Clarendon Hills resident and famed thief Joseph Jerry "The Monk" Scalise pleaded guilty in Chicago federal court Wednesday to four charges, including racketeering, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and the plea deal of the mob-connected thief could put him in prison for nine years.
Scalise, 74, gained infamy in 1980 when he helped steal the 45-carat Marlborough Diamond from a London jewelry store. The diamond has never been found, but Scalise was convicted and given 13 years in prison. According to the Associated Press, Scalise told reporters outside of the hearing Wednesday that if insurers wanted to pay enough money, they could get the diamond back.
Scalise has a long criminal history ABC Chicago reported, which includes being tied to mob murders. He was arrested most recently when the FBI busted plans by Scalise; Robert Pullia, 70; and Arthur "The Genius" Rachel, 73, to rob an armored car in La Grange and to commit the home invasion of a deceased Chicago mob boss' former home in Chicago. According to Fox Chicago News, they were arrested outside the boss' home in Chicago in 2010.
Fox reported that before being busted for the most recent charges, Scalise worked as a technical advisor on the 2008 film Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp.
When Scalise was arrested in 2010, his address was 5729 Clarendon Hills Rd. in Clarendon Hills, according to Fox.
The La Grange Connection
According to the FBI, Scalise, Pullia and Rachel were attempting an armed robbery of the First National Bank of La Grange. The FBI had been working with La Grange police since a robbery at a Harris Bank branch on La Grange Road, for which the robbers made off with more than $100,000.
Police recovered DNA evidence that indicated Scalise in the getaway car.
The men were getting ready for the First National robbery, and planned to steal a bag of cash that was to be picked up by an armored car. Scalise and his accomplices were seen near the bank conducting surveillance many times, according to the FBI.
Conversations intercepted by agents through court-ordered surveillance showed the men were also planning the Bridgeport home invasion at the same time. The men were followed to Princeton Street in Chicago on April 8, 2010 and arrested.
In a retirement ceremony honoring La Grange police Lt. Chris Noel in August of 2011, La Grange Police Chief Michael Holub praised Noel for his dedication to the force and listed his many honors, which included his graduation from the FBI National Academy. In 2010, Noel was an officer who coordinated with the FBI on a joint investigation of the planned bank robbery.
"We were very honored and pleased that the FBI included us," Chief Holub said Wednesday when asked about Scalise's guilty plea. "We were able to provide some local knowledge... and they felt comfortable trusting us."