Paul Jaworski (1 Viewer)


Paul Jaworski

Birth name: Paul Poluszynski

Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Polish-American gangster - Robberies
Number of victims: 20 +
Date of murders: 1926 - 1928
Date of arrest: September 13, 1928
Date of birth: 1900
Victims profile: Men
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Ohio/Michigan/Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Executed by electrocution in Pennsylvania on January 2, 1929

Paul Jaworski (born Paul Poluszynski, 1900, died January 21, 1929) was a Polish-American gangster born in Poland. He immigrated to the United States in 1905. Although born to Catholic parents, when offered the services of a chaplain before his execution Jaworski said:

"I preached atheism since the day I quit singing the choir. A man is yellow if he spends his life believing in nothing and then comes crawling to the church because he is afraid his death is near."

The first armored car robbery

He was the leader of the "Flatheads" gang, who committed the first-ever armored car robbery, on March 11, 1927. The gang stole over $104,000 from an armored vehicle on Bethel Road, 7 miles outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The bandits placed a landmine under the roadbed, and made off with money that was on its way to Coverdale, Pennsylvania for the Pittsburgh Terminal Coal Company.

Detroit News payroll robbery

The gang was also known for the payroll robbery of The Detroit News business offices in 1928.


He was sentenced to death in Pennsylvania on January 2, but received a stay of execution, until a sanity evaluation could be completed. Jaworski was executed by electric chair in Pennsylvania for a separate payroll robbery which resulted in a murder. The execution took place on 21 January, 1929.

Paul Jarwarski (died on January 2, 1929) was Polish-American gangster in Cleveland, Ohio. He was born to Polish-Catholic parents but he later decided to became an atheist. The book "Gangland International" by James Morton, has information on Polish gangsters in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The following text is from the book is in quotations: Page 235-236 "Gangland International" by James Morton.

"Of course pre-war crime in Cleveland had not been wholly from the Italian and Jewish element. There were at least two major Polish-led gangs of robbers. One was the Flatheads led by Paul Jawarski.

On 13 September 1928 when Jawarski and Frank "whitey" Kraft were caught in a restaurant, Kraft ran out the back but Jawarski holed up in Chambers Avenue. He was driven out by tear gas and was shot. It was not thought he would survive, but he did so. He has already shot a prison guard escaping from Pittsburgh, and was said to have killed up to 26 people including a former gang member who was also a drug addict. Jawarski, rather than see him suffer, threw his body in the river.

Returned to Pennsylvania where he was electrocuted on 2 January, Jawarski declined the services of the prison chaplain, saying: I preached atheism since the day I quit singing the choir. A man is yellow if he spends his life believing in nothing and then comes crawling to the church because he is afraid his death is near."

"Shorty before his execution, Jawarski sent his friends a postcard with his future address - 45 Hellsfire Road, 6/14 miles from Hell. Father Pat O'Brien would not have used him as an example. Frank "Whitey" Kraft was later killed by police in Detroit."


Gangland International: The Mafia and Other Mobs by James Morton, 1998, ISBN 0-7515-2237-6. "Reprinted 2000, 2001. Non-Fiction. The moral right of the author has been asserted". Pages: 235-236, Chapter 10: Cleveland

The Great Detroit News Payroll Robbery

For The News, proud of its many "beats," was beaten by more than an hour on the story of its own holdup, June 6, 1928. The Detroit Times, which suspended publication in 1960, was selling extras at The News door before News presses started to roll.

Here's how it happened:

At 11 a.m., shortly before the noon edition was to go to press, five men carrying paper bags entered the building and walked to second floor business offices. At a given signal the bags were ripped open, baring shotguns, and the robbery was underway.

In The News city room, Mabel Kerr, veteran switchboard operator, was talking to Harvey Patton (father of a later Detroit News managing editor) when another News employee who had witnessed the commotion in the business office, entered the city room and announced, "My gawd, we are being robbed." Miss Kerr relayed the report to Patton, who summoned police

A shot rang out. Paymaster Edward Krell rushed into the city room, brandishing a .45 revolver and shouting, "Where did they go?"

