Scenes From James Caan Movie "Hide In Plain Sight" Filmed in Buffalo NY 1980

13 State Alarm Issued For Suspect In Buffalo City Hall Robbery


Buffalo, NY February 19, 1965


(AP) -A 13-state alarm has gone out for a 25-year-old man who police say robbed the Buffalo City Treasurer's office of more than $299,000 last December 29.


Buffalo Police Commissioner William H. Schneider said yesterday a warrant was issued charging Pascal Calabrese with first degree robbery in connection with the theft.


Calabrese's last known address was North Tonawanda NY.


"We have a lead on the identity of Calabrese's accomplice in the robbery," Schneider said, "but we are trying to gain a positive identification before his identity is disclosed."


Two men robbed the city treasury in city hall of $299,130. of which approximately $16,245. was in cash and the rest in checks.


Buffalo City Hall Robbery Suspect To Face Hearing


BUFFALO, NY February 23, 1965


Pascal (Paddy) Calabrese, 25, a suspect in the $299,130 holdup of the city treasurer's office in December, was released in $10,000 cash bail Monday to face a hearing before City Judge William Heffron today.


Calabrese surrendered at Police Headquarters Monday and denied any connection with the crime.


Police said Calabrese, of the Town of Tonawanda, walked into headquarters accompanied by his attorney, Joseph Mattina.


The dramatic development came after Calabrese granted an interview to a Buffalo broadcasting station and appealed for "a fair and impartial trial."


Warrant Issued


Police issued a warrant for Calabrese's arrest Thursday after Buffalo Commissioner William H. Schneider announced witnesses had identified him as one of two gunmen who escaped with $16,245.80 in cash and the rest in non-negotiable checks from the treasurer's office at Buffalo City Hall December 29.


Treasurer Melvin W. Elliot was slugged by one bandit before the two fled in a stolen car, later found abandoned one mile from City Hall.


Police said they had "nothing as yet" in the search for the second bandit.


Reads  Statement


Calabrese read a statement, authorized by his lawyer, at the radio and TV station shortly before giving himself up. "Contrary to published reports, I had not been out of state or fled' the state to avoid prosecution, at the time the warrant was issued," he said. "When I received news of the arrest warrant on Friday I immediately contacted my attorney, Joseph Mattina, who was in New York City on business. "I informed him that I wished to surrender in order to properly clear my name.


He advised me that he would make the necessary arrangements for my surrender on his return to Buffalo, which would be February 22.


Expresses Wish


"I hope that the citizens or the community, irrespective of the false charges against me and the publicity following these charges, grant me my one and only request a fair and impartial trial,"


Calabrese added. "I am not guilty of the charges brought against me and know that if a fair and impartial trial is granted me, I will be lawfully cleared of the charges."

Hearing Set For Suspect In Robbery


BUFFALO, NY February 24, 1965


(UPI) Pascal Calabrese, 25, briefly freed and rearrested Tuesday in the $299,130 holdup of the city treasurer's office, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing today.


The hearing was originally set for Tuesday but a legal technicality caused the delay.


Judge Ann T. Mikoll dismissed' the first degree robbery charge against Calabrese because of an improper affidavit.


The ex-marine from the Town of Tonawanda who surrendered to police Monday, was quickly re-arrested minutes later after a witness to the December 29 robbery signed another statement.


Calabrese was free in $10,000 bond.


Calabrese Trial Is Being Heard


BUFFALO, NY May 22, 1966


Testimony in the trial of Pascal Calabrese, 26, charged with staging a bold $300,000 holdup in the city hall office of the city treasurer in 1964 was to continue in State Supreme Court Monday.


Calabrese, of North Tonawanda, is charged with entering the office Dec. 30, 1964 with two companions and scooping $16,245 in cash plus $282,884 in non – negotiable checks from a teller's cage.


Then City Treasurer Melvin W. Elliott was hit over the head with the butt end of a pistol by the unmasked thieves during the heist.


None of the loot has been recovered" and Calabrese's two alleged partners remain at large.


Calabrese Is Guilty In Holdup


BUFFALO, NY  May 26, 1966


(UPI)-Pascal Calabrese, 27, convicted Wednesday on three counts of first-degree robbery in a $300,000 City Hall holdup 18 months ago, remained in County Jail today pending sentencing.


Calabrese, of North Tonawanda, was convicted after about five hours deliberation in State Supreme Court by an 11-man, one-woman jury just before midnight.


Three men entered the office of the city treasurer in City Hall on Dec. 30, 1964, and scooped- $16,245 in cash and $282,884 in non-negotiable checks from a teller's window.


One of the trio, identified in court as Calabrese, slugged former City Treasurer Melvin T. Elliott over the head with the butt end of a pistol during the robbery.


None of the cash and checks has been recovered and police are still seeking two other men in connection with the heist.


Supreme Court Justice Joseph A. Nevins set sentencing for June 17.


Jailed for Contempt


Meanwhile, a reluctant witness in the case, Frank Meranto of Buffalo, is serving a 30-day jail term for contempt of court.


Meranto, the lead-off witness in the trial, refused to offer testimony, even after having been granted immunity from prosecution, on the grounds that he might incriminate himself.


He has appealed the contempt action to the Appellate Division.


Calabrese's Sentencing Is Delayed


BUFFALO, NY July 7, 1966


(UPI) – Pascal Calabrese, 27. remained in Erie County Jail today again awaiting sentence for a 1964 City Hall robbery which netted thieves almost $300.000.


