Today I read about Mafia hitman and Super Dirty Cop Steve Caracappa dying. You would have to hope there’s a Hell.
He comprises 50% of the Murderers I know with Spree Murderer Colin Ferguson, who I had a more intense series of encounters with, comprising of the other half. Is Caracappa a Serial Killer? I would say yes but an unusual one.
He had SEVEN (known) victims, and who knows if he liked doing it? He was obviously a very cold blooded bastard. Like the famous Ice Man, he was essentially a contract killer though. I don’t know if that makes him a TRUE Serial Killer in a pathological sense, but face it he was one cold dangerous motherfucker and I would have run for my life if I had suspected what he was capable of.
I would love for the prison psychologist (and seriously if this guy doesn’t command the time of a prison shrink who does?) to release their findings so I could see if they share my hypothesis- he was able to lie to himself and believed he was actually a good cop and a hero. In other words, he was a sociopath. Probably a lot of other things too, but sociopath seems to be wellspring of all else.
Another thing I would like to know is if the prison shrinks considered Caracappa Schizophrenic. I think he would need a touch of it to function. Heres why- Cop is a stressful job even for honest people doing the right thing. I guess its possible that as a criminal at heart the guy was maybe LESS stressed than an honest cop. After all if a real or imagined issue were to come forth to complicate his career he could simply fall back on dishonesty and criminality to try to remedy the situation and never feel a bit bad. A complicated criminal indeed.
My next thought feeds the ‘double life’ scenario but it is a little questionable because of my bias in favor of my Dad – Caracappa most likely was extremely convinced of himself to be able to fool every single other cop and my father. From what i saw and was told by other cops at work Dad was a cynical and very accurate assessor of character, but he totally blew this one! So did every other cop. These were not dumb guys. These were not prone to flights of fancy or unsound investigative thinking. They had after all caught the Son of Sam! They never suspected. I don’t think any of them, mostly in retirement when the story broke, could really believe it. My Dad’s disbelief continued until the Conviction was handed down. He knew they were well represented and had been duly found guilty and he knew it was a sound verdict. He was totally floored. I doubt he fully came to terms with all the implications. He never, for instance, stopped to consider how much danger the guy had posed to him. I know why this happened to my dad and ALL the other Good Cops who were fooled.
It was because of The Mafia Cops very chilling primary tactic, taking advantage of the natural trust cops generally have for each other. It’s an essential thing cities and police departments need to function. While there was already Internal Investigations they were likely nascent in their methodology and not yet a real priority. I’d like to think what they did couldn’t work today. I might NEED to think that though just to live in this town.
For the record Caracappa held forth in the face of seven murder convictions and proclaimed his innocence. His family was squarely behind him last I heard. I feel bad for them.
My late father was an honest and very dedicated New York City Detective. He had distinguished himself working on the terrible Son of Sam Case. He was the ideal guy to train aspiring new Detectives, which is what they tasked him with. Hence his coming for a few months to train Caracappa in Criminal Investigations and Detective work. The man I called Mr Caracappa on the phone could’ve been a much more dangerous cancer had he thought more like a cop in planning his own crimes. So let’s be glad he wasnt the best student because his police procedural ignorance was his eventual undoing.
Caracappa hadn’t become operational as a mobster yet, but the mendacious Quisling kept his friends close and potential enemies, in this case honest cops, closer. Caracappa’s next partner was Lt Louis Eppolito; likely already a mobster when they hooked up.
When they came together it was an Awful moment in New York City Criminal History and certainly the very lowest point for the Greatest Detectives in the World.
They had become the Infamous NYPD Detective Mafia Cops of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Eppolito a Maudlin Quioxte and Carracapa his Sancho; malignant in their delusion and not in any way Just or Admirable. Dreaming horrible dreams and making them real like a horrible Hollywood movie about Bad Cops too gritty and disillusioning too see (very much like Bad Lieutenant but on a 20 year run of criminal luck and no moment doubt, pain or moderate redemption). We can never surely know the extent of their crimes. In many ways they were, for a couple of decades, among New York’s biggest and worst criminal scourges. They deserve a place in Criminal Infamy. They had perhaps no actual admirable qualities and either one probably would have killed the other if they had to. They were that Awful.
