NYPD, FBI search mobster's Queens home in cold case

August 6, 2013 6:41:50 PM PDT
Investigators are searching a home in Queens following a a cold case lead in the 1978 Lufthansa heist.

NYPD officer and FBI agents arrived at this home on 102nd Road in Ozone Park Monday morning.

17 years after mobster James Jimmy "The Gent" Burke died of cancer in prison, the sound of a jackhammer could be heard from his home as FBI investigators broke up the concrete garage floor, looking for clues in a nearly half-century old murder.

His life was popularized in the film "Goodfellas."

"This whole neighborhood was mafia," said Jim Goddard, a neighbor.

Long-time residents had thought the mob part of neighborhood's reputation had died along with Jimmy Burke. But FBI and NYPD detectives are looking for human remains as part of an ongoing organized crime investigation which may go back 44 years.

"I don't think we should even bother with this. It is too late!" said Cecilia Campanoni, a neighbor.

Burke was the reputed mastermind of the 1978 Lufthansa terminal heist at JFK, a $6 million robbery that was the largest in US history and later resulted in several hits linked to Burke.

"I know there was southbound activity happening back then. I don't know. We'll have to wait to see what they find," said Mural Khalique, a neighbor.

Eyewitness News is told Monday's search is related to an even earlier time back to 1969. That all these federal resources are here this many years later is worth it says one neighbor.

"If they're looking for someone who has been missing then this could provide closure for a family, it's understandable," said Christina Van Hoven, a neighbor.