Calabrese of  North Tonawanda, was convicted May 25 by a State Supreme Court jury on a first-degree robbery charge in the heist.


He had been scheduled to be sentenced June 17 but the date was pushed back to Wednesday.


After a request by the district attorney's office Supreme Court Judge Joseph Nevins again delayed sentencing and announced the defendant would now be sentenced September 6.


Three bandits entered the city treasurer's City Hall office on the morning of Dec. 29. 1964. and scooped cash and checks totaling $299,129 from a teller's cage.


None of the loot has been recovered and police say two other men are still sought in the case.


Calabrese Sentenced To 5 Years


BUFFALO, NY  September 7, 1966


(UPI)—Pascal Calabrese, of North Tonawanda was sentenced Tuesday to up to five years in state prison for his part in a 1964 City Hall holdup which netted just under $300,000.


Calabrese, convicted of first degree robbery on May 25 by a State Supreme Court jury, was ordered to serve the term at Elmira Reformatory by Justice Joseph A. Nevins.


The sentencing followed pleas for leniency by Asst Dist Atty. Sheldon M. Markell and defense counsel William J. Cunningham.


Four witnesses- in the trial identified Calabrese as one of the two bandits who entered the city treasurer's office on December 29, 1964, and made off with more than $16,000 in cash and $283,000 in-checks.


None of the loot has been recovered.




Federal Arrest Nets Aides to Magaddino


BUFFALO, NY June 21, 1967


(AP) - Federal agents early today arrested six men, three described as linked with Cosa Nostra, on charges of conspiracy involving planned robbery of three banks, an armored truck and a hotel.


None of the robberies was committed, U.S. Atty. John T, Curtin said.


In 1963, Buffalo police described three of the men as connected with the underworld crime organization.


One of the trio served a federal prison sentence.


Curtin said the men, all arrested at their homes, were: Frederick Randaccio, 59. Pasquale Natarelli, 56, Nicholas Rizzo, 48, Stephen A. Cino, 30, and Salvatore J. Pieri, 56, all of Buffalo, and Daniel J. Domino, 64, of nearby Kenmore.


He identified the banks as being in Buffalo and West Virginia and the armored truck and hotel in California.


Curtin said Randaccio, Natarelli and Rizzo conspired in July 1963 to rob the Peoples Bank of Weirton West Virginia and the Weirton Savings & Loan Co.


They also were charged with violation of' the Hobbs Act, a federal law making it a crime to interfere with commerce.


In Februarv 1965. Curtin said, Randaccio', Natarelli and Cino planned to rob a truck of the Armored Transport of Los Angeles Inc. and the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel. The Hobb Act violation also was filed against them.


Pieri and Domino were charged with conspiring to rob the Fillmore-Glenwood branch of the Marine Trust Co. in Buffalo in October 1963.


Conviction on the Hobbs Act charge could draw a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. The maximum for conviction on the conspiracy charge is five years imprisonment.


In a 1963 report to a Senate crime committee, Buffalo Police claimed Randaccio was a chief lieutenant to Stefano Magaddino of Lewiston, the reputed Cosa Nostra boss in Western New York and a part of Ontario.


Police said that while Pieri was serving an 8-year, 4-month sentence in the federal prison at Atlanta for narcotics violation he was replaced as Magaddino's top aid by Randaccio.


Pieri's brother John, also known as John Rai, was sentenced to a life term in Ohio more than 25 years ago for murder.


Natarelli was described as a lieutenant under Magaddino.


Rizzo recently was cleared of a second-degree assault charge for allegedly kicking a detective during a raid on a dinner that police described as a little Apalachin meeting. He and Randaccio and 34 others also were freed of charges of consorting with known criminals.


“City Hall Bandit” Moved From Prison to Seclusion


BUFFALO, NY  July 6, 1967


Pascal F. Calabrese, a former North Tonawanda resident, sentenced to Elmira Reformatory last Sept. 6 for the 1964 robbery of the Buffalo City Hall treasurer's office, Is no longer In prison but in seclusion under heavy police guard waiting to testify in a pending trial.


A tight cloak of secrecy was wrapped around the case today by police officials in the wake of disclosure of Calabrese's status.


Calabrese, 27, who formerly resided at 28 N. Jesella Drive, was transferred about three weeks ago from Elmira Reformatory to Wallkill State Prison.


On June 6, be left the prison in the custody of two Buffalo policemen. Authorities declined to reveal his present whereabouts aside from Indicating that he was in custody under guard.


Erie County District Attorney Michael P. Dillon, who obtained a federal court order transferring Calabrese, declined to comment.


"It's an ultra - sensitive situation and it shouldn't be publically discussed at this time because there are other matters to be considered." Mr. Dillon told The NEWS.


U. S. Attorney John T. Curtin said Calabrese was In custody and not in Buffalo. Had declined further comment.


Authorities also declined to reveal where Calabrese's wife and four children were located.


Calabrese was convicted of first-degree robbery In connection with the $299,000 holdup of the city treasurer's office. He could have been sentenced to 10 to 30 years.


Supreme Court Justice Joseph A. Nevina sentenced him to the lighter term after Assistant District Attorney Sheldon M. Market said Calabrese supplied Information in the case that would not have been obtainable otherwise.


