Hunt For A Killer: Is the Horse and Harness Theft Connected?

In my continued search for the killer of my great grandfather Vincenzo Civitano, I came across something very interesting that could play a role in the reason for the death of Vincenzo.

Born in Grumo Appula, Italy in 1868 Vincenzo immigrated to New York City on June 19, 1903. Traveling with him was his nephew, his brothers son, Francesco b. 1884.

Like Vincenzo, in those early years Francesco was also in the family ice and coal delivery business. Had they started out together in those early years of 1903 – 1909?

Family lore records that Vincenzo was stabbed to death due to an argument over ice delivery routes. His death is documented but the assailant is unknown. There was a trial and the assailant did jail time. All records for the trial were recorded under the assailants name which has been the problem in locating the trial transcript. As I continue to look for clues and information, I turned once again to I came a cross an article that I found interesting and possibly connected with a stitch of imagination.

1The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York) · 6 Jun 1910, Mon · Page 4

In the first column a little below midway down “Shapiro was convicted for stealing two horses and harness the property of Frank Civitano, valued at $500, on March 31, 1909. 

Finding this article raises a number of questions for me. Again, family lore was that Vincenzo was stabbed over an argument regarding ice delivery routes. It would have to be quite an argument to result in his murder.

Shapiro was being sentenced for the horse and harness theft that occurred on March 31st, 1909.

Vincenzo was murdered on October 12, 1909.

We  know that Vincenzo’s wife Nicoletta had remained in New York to testify in the trail before she could return to Italy with her two small children. Nicoletta was still here on April 18th, 1910, the time of the census which was just a few weeks before the sentencing trial of Morris Shapiro on June 6th. Was this just a coincidence?

I am not suggesting that Morris Shapiro was the murderer but what if Vincenzo’s homicide was a carry over from the theft incident of Frank Civitano’s property. What if the gang was trying to hamper Frank from doing business, that is if the horse and harness was for the delivery business. Is it possible that the ‘argument’ was a result of gang activity trying to take over the ice/coal delivery business that our family was involved in? Had the ‘Abe Lewis Gang’ wanted their delivery routes?

It’s a far out there reach I know and just questions, just, what ifs?




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