Then a city editor announced, "Maybe we ought to have a story." But most of his staff was looking out a bay of windows at the excitement down on the street.

Five men had entered the building and a sixth waited in a getaway car on Lafayette. Paul Jaworski, the ringleader who subsequently died in the electric chair for a payroll holdup-murder in Pennsylvania, gave the details to police when he eventually was captured.

Jaworski said the gang expected to get $65,000. (It settled for $14,826.) He planned the holdup, he admitted, after "casing" News offices for several days

After seizing available payroll envelopes the bandits raced down a stairway to the first floor lobby. There they met Sgt. George Barstad, a traffic patrolman who rushed into the building to investigate the commotion. Barstad was shot to death on the front steps by two of the gunmen.

In the street, the gang confronted Patrolman Guyot N. Craig, a police marksman. Craig emptied his gun at the fleeing car, leaving at least one bullet hole in the stolen Ford.

In the exchange of gunfire, Craig suffered minor wounds. So did Joseph W. Worten, a News advertising salesman, who was sprayed with gunshot pellets in his legs and hand as he approached the building, apparently unaware of the robbery in progress.

While this was going on, the Times, acting on the first police report, was racing into print. Times reporters scurried through The News building.

Times extras already were for sale in the lobby amid milling police and ambulance drivers. The next day the Times' showing the thoroughness of its reporters, published a map of The News business offices, detailing the route taken by the gunman.

Eventually, Thomas Paluzynski (alias Pallas) and Harry Watson were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Gangster History in Bethel Park!

The World's First Armored-Car Robbery Happened Right By My Mom's House

Pittsburgh city detectives immediately dubbed it "the most spectacular job in the history of banditry hereabouts." It's widely acknowledged as the very first armored-car robbery anywhere, a brazen bit of gangland lore.

It was 80 years ago this month, in the part of the South Hills that's now Bethel Park. Just before noon on Friday, March 11, 1927, a nefarious group of bandits known as the Flathead Gang from Detroit blew up and robbed an armored Brinks truck and its "trail car" as the vehicles headed toward the nearby coal mine at Coverdale to deliver cash for the weekly payroll.

It all took place on what's now Brightwood Road, just off Route 88 across from Giant Eagle. The thieves buried explosives just under the surface of the road and waited in the nearby woods. When the cars got there, the gang used a plunger - like in an old movie - to trigger a blast, which sent both cars into the air. The main truck flipped and landed upside down. The second car fell into a crater left by the explosion. Everyone was shaken, but no one was killed. In the confusion, the crooks grabbed $104,000 and took off.

The Pittsburgh Gazette Times reported nine bandits speeding away in two automobiles. One car was abandoned, and the villains piled into a big blue Stearns-Knight touring car, which soon developed a flat tire, leaving an easily followed trail as the gang headed south. Then, they dumped that car and scattered in different directions.

Within 24 hours, police captured two robbers near Bentleyville in Washington County. A day later, Paul Jaworski - who identified himself as John Smith - was caught in a farmhouse 30 miles south of the crime scene. He confessed, squealed on his accomplices, and even led the cops to $33,000 in buried loot.

It turns out Jaworski was the mastermind behind the heist and confessed to several murder-robberies. Eventually, he got the electric chair.

David Kapella, curator at Brinks History Museum in Chicago, told me the 1927 robbery led to immediate changes in the design of Brinks' trucks. Floors and frames would hence be constructed with steel rather than with wood.

I grew up less than a mile from the crime scene but learned of it only recently - it's not something Bethel Park brags about. I talked to the guys who meet every morning in Bruegger's at South Park Shops, not far from the location of the blowup. One of them, Paul Castanet, a Bethel resident since 1927, remembers when people searched for coins that might have been overlooked. Not all the loot was recovered - although Brinks was insured and the miners got paid - and my friend Dennis Williams from Bentleyville told me hunters around there still look in caves to check for "armored car money."

Thanks to the Flathead Gang, my old neighborhood is more exciting than ever. We need a historic marker.

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