The Road Vultures Motorcycle Club, Buffalo-based, was formed in 1955 and was patterned somewhat after the Hell's' Angels of Northern California.


Thomas G. Bell was the original Road Vultures Head


Thomas G. Bell was shot to death in a scuffle at 173 Dewitt Street, Buffalo NY


Charles Pfohl, 23, of Buffalo, a reputed member of the Road Vultures, suffered a fatal head wound when shot by a policeman in suburban Cheektowaga during an attempted arrest for a traffic violation.


Road Vultures Clubhouse was located at 775 South Ogden Street, Buffalo NY


In 1968 the "Road Vultures Motorcycle Club" became the first chapter of Hells Angles  in New York State

To Go To Bruce Jackson Photography Click Here


42 Stitches After Fight


LOCKPORT April 1963—Sheriffs Deputy Gene Palazzo was called to DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda, at 1:30 this morning when two "Road Vultures" refused to tell hospital authorities how they had suffered severe face cuts.


Deputy Palazzo reported David Paddock of 164 Jewett Ave. Buffalo required 46 stitches in his face.


A companion, James Beck of 621Grant St., Buffalo, received 10 stitches.


According to the report, Beck told Deputy Palazzo he was hit with an unknown object while he was getting on his motorcycle in front of the El Rancho Restaurant, Niagara Falls Blvd.


The deputy said Paddock refused to say how he had suffered the cuts but two girl companions said Paddock had been hit with a bottle.


The pair, referred to on the sheriff's report as members of the "Road Vultures" motor, cycle club, were both released after treatment.



Youths Attacked by"Black Jacketed Men"


TOWN OF LOCKPORT April 1964—Six Barker youths told sheriff's deputies Thursday night they were attacked by a group of "black jacketed men" while watching a movie at the Lockport Drive-in.


Sheriffs Deputy John Corioa and Lockport Patrolman Gerald Tremblay conducted a search of taverns and restaurants in Lockport but were unable to find anyone fitting description of the attackers.


One youth,  told deputies one of the gang hit him in the face giving him a nose bleed and a cut above his nose.


The gang also broke beer bottles in his car, the report said.


Deputy Corica was called to the drive-in, located in Rochester Road, about 10:40 p.m. by the manager who reported a disturbance. However, the black jacketed group had left before the deputy arrived.


The youths told Deputy Corica the gang called themselves "the road vultures."


10 Men, Girl Are Nabbed In Dope Raid


Buffalo December 13 1965 (AP) —Ten men, described- as members of a motorcycle gang, and a teen age girl have been arrested in a narcotics raid on a suburban farmhouse, whose walls were covered with a swastika and a picture of Hitler, police said.


The raid was conducted yesterday by Amherst police and Federal Bureau of Narcotics agents at the farmhouse in the suburban town of Amherst. Police had been watching the place for a month.


The men, who ranged in age from 21 to 26, and the girl, who was 18, were charged with possession of marijuana. One of the men also was charged with attempting to induce the girl to take narcotics.


Police said the place was rented by the Road Vultures cycle club. They also said they discovered a quantity of marijuana in the house.


Police also found a swastika, a picture of Hitler and statements painted on the wall, including "Down with Johnson" and. "Kill the Cops."



'Gang Leader' Sues City, 3 Policemen


BUFFALO May 7, 1966 (UPI)—The ground work was laid Friday for the filing of a $100,000 law-suit against the city and three of its police officers by the 24-year-old alleged ringleader of the "Road Vultures" motorcycle gang.


John F. Schnell filed a "notice of claim" through his attorney Friday, charging' he was assaulted, illegally imprisoned and falsely arrested by the three officers.


4 Charges Pending


The action came one week after a-city court jury acquitted Schnell of a charge of preventing an officer from doing his duty. It was one of five charges lodged against him following a disturbance at a lounge Feb. 6.


Four others, including resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, are pending.


The notice of claim, according to Atty. John M. Daly, was filed as required by law within 90 days of the alleged incident.


The actual beginning of court proceedings, he said, can be brought anytime within the next year.


Claims Assault In the action, Schnell asserted he suffered lacerations, contusions, a possible fractured skull and "an extreme loss of blood" as a result of his arrest and assault in the lounge and in a police car enroute to jail.


Schnell was indicted Thursday by an Erie County jury on a charge of selling marijuana.


The charge stemmed from a raid on the gang's farmhouse headquarters in suburban Amherst by federal narcotics agents and local police last Dec. 12.



Judge Tags Defendants As 'Slobs'


BUFFALO June 14, 1966 (UPI)-Eight alleged members of the notorious Road Vultures motorcycle gang were to go on trial in City Court today after a city judge disqualified himself Monday for calling the defendants "slobs."


