banker
for the New York mob, and received $83,000 for his release.
successfully beat a police charge of murder, Dutch Schultz posted a $50,000
reward for Coll's murder. He was killed by a member of Owney Madden's gang,
when he fired a submachine gun into a drug store telephone booth where Coll had
gone to make a call. He died with 18 bullets in him. Less than 6 months later,
the remaining members of the Coll gang were either killed or were in prison.
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