He was a vicious killer from the time he was 18 years old, but Abes “Kid Twist” Reles was not human. When it came to push and push, he was nothing more than a pot-bellied canary who betrayed his best friends to save his own skin.
Abraham Reles was born in the Brownsville section in Brooklyn, New York, on May 10, 1906. His father was an Austrian Jew who immigrated to America in search of a better life. But, having worked for many years as a humble worker in the clothing trade, he began selling knives on the streets of Brooklyn from a mobile stand.
Quickly realizing that his father’s life was not for him, Relay five feet two inches dropped out of school after an eighth grader. Soon, he worked as a gopher for the influential brothers Shapiro, Meyer, Irving and Willie, who drove rackets in the Brownsville section in Brooklyn. Reles was forced to carry out errands and do light work for Shapiro, sometimes only five bucks apiece. One of these missions was to watch one of Shapiro's many slot machines, and for this Reles took a bullet in his back, which caused nothing but flesh, but a big blow to Reles's ego. Around the same time, Reles was reportedly nicknamed Kid Twist in honor of a previous Jewish bandit in New York named Zwerbach's Max Kid Twist, who, strangely enough, was also killed on Coney Island.
Annoyed and reluctant to continue to get the short end of the stick from Shapiros, Reles formed his own little gang, consisting of childhood friend Bugsy Goldstein and the Italian duo Happy Maione and Dasher Abbendado. Soon, Pittsburgh Phil sadist-killer Strauss joined the team, and Reles announced when he was twenty years old that he and his boys were about to pick up Brownsville and all of his racquets from Shapiros. Reles called his motley killer team "Brooklyn Inc."
"Why should we take the leftovers?" Reles asked Goldstein. “We have to cut a piece. Damn with these guys. "
When Sheypiros became aware that Reles was planning, Meyer, the clan boss, was furious. “Brownsville belongs to us,” said Meyer Shapiro. "No one is moving here."
Meyer Shapiro fired the first salvo in the Brownsville control war, tearing Rils' girlfriend out of the street, brutally beating and raping her. Now it was Reles’s private affair, and he and Goldstein walked the streets of Brownsville, trying to kill all three Shapiro, but mostly Meyer, because of the humiliation of his desecration of Relay’s girlfriend. Throughout the year, Reles and Goldstein shot Meyer Shapiro 19 times, but only wounded him once. Then, one night, believing that Meyer Shapiro and his two brothers were ambushed in front of their apartment building on Blake Avenue, Reles was saddened to find only Irving. As soon as Irving Shapiro entered his apartment on the fifth floor, Reles and Goldstein emptied their weapons, first hitting Irving in the face twice and then sixteen times in the back.
A few days later, Reles and his boys drove Meyer into a corner of Shapiro in the streets of Brooklyn. The only bullet in Meyer Sharpiro’s ear released by Reles knocked Shapiro out of the hands of the Brownsville boss. It took Reles three years to finally destroy Willy Shapiro, who threatened to kill Relay and his friends all the time. After being kidnapped, Willy Shapiro was taken to a Brooklyn cellar in a bar, beaten mercilessly, and then buried in a shallow sand dune in Canarsi. Soon, Willy Shapiro’s body was found, and an autopsy expert found sand in his lungs, which means he was buried alive.
The triumph of Reles and his boys over the Shapiro brothers caught the eye of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, and soon Brooklyn Inc. became a corporation of Murder Incorporated. Lepke was said to have had dozens of killers on his payroll, and during the decade of the 30s, according to police estimates, Murder Incorporated was responsible for as many as five hundred hits nationwide.
Yet nothing good lasts forever. On February 2, 1940, Reles, Goldstein, and Anthony "Dukey" Maffetore were arrested for the murder of a small hood named Red Alpert in 1934. Muffetore was the first to indict the states against his team, but the biggest rat jewel for the district attorney, William O'Dwyer, was Reles, who was the highest-ranking member of the Kill Modeled organization. At the Lepke trial, in which Mendy Weiss and Louis Capone also participated as defendants, Reles, who had a photographic memory, spoke in detail about more than 200 murders involving the defendants. All three former friends of Reles were subsequently convicted and fried in an Sing Sing electric chair.
However, the government did not end Reles squealing. They wanted him to be the main witness at the upcoming trials of the "big shots" of the company "Murder Incorporated" Albert Anastasia and Bugsy Siegel. While Reles was expecting a few more trips to court, Oh & # 39; Dwyer hid Reles at the Half Moon Hotel, located on the sandy beaches of Coney Island. Reles was under constant police protection, and at least six policemen guarded him at the same time, even when he was sleeping.
However, in the early morning hours of November 12, 1941, Reles died to death from a window on the sixth floor of the hotel. He was found lying obliquely on his back, in a jacket, but his white shirt was unbuttoned, exposing a thick belly. Several sheets were found tied, and although Reles' body was found twenty feet from the base of the hotel, the official cause of death was listed as "death from falling while trying to escape." After the death of Reles, O'Dwyer announced that his future affairs “went out the window” with Reles.
A few years later, Italian crime boss Lucky Luciano said that Frank Costello paid $ 50,000 to distribute it to the New York City Police Department to see if a person who could “sing like a canary” could fly like one too.