Judge William J. Ostrowski made the remark to defense attorney Vincent E. Doyle as the trial was' slated to get under way.


"Is there any reason why your clients show in court dressed like slobs?" he asked. "This is no circus," he added.


Many of the eight men' wore open shirts or sweaters and were unshaven. Many wore hair over their foreheads and locks down the backs of their necks.


Doyle then moved that the judge should disqualify himself from the non-jury trial because of the remarks.


Ostrowski granted the motion and ordered all. eight to return to court to stand trial before another city judge.


Police have identified all the defendants as members of the Road Vultures, a group of men ranging in age from their early 20s to early 30s. Members of the gang have been arrested several times in the past on charges ranging- from possessing marijuana to grand larceny and to procuring women for immoral purposes.


Four of the eight presently on trial are accused of being drunk. Two others face charges of being drunk and creating a disturbance, and the two remaining are accused of attempting to prevent a policeman from performing his duty.


The last charge was filed, police said when two of the group identified as Charles Pfohl, 21, and Joseph Rohndpoint, 30, threatened to shoot the arresting police officers following their arrest March 6.


Motorcycle Gang Halted At Border


NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. July 11, 1966 (UPI)—Thirty-eight members of the Road Vultures motorcycle gang from the Buffalo area were prevented from" entering Canada over the weekend when they attempted to cross the border at Fort Erie and Niagara Falls.


Authorities ordered 24 of the riders deported as "undesirables" after they crossed Peace Bridge at Fort Erie.


Another 14 cyclists, wearing black leather jackets and trousers and western boots, were denied entry at Rainbow Bridge here. Police said they were "badly in need of a bath."


14 Members Of Gang Held In Row Here


Niagara Falls Sept 3 1966 - Fourteen persons claiming to be members of the Buffalo-based "Road Vultures" gang were arrested shortly after midnight today and charged with disorderly conduct following an altercation in the Strand Lounge, 209 Main St. Niagara Falls.


The group will appear in City Court Tuesday morning for arraignment.


The three girls in the group and two of the males are free on $200 bond each for the males and $50 each for the girls.


The remaining nine arrested early today were in the jail at the Public Safety Building.


The black leather jackets worn by each of them were confiscated by police.


Police said the group came to Niagara Falls from Buffalo in three cars. They had been

in the city about two hours when they were arrested, according to police reports.

4 Being Arraigned In Robbery-Slaying


BUFFALO January 31, 1967—Four suspects captured last week in Oakland, Calif., in connection with the robbery-slaying of a Buffalo jewelry salesman on Dec. 20, were scheduled for arraignment today in City Court.


Ronald Babchak, 26, of Buffalo, has been charged with first-degree murder. Martin Geary, 20, also of Buffalo, who was apprehended previously, has been arraigned and awaits grand jury action on a murder charge.


Also to be arraigned today are Chester Michalek, 26, and his wife Sally, 21, who gave a Jackson Street address in Lockport as their most recent place of residence, and William Hessler, 24, of Hamburg.


The Michaleks and Hessler were arrested by – Oakland police on warrants charging them as accessories and claiming that they drove Babchak to Oakland from Buffalo on Jan. 5. The Michaleks have said that they are former residents of Oakland.


Payne was found beaten to death in an alley off Chippawa Street here on Dec. 20. The attack was reported to have occurred shortly after he was seen in a tavern flashing large amounts of money and police have asserted robbery was the motive.


Hessler previously was the leader of the Road Vultures, according to police files, and all other suspects are alleged to have been associated with that motorcycle gang. Michalek, however, told police he had known Babchak only for a little more than a month and that he did not know he was a murder suspect when he drove him to Oakland.


Reputed Road Vulture, Shot by Policeman, Suffers Fatal Head Wound


Cheektowaga, Oct. 28, Charles Pfohl, 23, of Buffalo, a reputed member of the Road Vultures, suffered a fatal head wound when shot by a policeman in suburban Cheektowaga during an attempted arrest for a traffic, violation.

11/10/1967 Head of Road Vultures Shot to Death


Head of Road Vultures Motorcycle Club Shot to Death, 2 Wounded in Apartment Raid


BUFFALO, N.Y. November 10, 1967 (AP) - A man who police said shot three intruders. during an attack on his brother was charged today with manslaughter hours after one of them died.


Thomas G. Bell, 24, head of the Buffalo-based Road Vultures Motorcycle Club, was wounded fatally Thursday night by Walter Edin, 29, in the apartment of Edin's brother, Jack, 21; at 173 Dewitt St., as Jack's wife and two young children looked on, police said.


They said Bell and two club members, Thomas P. Murray, 20, and Gary- Sheriff, 23, had forced their way into the apartment reportedly to retrieve an inexpensive watch in Jack Edin's possession. Murray and Sheriff were wounded in the legs.


