Arrest in 'Goodfellas' 1978 Lufthansa heist

Arrest in 'Goodfellas' 1978 Lufthansa heist

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Vincent Asaro, 78 Vincent Asaro, 78
FBI agents escort Vincent Asaro out of federal court in Brooklyn, Jan. 23, 2014. FBI agents escort Vincent Asaro out of federal court in Brooklyn, Jan. 23, 2014.
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) - The feds have busted a man in connection the investigation into the 1978 Lufthansa Terminal heist at New York's John F. Kennedy airport.

The FBI said that Vincent Asaro, 78, of Queens has been arrested as a direct result of the investigation. His son was also arrested on other mob-related charges.

More than $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewels were netted in the heist, which took place on Dec. 11, 1978, and was made famous in the 1990 film "Goodfellas."

At the time, it was the biggest heist ever in the U.S. It led to a years-long investigation that hit many dead ends.

Asaro pleaded not guilty in a Brooklyn federal court on Thursday afternoon.

"As alleged, Vincent Asaro devoted his adult life to the Bonanno crime family, with a criminal career that spanned decades. Far from a code of honor, theirs was a code of violence and brute force," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "Those suspected of cooperating with law enforcement paid with their lives. Asaro helped pull off the 1978 Lufthansa robbery—still the largest bank robbery in New York history. Neither age nor time dimmed Asaro’s ruthless ways, as he continued to order violence to carry out mob business in recent months."

The arrest was reportedly the result of an FBI search last summer at the New York home of James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke. Burke, a member of the Lucchese crime family, planned the crime.

Burke allegedly ordered the killings of anyone who could implicate him in connection with the heists and several people connected to the case ended up dead.

Burke was convicted of murder and died of cancer in 1996.

Burke was the inspiration for the character "Jimmy Conway" played by Robert De Niro in "Goodfellas."

Four other men the FBI says are associated with the Bonanno organized crime family were also arrested on various racketeering, robbery and extortion charges.

Click here to download the indictment (PDF)

Defendants:

Vincent Asaro

Age: 78

Howard Beach, New York

Jerome Asaro

Age: 55

Bethpage, New York

Jack Bonventre

Age: 45

Campbell Hall, New York

Thomas Di Fiore, also known as “Tommy D”

Age: 70

Commack, New York

John Ragano, also known as “Bazoo”

Age: 52

Rockaway, New York


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