Calabrese has described himself as a gambler who made his money betting on horses and shooting pool.


Last week he was named coconspirator but not a co-defendant in Federal Court with eight men accused in a nationwide series of planned holdup plots of various banks and businesses in Buffalo, Weirton, West Virginia and Los Angeles.


None of the holdups ever materialized.


The eight pleaded innocent to conspiracy charges and are free in bail pending trial. Federal Court Judge John O. Henderson said he will hear motions In the case on July 24 in Buffalo.


Two of the suspects have been linked with Cosa Nostra crime syndicate activities in the Western New York area.


Named as defendants were Frederico G. Randaccio, 59, Salvatore J. Pieri, 86, Pasquale Natarelli, 58, Stephen A. Cino, 30, Nichols Rizzo, 48. all of Buffalo; Daniel J. Domino, 39, of

University Ave., Town of Tonawanda, and Louis F. Sorgi, 48, of Sherman Oaks, Calif.


Randaccio and Natarelli have been linked with Cosa Nostra activities during U. S. Senate hearings.


Jury Finds All 5 Defendants Guilty in Crime Plotting Case


BUFFALO, NY November 22, 1967


Five men, one of them identified as a high ranking Mafia enforcer, were convicted in Buffalo Federal Court late yesterday on charges of plotting two major robberies, one a $500,000 jewel theft in Beverly Hills California.


One of the defendants, Fredrico Randaccio, was listed in U.S. Senate testimony in 1963 as the "heir apparent" to Stefano Magaddino, head of the Western New York "family" of LaCosa Nostra.


Randaccio and the four others were found guilty of conspiring in February of 1965 to commit two robberies at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Neither of the heists materialized.


The nine-man, three – woman jury returned verdicts of guilty on both counts against the 60 year-old Randaccio and the other defendants: Pasquale Natarelli, 56, Steven Cino, 30, and Charles Caci, 30, all of Buffalo, and Louis Sorgi, 46, formerly of Buffalo and now of Sherman Oaks, Calif.


Natarelli was described in the Senate testimony as a first lieutenant to Randaccio. Cino has also been linked by authorities to the underworld.


All five face maximum sentences of up to 25 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines.


The verdicts were returned 12 hours after Federal Judge John O. Henderson wound up the three-week trial and presented the case to the jurors. No sentencing date was set and the defendants were taken into custody pending a bail hearing.


The government's case was based on the testimony of a state prison inmate currently doing time for a bold $299,000 robbery at Buffalo City Hall in 1964. Pascal Calabrese, formerly of North Tonawanda, testified he learned of the plans in conversations with the five defendants both here and on the West Coast.


According to the prosecution, the five conspired to rob an armored car messenger and to

steal about $500,000 worth of jewelry from Mrs. Walker McCune of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif,

and Phoenix, Ariz., who often stayed in the hotel's penthouse suite.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew F. Phelan, the prosecutor, identified Randaccio as "the mastermind, the brains" in the conspiracies. Natarelli, he said, was Randaccio's "right-hand man." Sorgi the chief security officer at the hotel was "the man on the inside" who made friends with Mrs. McCune and helped plan the heists, Phelan said.


Calabrese said he was told the armored car theft "would be good for about $100,000."


Five Found Guilty of Plotting Two Robberies at Beverly Hills Hotel


BUFFALO, NY November 22, 1967


(AP) - Five men, two described as Cosa Nostra figures in U.S. Senate records, have been found guilty by a U.S. District Court jury of conspiring in Feb. 1965 to commit two robberies at a Beverly Hills, Calif, hotel. Neither robbery took place.


The five men found guilty were charged by the federal government with conspiring to carry out the robbery of an armored car messenger and a jewel robbery at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.


They are Frederico G. Randaccio, 60, Pasquale Natarelli, 56, Stephen Cino, 30, Charles Caei, 30, all of Buffalo, and Louis Sorgi, 46, formerly of Buffalo and now living in Sherman Oaks, Calif.


The jury, after five hours deliberation Tuesday hi the two and a, half week trial, delivered the guilty verdict to the five on both counts—conspiring to obstruct, by robbery, the movement of money in interstate commerce, and conspiring to transport stolen money or goods in interstate commerce.


The first charge carries a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine up to $10,000. The second charge holds an up-to-five year prison term and an up to $10,000 fine.


Judge John O. Henderson of U.S. District Court ordered the ball of the five men revoked immediately on the grounds that a trial witness and his family had been threatened and had been taken into the government's protective custody.


The five faced a hearing today concerning bail revocation after they were kept overnight in Erie County Jail.


Randaccio and Natarelli have been described as being Cosa Nostra figures in U.S. Senate records. These two as well as Cino were among 36 men were among 36 men arrested in an FBI and police raid on Panaro's Lounge here last May 8 on charges of consorting with known criminals.


The next day the charges were dismissed in City Court.


(Randaccio was referred to In' 1963 Senate crime bearings as the "enforcer" and "heir apparent" to Stefano Magaddino of Lewiston, reputed Mafia lord of Canadian and Buffalo Cosa Nostra interests. Buffalo and federal law enforcement officials also connected Natarelli with Cosa Nostra activities arid the U.S. attorney's office has, placed Stephen Cino with Mafia contacts on several occasions.)


The government's main; source of testimony was Pascal F. Calabrese, 28, formerly of nearby North Tonawanda. He is now serving a jail term for a robbery at Buffalo City Hall treasury office m 1964.