Police charged Walter Edin with first-degree assault and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon, in addition to first degree manslaughter. They said he had wrested the pistol from Sheriff during a scuffle. "We had to file those charges" against Walter Edin, a police spokesman told a reporter, because a man was killed and other factors.


He said the charges did not stem from the controversial new state penal law that defines the right of police and other people to use deadly force.


Asst. Det. Chief Anthony R. Burvid, who led the investigation, gave this story:


Bell, Murray and Sheriff, without first knocking entered the West Side apartment of Jack Edin, 21, who was believed to have the watch in his possession.


Bell immediately grabbed Edin, punched him in the face and knocked him to the floor, where he continued to pummel him with his fists.


Sheriff, meanwhile, flashed a .32 caliber automatic pistol to keep Edin's visitor, Kenneth Perry, 28, of Walden, N.Y., at a safe distance.


As Sheriff lifted a leg to kick Edin, the man's brother Walter Edin, 29, grabbed the weapon and fired the fatal shot at Bell, who apparently still was on the floor.


Sheriff and Murray advanced toward Walter Edin, who first warned them to stay back, then squeezed off two more shots.


Detectives said they could not say why the wrist watch, which was missing its strap, was the motive for the beating or how Jack Edin acquired it.


Sheriff, of Buffalo, and Murray, of suburban West Seneca, were taken to the hospital, and Murray was later jailed. Both were charged with first-degree assault and first-degree burglary.


In addition, Sheriff was charged with illegal possession of a dangerous weapon.


The Edin brothers and Perry were described as structural steel workers. Jack Edin's wife and two young children also were in the apartment during the incident, police said.


The death of the bearded Bell was the second of a Road Vultures member in less than two weeks.


On Oct. 28, Charles Pfohl, 23, of Buffalo, a reputed member of the band, suffered a fatal head wound when shot by a policeman in suburban Cheektowaga during an attempted arrest for a traffic, violation.


The Buffalo-based motorcycle band was formed in 1955 and was patterned somewhat after the Hell's' Angels of Northern California, police said.


Persons linked by authorities to the Road Vultures have been arrested numerous times on a variety of charges.


Bell and Murray were among a group seized in a police narcotics raid at the band's headquarters last Sept. 6. They were awaiting trial.

  Spain Rodriguez (left) rides with the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club at 1967 funeral of club president Tommy Bell. (Photo by Bruce Jackson)

40 Cycles Roar Out


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The slain president of the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club went to his grave Monday, the hearse carrying his casket escorted by 40 roaring cycles.


Thomas G. Bell, a bearded, 24-year-old shipping clerk, was laid to rest in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery after a funeral service in which leather jacketed cyclists mingled with persons in conventional dress.


Members of the Buffalo-based Road Vultures were joined in the crowd by representatives i from motorcycle bands elsewhere in Western New York and Massachusetts, Ohio, Connecticut and Ontario, Canada.


Bell's funeral cortege was led by a motorcycle-bearing a red flag emblazoned with a Nazi swastika. Next in line was a small flat-bed trailer carrying his flower-bedecked cycle. Before Bell's casket was sealed, someone placed sunglasses on his eyes and a Road Vultures sweatshirt on his chest, atop his blue suit and white shirt.


At the cemetery, a club member stepped forward and poured the contents of a pint whiskey bottle on the metal casket, then tried to smash the bottle against

the coffin lid, but without success.


A mimeographed eulogy distributed at the cemetery said Bell "was born to be free and died to be free."


Several plainclothes policemen stood by during the service.


Also in the gathering were Bell's wife, Regina, and their 2-yearold son, Shane.


Bell was shot fatally last Thursday night after, police said, he and two other Road Vultures stormed into the apartment here of Jack Edin, to retrieve an inexpensive watch.


In the ensuing fracas, detectives said, Bell was shot in the back with a pistol by Edin's brother, Walter, 29. The other two motorcyclists suffered leg wounds.


Slain Man's Family Seeks $1 Million


BUFFALO, N.Y. Jan 6, 1968 (AP) - The wife, infant son and father of a motorcycle club member slain by a suburban policeman during an attempted arrest have filed $1 million damage suit against the officer and three municipalities.


The relatives of the late Charles A. Pfohl, 23, of Buffalo entered the claim Friday against a Patrolman of the Cheektowaga Police Department, the town of Cheektowaga, the Village of Sloan and the City of Buffalo.


Pfohl, a member of the Buffalo based Road Vultures Motorcycle Club, suffered a fatal head wound last Oct. 28 when a Patrolman service revolver discharged as the two scuffled in Cheektowaga, police said.


The policeman, who also is a professional heavyweight boxer, had chased Pfohl after the young, man fled from an automobile pursued for a traffic violation, they said.


