Rick Porrello
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Buy *Superthief: A Master Burglar, the Mafia, and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History* by Rick Porrello online

Superthief: A Master Burglar, the Mafia, and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History
Rick Porrello
Next Hat Press
272 pages
November 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Superthief is the story of Phil Christopher, a small-time burglar on the fringes of the Cleveland mafia who hit the big time after he and his cohorts burglarized the United California Bank in Laguna Niguel, Orange County, California, in 1972 and departed undetected with roughly thirty million dollars from safe deposit boxes. This theft is considered the biggest bank heist in American history.

What was this band of Ohio criminals doing in California? Organized criminals often act on tips or paybacks from friends throughout the country. A burglar in Orange County, for example, will realize that the local police are watching him or that he would be an immediate suspect if a certain bank is hit, so he passes the target bank over to his friend in Cleveland, who might have done the same for him in the past. After the Laguna heist, Christopher and friends knocked off the Lordstown, Ohio, bank for another half-million dollars!

Rick Porello chronicles Christopherís life from his earliest juvenile crimes to the higher ranks of crime, documenting how he and some of the smarter criminals in our world operate as well as their lifestyles, their women, their years spent in jails, prisons and the general fallacies of their life. Porello gives readers, under subheadings, the statements of his wife, FBI agents on the trail, and friends. A variety of illustrations let the reader absorb and get a peek at real criminals in various situations. The author clearly demonstrates how the criminal cannot do well in the world of crime without corrupt police officers and, in Christopherís case, corrupt alarm installers.

Not by any means is Christopher portrayed as Robin Hood. However, the author prefers to paint him as not such a bad guy as far as criminals go. He never burgled a private residence if he thought anyone was at home, for example, thus avoiding possible violence. The reader, of course, will form his own opinion.

Does crime pay? According to the burglarís own words, it does - but not for long. Phil Christopher now resides in a Federal Correction facility and may get out in 2009. If he is paroled that year, he will have spent thirty-six out of his sixty five years in jail or prison. You be the judge.

Author Rick Porello is a veteran Police Lieutenant presently assigned to the Lyndhurst, Ohio, city jail as a supervisor. He has written three books, all in the genre of true crime. Porelloís book sales now number around a very respectable 15,000 for his first two books.

If you can you absorb long Italian names and gangland nicknames and you enjoy the Sopranos of TV fame and were enthralled with the Godfather trilogy, you will probably enjoy Superthief. The book has neither an introduction nor a table of contents, so the reader canít decide what chapter he wants to browse. In spite of this, the book is a winner. The author writes in great detail, and his story is gritty and stimulating, sure to keep your attention while you read and be retained in your mind long after youíve finished.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Lawrence McMicking, 2006

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