Randaccio, Calabrese testified, was the mastermind of the robbery plot while Natarelli was his right hand man.


Calabrese said he  had been introduced to Sorgi by Caci when he had gone to the West Coast. Cino was described as the messenger between Buffalo and California.

Terms Total 80 Years


5 Men Sentenced In Conspiracy Case


BUFFALO NY December 12, 1967


Five men, including the reputed heir apparent to one of the country's 24 Mafia families, began serving prison terms totaling 80 years today for plotting two major west coast robberies.


The sentencing of the five by U.S. District Court Judge John O. Henderson in Buffalo yesterday marked the final step in the biggest single blow to organized crime in Western New York in several years.


The power of the Punch came from an experimental "strike force" program developed by the U.S. Department of Justice.


Fredrico Randaccio, 60, Pasquale Natarelli, 56, and Stephen A. Cino, 30, all of Buffalo, were sentenced to 20 years in prison on the first of two conspiracy

counts. They were handed concurrent five-year terms on the second count.


Randaccio was described as the number two man to alleged Cosa Nostra boss Stefano Magaddrno of Niagara Falls during testimony before the U.S. Senate four years ago.


Natarelli and Cino have also been linked to the underworld.


Charles Caci, 30, of Buffalo, and Louis F. Sorgi, 46, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., were both handed 10-year sentences on the first count and concurrent five year term on the second.


Attorneys for the men were expected to appeal the case.


All five were convicted Nov. 21 of conspiring to steal $500,000 in jewels from Mrs. Walker McCune, a wealthy California woman. They were also found guilty of plotting to rob an armored car messenger of up to $200,000. Both heists were planned for the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., but neither ever materialized


The convictions were the first in the nation under the strike force which was organized here in secret earlier this year.


A total of 14 indictments involving 31 defendants have been returned to date.


Bail for the five men was revoked immediately after the jury returned its verdicts on the basis of signed affidavits presented to Henderson. The affidavits, never made public, alleged threats against the lives of prosecution witnesses, authorities said. Henderson reaffirmed the bail revocation yesterday after defense lawyers asked that their clients be freed pending appeal.


The government's case was based on the testimony of Pascal Calabrese, formerly of North Tonawanda, a state prison inmate serving time for a $299,000 robbery at Buffalo City Hall.


Calabrese was indicted as a co-conspirator m the case, but not a co-defendant.


The strike force headed by attorneys from the organized crime section of the justice department's criminal division pools the manpower, knowledge and resources of several agencies ranging from the labor department to city police and from the  U.S. Secret Service to the Royal Canadian Royal Mounted Police.

Randaccio and Natarelli are also under indictment for plotting to rob a bank and a savings and loan association in Weirton, W.Va. No trial date has been set.

Kenmore Man Seeks To Locate Children


BUFFALO, NY July 30, 1971


Theodore Leonhard, 31, of 411 Hazeltine Ave., Kenmore, yesterday filed suit in Federal Court in Buffalo to compel the U.S. Department of Justice and others to let him know where his three children are being kept.


The children reportedly are with their stepfather, Pascal Calabrese, 31, and his wife, Rochelle, Mr. Leonhard's former wife. But federal agencies have been keeping the whereabouts of Calabrese secret since he became an informer in an organized crime case.


Meanwhile, a state court order gave Mr. Leonhard custody of the children: Michael, 11; Karen, 10, and Stephan, 8.


Mr. Leonhard sued for total custody when he failed to get the visiting rights that a court had granted him previously.


Now he's also suing the FBI, the organized Crime Strike Force and Thomas A. Kennelly, now a deputy chief in the strike force, as well as the Department of Justice in his attempt to locate and regain his children.


In December 1966, Mr. Leonhard was divorced by his wife and she was given custody of the three children. She married Calabrese in August 1967.


Widely thought to be target of gunmen as a "Fed" informer, Calabrese and his wife have been living in a secret place under federal protection.


That was given after his testimony resulted in conviction of five men, including Frederico Randaccio, second high man in the area organized crime totem pole.


Calabrese himself was arrested and convicted for a $299,000 Buffalo city treasurers office holdup in 1964.


Calabrese Whereabouts Remains Guarded Secret


BUFFALO NY May 25, 1972


U.S. District Court Judge John 0. Henderson ruled yesterday in Buffalo that the federal government does not have to disclose the whereabouts of a government informer who was relocated after testifying at a 1967 trial of a reputed Mafia figure.


Henderson ruled on a suit brought by Thomas Leonhard, 32, of 282 Miland Ave., Town of Tonawanda, who sought the whereabouts of Pascal Calabrese, who testified as a government witness at the 1967 trial of reputed Mafia underboss Fredrico Randaccio and four others.


Calabrese formerly resided in North Tonawanda.


Leonhard and his wife were divorced in 1966 and she was granted custody of their three children. She married Calabrese in August, 1967.


Calabrese, who admitted being a member of an organized crime syndicate, was relocated with his family to protect him from any possible reprisals for his role as a government witness.


In June, 1971, a State Supreme Court justice granted a full custody of the children to Leonhard.


Leonhard argued that despite the order he had not seen his children for four years and was deprived of his court ordered visitation rights under the previous setup.


Calabrese was convicted in 1966 of first-degree robbery in the theft of $299,130 from the Buffalo City Treasurer's office in 1964 and could have been sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. However, he was sentenced to an indeterminate term in Elmira Reformatory.