Worse, Steve Caracappa and Louie Eppolito were crooks amongst heroes as they impersonated dedicated honest cops. Truly despicable. They were fine actors. They were respected. They had decorations from the city. They had Rank. The charismatic Eppolito was presented in court as the more powerful. There was nothing he couldn’t find out, no investigation he couldn’t misdirect, no one who he couldn’t reach and touch with impunity. Caracappa, not to be sold short, was painted as a immoral complete follower and murderer. There’s little reason to argue with the prosecution.
The most frightening thing about the Mafia Cops is that for a city to function a small group of individuals must be trusted as beyond reproach to investigate crimes. Among this select group are a few who betrayed the city’s trust, standing amongst the ranks of the very worst in New York City history, including the corrupt as far back as the colonial era goons from the early Dutch Government’s corrupt officials and maybe even the least honorable of the Lenape would be the Mafia Cops. At some point watching the watchers becomes impossible, these Vampires of Public Trust Knew and Exploited this. They’re a chilling cautionary tale.
They damn near got away with it! It’s sobering. The most frightening thing about the Mafia Cops is that for a City to function a small group of individuals must be trusted as beyond reproach to investigate crimes. Among this select group are a few who betrayed the city’s trust. And standing apart, amongst the ranks of the very worst in New York City history, including the corrupt as far back as colonial era goons from the early Dutch Government’s corrupt officials and maybe even the least honorable of the Lenape would be the Mafia Cops. At some point watching the watchers becomes impossible, these Vampires of Public Trust Knew and Exploited this. They’re a chilling cautionary tale.
I would suppose Caracappa was just making sure to engender himself to my Dad (who was NOT dirty and therefore potentially a liability) and surely other detectives, by maintaining a relationship with as many of them as possible I can’t remember any other cops that were so conspicuous in keeping up relationships. People liked my dad but the cops he was close with happened to also be guys he grew up with and they were conspicuously non Dirty.
In his roughly monthly phone calls Caracappa always knew whether I had just had a recent birthday or religious sacrament as well as what grade I was in.He knew to call me by the same childhood nickname my Dad used. He had no kind of memorable voice but of course had a New York accent. Thinking back it DID sound like he was reading off an index card. It was thorough.
My Dad had a hard time accepting a bad cop could ever slip through the screening process but this guy sure did. My mom and I have marveled at how my Dad didn’t really shirk danger and was kind of known to be a bit tough and worldiy as a cop yet never realized that he was the kind of Boy Scout Carracapa or Lt Louie Eppolito (who I also met once), would have simply wasted without a second thought and then misdirected the Investigation. I could have grown up without a Dad because of this asshole.
Now things just get weird.
So what was it that caught these terrible killers? Just what bought down the two most highly placed Hitters we’ve ever known about? These Super Villains? It was part sheer arrogance and part a mundane but real demand for luxury bath goods. The Mafia Cops for some insane ill-advised reason were happiest using their actual service weapons (fucked up!) to whack people for the Mob. How could they have been so stupid? It had to be arrogance.
And how do Luxury Bath Goods fit in? Glad you asked! – A Suffolk County Long Island Mall expanded in the early 90’s uncovering a corpse rich Mafia Graveyard/ Dumping Ground.
Like a dozen murder cases were reopened and all of them promptly had some real answers. Answer Number One was to the Question – How the fuck did these bodies of guys from places like Brooklyn end up here? Well; These people were absolutely killed by the Mob. Some were Mobsters themselves. Among the bodies were two men who went missing within days of eachother. They were united by one thing, the same name. Yes, they tracked down and killed the wrong guy and had to go kill again to get the right one. Right out of the Sopranos. The Mafia Cops weren’t geniuses.
But for the demand for a Bed, Bath and Beyond none of this comes to light! But like Justice, Progress (or the need for finely made towels) is not to be denied! So Scented Candles should come in ‘Stiff Wind of Justice’ Aroma!
