Are Any.Of.The Orginal Cast.Members From.Top.Gun Also.Being.In.Second.Movie Mobsters in America – Charlie "The Bug" Workman – The Man Who Killed Dutch Schultz

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Mobsters in America – Charlie "The Bug" Workman – The Man Who Killed Dutch Schultz

Charlie “The Bug” Workman was the strong, silent type, who killed up to 20 people for the murder of Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. But Workman’s claim to fame was the man who fatally shot Dutch Schultz.

Charles Workman was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1908, the second of six children born to Samuel and Anna Workman. Workman dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and began roaming the streets of the Lower East Side, looking for trouble. When he was 18, Workman was arrested for the first time, for stealing a $12 bundle of cotton yarn from a truck parked on Broadway. Because it was his first offense, Workman was released on probation. The following year, Workman was arrested for shooting a man behind the ear over who owed whom $20. At this point, Workman’s street reputation was such that the man he shot refused to testify against him, and even said he could not honestly identify Workman as the shooter. Frustrated, the officers pulled out his briefcase and determined that Workman had violated the terms of his probation for stealing the cotton. As a result, Workman was sent to the New York State Reformatory. Over the next few years, Workman was in and out of prison for parole violations such as associating with “dubious characters” and not getting a job.

In 1926, Workman became associated as an independent legbreaker, or Schlemmer, with Lepke’s union strike activity. Workman did such a good job, Lepke put him on his regular salary of $125 a week, as a hit man for Lepke’s Murder Incorporated. Lepke liked Workman’s cool demeanor, and after Workman performed several unusual “hits” for Lepke, Lepke nicknamed him “The Bug,” because a man would have to be crazy to kill with the calm detachment Workman displayed when performing his gruesome duties. Workman’s other nickname “Charlie the Handsome”, was given to him by members of the opposite sex.

Over the next few years, Workman was in and out of trouble with the law. In 1932 he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. In 1933, he was arrested again aboard an off-duty policeman after a minor traffic dust-up. All the while, his specialty was killing whoever Lepke said needed to be killed. After a hit was made, Workman enjoyed the marginal advantage of “picking the pockets” of his victims. Most of the time, Workman earned himself an extra thousand dollars or so for his efforts, and once he even found a ten thousand dollar bonus in the pants pocket of some poor sucker he had just punched.

In 1935, orders came down from above that the Dutch maniac gangster Schultz had to go. Lefke decided that Workman was the man for the job. On October 23, 1935, Lepke sent Workman and Lepke’s second in charge, Mandy Weiss, to the Palace Chophouse in Newark, New Jersey, in a car driven by a man known as “Piggy”. While Weiss stood at the bar, Workman went into the men’s room to make sure there were no witnesses. Standing in the men’s room was a frightened Dutch Schultz. Workman stabbed Schultz once in the torso, puncturing his stomach, colon, gall bladder and liver. Workman then left the bathroom, and he and Weiss went into the back room of the restaurant, where three of Schultz’s assistants, Lulu Rosencrantz, Abe Landau, and Abbabe Berman, were enjoying themselves together. Weiss and Workman kept firing until their guns were empty, and their prey was dead on the floor.

Weiss headed for the front door, but Workman turned and went back into the bathroom, expecting to find a large wad of cash in Schultz’s pockets. The first surprise for Workman was when he found not a penny in Schultz’s possession. The second surprise was when he went outside expecting to find Weiss and Piggy in a getaway car waiting, and found nothing but the sound of police sirens rushing to the scene.

Workman jumped into a swamp behind the Chophouse, where he discarded his blood-stained coat, and began walking toward Manhattan, his shoes and pants wet and smoke coming from his ears, thinking he would be left for dead after a major blow. Workman found a set of railroad tracks and followed them all night. The tracks led to a tunnel that ran under the Hudson River, and Workman emerged at dawn in midtown Manhattan. He went to a cafe on the Lower East Side, a favorite with thugs like himself, and was dismayed to find that Scaltz’s murder was all over the papers, and the word on the street was that Weiss was the lone shooter.

Workman went to a friend’s house in Chelsea for a few hours of sleep, and when he woke up, he called Lapek and said he wanted to kill Weiss, for dumping him after Scaltz’s hit. Lepke called a sit-in a few days later at Weiss’s home at 400 Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn. Workman told his story first. When it was Weiss’s turn to defend himself he said, “I claim that hitting Dutch was a mob thing. And I stayed until the hitting of Dutch was over. But then the bug went back into the bathroom to give Dutch a robbery. I argue that it was no longer mob business. It was personal business”.

Lepke ruled in favor of Weiss and told Workman, if he was wise, he would drop the matter altogether and never mention it again, under an indulgence that might injure himself. Lepke sent Workman to Miami to cool off, where Workman met Lucky Luciano, who was part of a nine-man national crime syndicate, along with Lepke. Workman needs to borrow some cash to get laid, and when he started to mention Weiss’ actions the night of the Schultz hit, Luciano cut him off and said, “Here’s the money. Now stop talking about that other thing.”

In 1940, Workman was arrested in Brighton Beach in a change of “wandering”. Workman’s sting was orchestrated by special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, who was on a mission to arrest, try, convict and execute every member of Murder Incorporated he could get his hands on. By this time, Murder Incorporated hitman Abe “Kid Twist” Rels had already turned into a rat, telling Davy that Workman had done Schultz’s job. This was confirmed by Ellie Tanenbaum, perhaps Workman’s closest friend in the mob, who also became a Canary.

In 1941, Workman was tried for the murder of Skaltz. During the trail, when Workman realized he had little chance of acquittal, he changed his plea to “no defense.” Judge Daniel Brennan accepted the lawsuit and sentenced Workman to life imprisonment.

As Workman was led from the courtroom, guards let him speak to his brother Abe. Workman told Abe, “Whatever you do, live honestly. If you make 20 cents a day, do it for yourself. If you can’t make an honest living, get the government to support you. Stay away from the gangs and do” Don’t be a smart guy. Take care of mom and dad and watch ‘Ichi’ (younger brother). He should watch.”

Workman was sent to Trenton State Prison. In 1942, Workman offered his services to the United States Navy to go on a suicide mission to strike Japan and avenge Pearl Harbor. His request was denied. In 1952, Workman was transferred to the Rahway State Penitentiary Farm and worked there at hard labor until he was paroled in 1964, after nearly 23 years in prison. After his release, Workman went straight, and got a job as a salesman at the Garment Center, which was previously controlled by his boss Lefke.

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