Hendenson said that Thomas Kennelly. deputy chief of the organized crime and racketeering section of the U.S. Justice Department at the time of the trial, had stated he would not disclose Calabrese's whereabouts.


Henderson said that Kennelly was the only person who knows where Calabrese was living and that he believed to disclose the location would jeopardize the children's safety.


Henderson ruled that there was no indication that the government's refusal to disclose the whereabouts of the children was motivated by anything but an attempt to keep its promise to Calabrese.


Randaccio and four others were convicted of planning to rob jewels from a wealthy guest at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles and to rob an armored car messenger at the hotel.


Randaccio was sentenced to a 20- year prison term as result of the conviction. The four others also were given lengthy prison sentences.


Prison Term Goes Unserved For Five Years


BUFFALO NY October 24, 1973


Joseph Erhart, 45, of Buffalo has had a prison sentence hanging over his head for the past five years.


He was charged with conspiring to rob the Fillmore-Glenwood Branch of the Marine Midland Bank Western 1423 Fillmore Ave . Buffalo on Oct 21.

1964. and sentenced in 1968


The government's principal .witness in the case was Pascal 'Paddy' Calabrese, 33. who resided at 28 N Jesella Drive. North Tonawanda several years ago.


Calabrese. who is now in hiding under another name with government protection, first came to public notice when he staged a daring daylight holdup of the Buffalo City Treasurer's office in 1964,


Also a key witness in the conviction, of alleged Mafia leader Frederico Randaccio for his role in California robberies.


Calabrese also was involved in a case in Buffalo Federal Court.


He married a woman with several children and the woman's ex husband is seeking custody of the children, but the government won't reveal Calabrese's whereabouts


Erhart appeared in Buffalo Federal Court yesterday before U.S. District Court Judge John O. Henderson, the same judge who sentenced him in 1968 to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.


What both Erhart and Henderson didn't figure on was the apparent administrative foul-up which followed.


Erhart was free on bond while he appealed his conviction, working at a car rental agency In 1969.


The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal but an order to pick up Erhart apparently never arrived in Buffalo.


He remained a free man until last week when the FBI asked him to pay the $10,000 fine. "They asked me if I was ever in jail." Erhart said "and I said no."


"For the first two years, every time my phone rang I shuddered." Erhart added. "This has been over my head for five years."


Henderson said he could not rule on the matter until the missing orders arrived regarding Erhart.


Erliart's attorney, meanwhile, has asked Henderson to reconsider the original, sentence, citing his client's '"exemplary" conduct over the past five years.


U.S. Attorney John T. Elfvin termed Erhart's freedom the result of a "great big goof-up." "This guy is very fortunate," Elfvin said, "very lucky."


Calabrese Says He's Not Worried


Randaccio Released From Federal Prison, Served 11 Years Of 20 Sentence


BUFFALO, NY July 3, 1979


(UPI) - A former North Tonawanda resident whose testimony sent a reputed organized crime underboss to prison in 1968 says he does not fear reprisals after the recent release of Frederico Randaccio from a federal prison, published reports say.


"I'm not worried," Pasquale Calabrese, a convicted robber turned government informer,

said Monday.


If he had taken care of what he was supposed to take care of, he wouldn't be getting out of

anywhere right now." Randaccio, 72, was released Pa., federal prison camp after serving more than 11 years of a 20-year sentence for conspiring to commit two West Coast



Randaccio was identified by Joe Valachi during a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing in the

early 1960s as a lieutenant in the western New York organized crime family of the late Stefano Magaddino.


Calabrese, now living in another part of the country, has maintained he agreed to testify

against Randaccio when he and other members of the underworld refused to furnish promised bail money and legal fees after his arrest for a 1964 Buffalo City Hall robbery.


In return for his testimony, the federal government moved Calabrese and his family to another city and gave them new identities, making them among the first members of the federal Witness Protection Program.


"He's got to think twice about trying something," said Calabrese. "I'm the government's No. 1 witness, and I'm sure they would make some move toward Freddie himself if something happens to me."


The turmoil caused by Calabrese's entry into the witness program and subsequent moves of himself, his wife and step children was the partial basis of a book and movie, "Hide In Plain Sight."


The yet-to-be released movie, filmed last summer in Buffalo, details the eight-year search by Thomas Leonhard for his children, who were living with thier mother, Mrs. Calabrese.


A Father's Long, Bitter Search for His Children Ends at the Doorstep of the U.S. Government


By George Borrelli


BUFFALO, NY January 08, 1979


Later this month in federal district court in Buffalo, N.Y. an astonishing 11-year-old imbroglio will finally come to trial: the case of Tom Leonhard, a 39-year-old cement mason who has sued the U.S. government for $10.5 million in damages for depriving him of the right to "raise, rear and nurture his children."


Leonhard's bizarre, Kafkaesque tale is already a book, titled Hide in Plain Sight, and actor James Caan is directing and starring in the movie of the same name. But no dramatized account could match Leonhard's chilling real-life battle with an unlikely enemy—the U.S. law enforcement apparatus—in order to see his son and daughter, who disappeared in a limousine in June 1967.

A year later Leonhard would learn that he was a victim of the witness protection program, under which 2,700 government witnesses, most of them in organized crime cases, have been relocated and given new identities.