I guess the fact they were both enjoying retirement with no clue what was about to happen when they were unexpectedly arrested is just part of the Irony. After a life of living on the edge and pocketing an extra 50 grand every year (this seems very little for your soul) they must have thought they were set. It also prevented them from say shooting it out when their moment came (unlikely but hey these were violent guys) or just going out on their own terms using their favorite guns on themselves.
Ultimately it turned out some of them were killed by the Mafia Cops. There’s more to it but things moved pretty quickly from there. Mostly it’s because these vicious killers used their own service weapons to kill their victims. They were that fucking arrogant and how the Hell they disregarded the ballistics they used themselves in their guise of cops occasionally solving (pinning?) other you’d suppose real crimes is a great question(They still had a caseload to handle). If you ask me it shows a real lack of vision. ‘Throw Away Burner Gun’ would seem to be at the top of a dirty cops equipment checklist. God knows they came across enough in their day jobs as cops in the 70’s, 80’s and into the opening of the 90s.
Personally I have a hard time believing their guns put so many bullets into so many stiffs without them knowing about it. Thy’re stone cold guilty and stone cold murderers. Everything I know points to a true Double Life. I don’t get how Carracapa was able to not be upfront with himself. He’s carrying a Gold Detective shield while taking a grand a week from mobsters. He still went through with it day after day for decades. This might require some form of insanity, even if its just loss of cintrol to delusions of grandeur. I would have imagine it was deeper though, we’re talking about a Serial Killer.
The level of delusion extends to choosing to be a Dirty Cop instead of a Made Man in jail, though I would love to know what they represented themselves as to their fellow prisoners. Still, even Federal Prison probably is even a little more dangerous of a place for Dirty Cops.
It’s also possible that aside from all they pulled off they were also fucking idiots. After all, one of the people they killed merely had the same name as the person they were after! They had to go back and kill someone again. With their own fucking service revolvers! Did they ever even draw them for real on duty?! Who is so casual with things that lead to Life Prison Terms if found out? So who fucking knows about these guys? The idea two criminal idiots could raise to high rank in the NYPD really is just too awful to contemplate. Fortunately they seem to be a horrible anomaly.
At the end of his life despite pleas to the contrary Dad felt compelled to write to Caracappa. We didn’t find out about this one until after Dad died but I’m positive I know what it said because he often told me what he wanted to tell the guy. To Repent.
I would think it stung the dirty cop rotting in jail bitterly that somewhere, in a comfortable house, the Sucker Boy Scout he would have iced was praying he would have the couage to ask God forgive him for the horrors he had done. While no one was happy about Dad writing a 7 times convicted murderer we felt my fathers need to tell this guy to turn to God was important enough to my him to just not dwell too much on it. As an Atheist I really don’t get it.
Personally I really don’t think a path towards God would have held much appeal to a guy who killed people for the money. I would almost say I hope he didn’t cause thinking he was saved and going to God’s Kingdom like Arthur Seyss-Inguart seems too generous a delusion to give the guy. I guess the prison chaplain made that call. Whatever.
I do know that for quite some time there was no way to stop them from collecting
their NYPD pensions despite conviction. I suppose their families who got that money were victims too so maybe it doesn’t matter how that ended up.
Caracappa never saw the light. He never admitted his guilt and ended his time in a cod dark Federal Prison. Its debatable if he lived like that long enough to call it justice.
Who knows? I would suppose he’s best off if the Atheists are right.
In the end we have to wonder what kind of Criminal Insanity gripped these two men. Clearly they were quite greedy and were stunningly dumb criminals considering the amount of police knowledge they had. They weren’t just arrogant, they were arrogant to the point where they held the investigative abilities of other cops in contempt. Had they used some hot guns and ditched them later they die free men laughing at the other cops they misled. Fortunately fate is funny sometimes. It’s too bad it took so long.
Do they deserve any Sympathy? You can make up your own mind.
“…..and all the sinners saints”
What Better Tribute to the Mafia Cops then a performance of Sympathy for the Devils, warts and all, from Altamont. where nothing ended up being as it seemed as well?
Caracappa was a despicable Super Criminal and I would have to say a higher functioning Maniac than crazy Colin Ferguson. Its kind of messed up I came across two such miserable creatures. Maybe thats out of the way and I’ll only meet nice people from now on.