Plaintiffs in the. case, charging negligence and wrongful death, are Pfohl's widow,

Margaret; son, Charles Jr.; and father, Richard.


Buffalo's corporation counsel, Anthony Manguso, said he was puzzled why the city was named in the suit, since city police were not involved. Sloan is in the town of Cheektowaga and the Cheektowaga Patrolman's partner was a village patrolman.


The policeman was suspended from duty while a grand jury investigated the incident but was reinstated with full back pay when the panel cleared him of any criminal liability.




Area Man Is clared, In Slaying


BUFFALO, N.Y. January 30,1968 (AP) - An Erie County Grand Jury has cleared a 29-year-old ironworker of a manslaughter charge in the shooting of the president of the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club but has ordered him to stand trial on a weapons count.


The Jury's decision was reached Monday when Walter Edin of Buffalo was arraigned in Erie County Court on an indictment charging illegal possession of a dangerous weapon.


A no-bill was returned on a first-degree manslaughter charge brought by police.


Edin was arrested after Thomas G. Bell, 24, of Buffalo was killed by a pistol bullet

during a fracas at the home here of Edin's brother, Jack, 21, police said.


Bell and another motorcyclist, Thomas P. Murray, 20, of West Seneca, went to the apartment to retrieve an inexpensive watch.



5 in Motorcycle Club Are Put On Bail on Car Theft Charge


Niagara Falls, April 2, 1968, Five members of the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club, one of them a Niagara Falls resident, were placed on bail when they appeared before Acting City Court Judge Nunzio Rizzo in Criminal Court Monday in connection with the theft of a car from Minneapolis.


Three of those charged were bailed and the other two were being held in Niagara County Jail pending arrangement. of bail. They are:


Elker Katz, 19, of 445 Seventh St., this city, charged with grand larceny and held in Lockport pending arrangement of $5,000 cash or $10,000 property bail.


Helen Leeburg, .20, of 432 School Road, Lowell, Mass., charged with grand larceny, no operator's license and not having proper plates on a motor vehicle, held in Lockport pending arrangement of $2,000 cash or $4,000 property bail.


Russell G. Samrany, 22, of E. Delavan Ave., Buffalo, charged with grand larceny, released on bail of $3,000 cash of $6,000 property.


James T. Roach, 25, of 156 Como Ave., Buffalo, charged with grand larceny, released on $3,000 cash or $6,000 property bail.


Margie Pfohl, 20, of 419 Fargo St., Buffalo, charged with grand larceny and released on bail of $2,000 cash or $4,000 property.


Their cases were adjourned to April 22 by Judge Rizzo.


The five. were arrested in Main Street at 1:30 a.m. Sunday following an investigation by the police Tactical Unit into a fight at the Strand Lounge.


A check of the car in which the five were occupants revealed a set of Minnesota license plates on the rear seat and subsequent check of the plates revealed the car was stolen in Minneapolis Thursday.


Police said the Leeburg woman had a key chain in her possession which contained at least 20 master keys for various makes of cars



Drop Drug Charges


BUFFALO, NY. DECEMBER 4, 196 8 (AP) - A City Court, judge Tuesday

dismissed marijuanna possession charges against seven women and five men arrested last Dec. 23 in a predawn raid on the Road Vultures Motor cycle Club headquarters.


Judge Sebastian J. Bellomo dismissed the charges when both the defense attorney and an assistant district attorney agreed that a search warrant used in the raid did not comply with standard procedure and that alleged evidence had been suppressed by court order.



Federal Grand Jury Indicted 3 in $500,000 Metal Theft


Buffalo NY, January 7, 1969 A Federal Grand Jury has indicted three men on charges of possessing 12 tons of stolen nickel powder valued at $500,000.


The indictments were handed up Monday to Judge John T. Curtin of U.S. District Court. William E. McKnight, 25, James T. Roach, 25, and David A. Urban, 19, all of Buffalo, described by police as members of the Road Vultures motorcycle club, were charged with possession of the metal, which was stored in 32 drums.


Police said the metal was stolen Dec. 20 by thieves who used a flatbed truck to haul the drums away.


All three men were continued free in $5,000 bond each.


Man Draws 2-Year Term


BUFFALO, N.Y. June 1969— Gary Sheriff, 25, of Buffalo, has been sentenced to serve two years in the Erie County Penitentiary after his conviction on charges stemming from a fight in which a man was fatally shot.


Justice Charles J. Caughan sentenced Sheriff Friday.


Sheriff was involved in a fight in which Thomas G. Bell, 24, president of the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club, was shot.


Police said Bell, Sheriff and Thomas Murray, of West Seneca, forced their way into the apartment of Jack Eden in Buffalo during November of 1967.


During an ensuing fight Bell was shot.


Sheriff was convicted of third degree assault and first-degree criminal trespass.



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