Leonhard's first wife, Rochelle, divorced him in 1966 to marry one such Mafia informant, Pascal "Paddy" Calabrese, a small-time heist man in Buffalo. With him and her three children (one of whom apparently was Calabrese's), she fled underground eventually to a new life in Reno, Nev.


But on that June afternoon 11 years ago, all Tom Leonhard knew was that when he arrived for his Sunday visit with his son Mike, 7, and daughter Karen, 6, no one answered his knock at the door. Rochelle's relatives said that she and the children had "gone away for a while," but they didn't know where. "I told myself I'd wait awhile," he recalls, "that they couldn't just disappear without anyone knowing their whereabouts.


Later I went to the Buffalo police, and they insisted they didn't know anything. The FBI told me to wait, be patient." Finally the newspapers reported that Calabrese had been relocated with his wife and children.

What followed, Leonhard says, was "one big runaround." When he confronted Buffalo police, an officer told him bluntly, "Leave well enough alone. Don't meddle. This is a government thing."


Having gone bankrupt because of large credit card debts left behind by his former wife, he was unable to get a lawyer or investigator to help him. "They all shied away from the case," he says bitterly. "They said it would be a long, expensive battle, and I didn't have the money to finance it."

In 1968 Leonhard remarried, and he subsequently decided to adopt his new wife's daughter by a previous marriage. The lawyer who drew up the papers was a former public defender named Salvatore Martoche, who had just gone into private practice. When Leonhard told him what was happening with his own children, "Sal just shook his head," he recalls. "He didn't believe me." Finally Martoche agreed to help.

Together they managed to pry loose the name of a man who knew where Calabrese was—Thomas Kennelly, then head of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force in Buffalo. 


Refusing to break his vow of secrecy, Kennelly did agree to forward letters from Leonhard to his ex-wife. Rochelle ignored 12 of them, and then, in February 1971, sent Martoche a reply to the 13th. "I am writing this letter in regards to your client," she began. "It seems he is concerned about his children's health and welfare. Please inform him that it is excellent. Also inform [him] that in no way shall I ever allow him to see them...I shall not read nor answer any more letters."

Leonhard's progress in court was no better. A New York State court awarded him custody of the two children, but repeated attempts in federal court to force the government to produce them failed. One court said it would take "the wisdom of Solomon" to decide the case, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review it.


Leonhard at one point considered some dramatic gesture to call attention to his plight—taking a hostage or hijacking a plane, "but I knew I could never do anything like that," he says. "I was confused, bewildered. I felt my government had let me down. I was angry that the government was taking care of Paddy Calabrese, a criminal, while I was struggling to find my children. I was beginning to think it was hopeless."

Then the case took a sudden dramatic turn.


Early in 1975 Rochelle and Calabrese separated, and she apparently had a change of heart. "I'll never forget that July Fourth," says lawyer Martoche. "The telephone at my home rang, and a voice on the other end said: 'Hi, Sal, this is Ro. I made a terrible mistake. I just told the kids who their real father is.'


Two weeks later Tom Leonhard and his second wife, Joanne, were on a plane to Reno for a tearful reunion with his children.

But it was not the happy ending Tom had envisioned. "When I saw them," he remembers, "they had grown up. It tore me up inside. I had lost all those years."


Perhaps understandably, the children chose to remain with their mother in Reno (although they have visited Tom on several occasions since 1975), and he has not pressed his right to custody.


"We have not been able to recapture what we lost," he says. "The children were raised differently from the way I would have raised them, with different values. The eight years are gone and can never be replaced, and the government can never make things even."


He leaves the larger point to his lawyer. "The whole thrust of this case is abuse of power by the government," says Martoche. "We want to establish the precedent that government agents can't interfere with the rights of parents and children to be together. If it could happen to Tom Leonhard, it could happen to anyone."


Calabrese Dead


Pascal Calabrese, "Hide in Plain Sight" Case Informant Who Brought Down Buffalo Mafia Dies


Buffalo News Oct. 21, 2005


Pascal Calabrese, June 15, 1939 -- Oct. 13, 2005 the first Mafia informant to be given a new identity by the federal government, died Oct. 13, 2005 in Kalispell, Mont., after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 66.


Mr. Calabrese, who was known as Paddy, had been a private investigator for the last 25 years. He had moved to Seattle 18 years ago from Spokane, Wash., where he had operated Sherlock Holmes Cafe & Precinct House. The business closed in 1981 after the revelation that the chief of the intelligence unit of the Spokane Police Department had invested $50,000 as a secret partner.


Mr. Calabrese, formerly of Buffalo, first made headlines in the 1960s after being convicted of the armed robbery of the treasurer's office in Buffalo City Hall. He testified against major Mafia figures, including Buffalo Mafia boss Frederico Randaccio, who was sentenced to 20 years for conspiracy.


After going into hiding under an assumed name, Mr. Calabrese lived in Reno, Nev., for five years, working as a security consultant for gambling casinos.


Soon, he was boldly consorting with criminals as an undercover agent for the government. Sometimes he would slip back into Buffalo to consult with police Detective Sgt. Samuel N. Giambrone, who had persuaded him to testify against the mob.


As a freelance undercover agent during the 1970s, Mr. Calabrese was credited with playing a major role in cracking a vice and gambling ring on the Alaska pipeline.


