Family Album - 5

This is the final installment of this series that was started way back in 2009.  I restarted it late last year.  I have gone over the family album to find a most fitting person to discuss in this the last installment of the Family Album series.  I have settled on a man named Leonard Shelly.  Leonard was another in a long line of family friends who made it into our family album over the years. Leonard was a friend of one of my uncles. He was not someone with whom you would want to get on the wrong side of for any reason.  For that reason alone, I still don't understand why he was placed in the family album so long ago by someone.  Leonard Shelly was a professional thief, by trade, who stole everything from jewelry to silverware to cash in your home.  The picture I'm looking at shows him standing beside a new 1955 Ford Fairlane in November of 1955.  It's entirely possible he either stole that car or swindled it out of a dealer somehow.  I have no idea who took the picture.

Leonard also had a violent streak in him.  If you tried to scam him out of money for merchandize he had stolen, you paid a price.  I have no idea if someone paid the ultimate price for their dealings with him.  But, based on everything I heard about him over the years, it wouldn't surprise me.  As an example, my uncle told me once that Leonard stole  expensive dining room silverware from a wealthy man's home with whom he was trying to scam money from on a business venture.  The silverware was pure silver which would net him a hefty amount of cash from the right person.  After he got that silverware, Leonard abandoned his idea of scamming money on a business venture with this man.  He sold the silverware to a pawnshop owner who assured him he was getting top dollar for this merchandize.  Leonard later found out the man had, in fact, scammed him by giving him about only 10% of what the silverware was worth.  Leonard paid that man a visit when he was closing up his shop 3 days later.  The pawn shop owner was beaten almost beyond recognition.  He had a fractured skull, both broken arms and multiple contusions on his face and chest. Somehow that man survived.  Leonard Shelley went to prison for two years for this incident.

When he got out, he had made connections with assorted crime syndicates in the Midwest.  This is what ultimately led to his undoing.  Leonard was making more money than he ever dreamed of making in the early to mid 60s.  He had gotten into selling drugs which a Chicago mobster warned him not to do....ever.  Leonard never let anyone tell him what to do, regardless of the danger to himself.  Leonard Shelley was found shot to death inside a warehouse in St. Louis, MO in 1965.  He had a double tap to the back of his head, a clear signal it was a mob hit. 

Leonard Shelley lived as he died, a violent lifestyle followed tragically by a violent death.  He was 36 years old when he was murdered.


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