Then, working with U.S. and Canadian authorities, he infiltrated a counterfeit-money ring, leading to the arrest of six Mafia figures and the seizure of $1.2 million in bogus money in Vancouver, British Columbia; Spokane; and Toronto. He was featured in "Connection," a CBC documentary on the case.


When he left Buffalo in 1967 under a new identity, he took with him his wife, the former Rochelle Greco, and four children, including two fathered by Rochelle's first husband, Thomas Leonhard. Leonhard and his lawyer, now-State Supreme Court Justice Salvatore R. Martoche, spent six years trying to get the government to reveal the whereabouts of his children.


They finally were reunited after the Calabreses divorced in 1975. Rochelle Greco died in Reno in 2003.


Leslie Waller told the story of Leonhard's search in the 1976 book "Hide in Plain Sight," which was made into a movie with the same title. Filmed in Buffalo in 1978, it featured Robert Viharo as Calabrese and James Caan, who directed, as Leonhard.


"Paddy Calabrese touched off the demise of the Buffalo Mafia," said Lee Coppola, who wrote extensively about Mr. Calabrese as a reporter with The Buffalo News and is now dean of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism & Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University.


"When he broke the Mafia's code of silence, he started a snowball effect that led to other informants, other convictions and eventually to the death of the Buffalo Mafia," Coppola said. "His life in hiding was the precursor to what we know today as the Witness Security Program. Only, back then, there was no program and no security, and Paddy relied on his street smarts and wiliness to stay alive when others wanted him dead. In the scheme of things, the Buffalo community owes him a debt of gratitude."


Survivors include two sons, Steve of Reno and Samuel of Puyallup, Wash.; a daughter, Patricia Calabrese-Herald of Winlock, Wash.; a stepson, Michael Leonhard of Sparks, Nev.; a stepdaughter, Karen Leonhard of Reno; his father, Joseph of North Tonawanda; a brother, Joseph Jr. of Las Vegas; two sisters, Barbara Jakubowski of New York City and Julie Kraschinsky of California; six grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren.




Supreme Court of Montana Submitted January 22, 1987. Decided February 13, 1987.


Appeal from the District Court of Lincoln County. Nineteenth Judicial District. Hon. R.D. McPhillips, Judge Presiding. David W. Harman, argued, Libby, for defendant and appellant.


Mike Greely, Atty. Gen., Helena, Clay R. Smith, Asst. Atty. Gen., Edward M. Dobson, argued, Legal Intern, Helena, William A. Douglas argued, Lincoln Co. Atty. Libby, for plaintiff and respondent.


MR. JUSTICE HUNT delivered the Opinion of the Court.


This is an appeal of a criminal conviction arising from the Nineteenth Judicial District, in and for Lincoln County, Montana. Defendant was convicted of the felonious sale of dangerous drugs and now appeals. We affirm.


On appeal, defendant raises two issues. The first is whether the District Court erred by allowing Paddy Calabrese to testify about statements made by John Loomis implicating defendant as the drug supplier. The second issue is whether the District Court erred in its circumstantial evidence jury instruction.


This case began with an undercover narcotics investigation conducted in Lincoln County, Montana, in 1983. County Attorney William Douglas hired Paddy Calabrese, a private investigator from Spokane, Washington, to undertake this investigation.


From the inception of the operation, the prime targets of this investigation were John and Debbie Loomis, a married couple living in or near Libby, Montana. Calabrese accordingly contacted the Loomises, pretending to be a real estate developer from Seattle. This relationship soon blossomed to the point that Calabrese made a series of minor narcotics purchases from the Loomises.


Calabrese then entered into an agreement with John Loomis for Loomis to sell Calabrese two kilograms of cocaine for $58,000 per kilo. During the course of these negotiations, Calabrese came to believe that the cocaine would be supplied by the defendant, Ralph Stever.


The sale of the first kilo was scheduled for August 5, 1983. Prior to this purchase, Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputies gave Calabrese money for the purchase. The officers had recorded the serial numbers of the bills, but had not marked them with any tracing element.


According to his testimony at trial, Calabrese arrived at the Loomis residence with the purchase money at approximately 8:30 on the night of August 5. He showed Loomis the purchase money in his briefcase and a brief discussion followed. Approximately twenty minutes after Calabrese's arrival, Loomis left his residence in a vehicle, for a place unknown to Calabrese, to pick up the cocaine. After approximately another twenty minutes, Loomis returned and informed Calabrese that the price had increased to $62,500 per kilo, and that half of that price was due in advance. Calabrese gave Loomis $30,000 and Loomis again left.


Loomis returned in approximately twenty-five minutes and offered Calabrese two bags containing cocaine. Calabrese accepted the bags and paid Loomis the balance of $32,500. Calabrese then left the Loomis residence and signaled the Sheriff's deputies. Again, during the sale, Calabrese came to conclude that Stever supplied the cocaine.


Upon their arrest of Loomis, the Sheriff's deputies discovered that he did not have in his possession all of the initial $30,000 advance money given him by Calabrese. When asked the location of the missing money, Loomis named several possible locations where it might be found. The first of these locations which the deputies checked was the residence of one Tom Hileman.


Approximately fifteen minutes after their arrival at the Hileman residence, the police discovered Stever hiding in the bushes at the side of the house and promptly placed him under arrest. Officer Neil Bauer later testified at trial that when he questioned Stever subsequent to his arrest, Stever attempted to strike a bargain for his freedom in return for disclosing the location of the missing purchase money. Stever denied making these comments.


Roughly three hours after Stever's arrest, a deputy searching the area found the missing money hidden beneath some boards in the back yard of the Hileman residence. Police also later found in a wood stove within the Hileman residence a paper bag similar to the one into which Loomis had placed the missing money.


At trial, the State introduced other evidence in its attempt to establish that Loomis received the cocaine from Stever. Jerry Johnston testified that he (Johnston) was living in the Hileman residence at that time and returned to the house around 9:00 p.m. on August 5. When he arrived, Johnston saw John Loomis on the front porch of the house talking with Stever.


Johnston further testified that Loomis remained at the Hileman residence for roughly ten to twenty minutes and then departed for fifteen to twenty  minutes. Johnston stated that Loomis returned, again conversed with Stever — this time for five or ten minutes — and then departed. While he was able to hear Loomis and Stever talking, Johnston stated that he could not tell what they were talking about.


The State argued that Johnston's testimony fully corroborated the time sequence of Calabrese's testimony. The round trip driving time between the Loomis and Hileman residences according to the testimony is approximately seven and one-half minutes. At trial, Stever was found guilty of sale of dangerous drugs.


The first issue we must decide is whether the District Court erred by allowing Calabrese to testify about statements made by John Loomis implicating Stever as the drug supplier.


In its prosecution of the defendant the State relied heavily upon the testimony of Calabrese, who related several statements made to him by John Loomis which implicated the defendant as the cocaine supplier.


Under the terms of an earlier plea bargain agreement, the State had agreed not to call Loomis to testify at Stever's trial. Because of that agreement, the State had to introduce Loomis's incriminating testimony through Calabrese, over the objection of the defendant that the use of such testimony violated both the hearsay rule and the Confrontation Clause.


A. The Challenged Testimony.


Calabrese testified at trial that Loomis implicated the defendant in several statements throughout the course of their dealings. The first two statements were allegedly made on July 20, 1983, when Calabrese and Loomis were stopped south of Libby by road construction and the defendant was in the car immediately in front of them. Loomis first said to Calabrese:


"Stay right here. I'm getting out of the car. That's our elbow man, my toot [cocaine] man's right here in front of us."


Loomis then rode with defendant for a while as Calabrese followed. After Loomis returned to Calabrese's car, Calabrese testified that:


"Mr. Loomis said to me that he just got confirmation from Ralph that he could get as much cocaine as we wanted to purchase and he referred to him — `he's like Jesus Christ.'"


The remaining statements were allegedly uttered on August 5,

1983, the date of the sale:


"Mr. Loomis stated to me that the price was $62,500.00 for a kilo and I asked him, I think we had a conversation the next day that the kilo would be going down in price and he stated to me he would need $30,000.00 up front and he would bring a kilo back. Because that's the way Ralph wanted to do the deal.


"When John Loomis gave me the kilo, he turned around and said a couple of ounces were missing out of it and he would have it replaced with the other kilo through Ralph tomorrow.


"Q. How often was Ralph's name mentioned by Mr. Loomis in these conversations?


"A. Probably the last day it was mentioned more than any other day. I think three times the last day.


"Q. And, was it made clear to you by Mr. Loomis as to who was the supplier of this cocaine — who he was going to be?


"A. Yes it was.


"Q. And, who was that person?


"A. Ralph Stever."


The first issue is whether these statements were properly admitted.


B. The Hearsay Rule.


A review of the record reveals that the District Court, without explaining its decision, admitted this testimony under the coconspirator exemption to the hearsay rule. This exemption, Rule 801(d)(2)(E), states:


"A statement is not hearsay if . . . [t]he statement is offered against a party and is . . . a statement by a coconspirator of a party during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy."


In this case, the State presented Calabrese's testimony relating Loomis's two trips taken on the night of the sale to pick up the cocaine. This testimony, read in conjunction with the observations of Jerry Johnston at the Hileman residence, provides strong circumstantial proof supporting the State's argument.


Further, the State presented the defendant's arrest while hiding in the bushes alongside the Hileman residence and the later discovery of the drug transaction money in Hileman's back yard. While these two events are not necessarily related, their relationship can be confirmed by the testimony of Officer Bauer who stated that the defendant offered to show Bauer the location of the money in exchange for the defendant's release.


We fail to find any error in this issue. Even were we to accept defendant's statement of the law, his proposed instruction is warranted only where the case of the State rests substantially or entirely upon circumstantial evidence. Here, the State had introduced Officer Bauer's direct evidence of defendant's

statement connecting him with the money. Second, the State introduced the direct evidence of Loomis's statements, admissible, as we have shown, under Rule 801(d)(2)(E). Once admitted, they could be used to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Defendant was not entitled to his proffered instruction, given the direct evidence in this case.







Robert Viharo

E-Mail received from Actor/Film Producer Robert Viharo who played Jack Scolese in the movie “Hide In Plain Sight” filmed in Buffalo NY 1980.


From: Piazza del Popolo Productions

To: M Kaska

Sent: Sunday, August 08, 2010 1:56 PM

Subject: Re: Hide In Plain Sight Buffalo Police Then and Now


Mike...great job on the best thing about the movie for me was meeting all the people in Buffalo...on both 'sides'...especially Joey Giambra (Retired Buffalo Police Detective) my life long good friend...thanks for sending this Mike...Robert

Visit Author Mike Rizzo's Mob Tours Web Page Click Here   

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