JOSEPH C. PUTEK was well-known to police in Camden and elsewhere from the late 1920s into the 1950s. He was arrested and/or questioned several times but as late as August of 1935 had avoided conviction on any charges.
Joseph Putek, according to the 1930 Census, was born around 1909 in Camden. Neither he, his mother, or his stepfather appear in Camden Census or City Directories prior to 1925, however. By 1929 he was living at 1212 Lansdowne Avenue in Camden with his mother Mary and her husband, Stanley Gorczycki. He was said to live at 1462 Louis Street in 1933, and at 2955 Tuckahoe Road August of 1935. By October of that year he had moved to 1449 Norris Street. It was alleged in the spring of 1935 that Joseph Putek and Chester Szalanski had taken over the South Camden numbers racket that had been operated by two brothers, Joseph Klosterman and Fred Klosterman. Both Putek and Szalanski were cleared of any charges relating to the allegation. He was arrested again in October of 1935. He was detained in 1936 and 1937, but no convictions came of it.
Joseph Putek had left Camden by 1945. By March of that year he had moved to Fulton Avenue in Delaware Township (present-day Cherry Hill) NJ. He was picked up for questioning on March 23, 1945 in connection with the murder of Romeo DeSanctis and released on March 28.
In the late 1940s Joseph Putek was a partner in the Star Junk Dealer junk yard at 1190-1198 Chestnut Street. Chester Szalanski had operated a junk business at that location in the late 1930s.
In July of 1949 Joseph Putek was arrested when the New Jersey State Police broke up an illegal gambling casino operating in nearby Maple Shade. A few years later he was tried and acquitted for tax evasion for the years 1947, 1948, and 1949 on income relating to junk yard business. He apparently sold his interest in the junkyard after the gambling arrest
Joseph Putek was still living at 37 Fulton Avenue as late as the fall of 1956, according to the New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory. He is not, however, listed in the 1959 edition. By 1962 he was living in Toms River, New Jersey. Last a resident of Beachwood, New Jersey, Joseph Putek died of natural causes on November 5, 1971. Coincidentally Fred Klosterman sied on the same day, of natural causes, in Pennsylvania.
Joseph Putek was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1933
PAYROLL THEFT IS RE-ENACTED; TWO MEN HELD
suspects nabbed late Monday, at Lykens in Dauphin County, Pa., played
the "heavy" roles. Also in the cast were eight women and two
men, employees of the firm. For an hour and 20 minutes the spectacular
robbery was "rehearsed" under the direction of three Camden
curtain was, rung down LeRoy Jenkins, 23, who police say has addresses
Street and 1220 Princess
Avenue, and Joseph Putek, 23, said to reside at 1462 Louis
street, were held on suspicion.
They will be questioned further today.
Has Nothing Definite
of Police John W. Golden
admitted he "has nothing on the boys." Detectives Benjamin
Clarence Arthur and Clifford
Del Rossi, however, "were pressing pursuit of
"hunches" and meager clues in attempts to solve the crime.
There were several lines of information they obtained regarding the two
suspects which will bear further study, Simon
has a po1ice record although never convicted according to
police, was questioned previously in connection with the Radio Condenser
"job." He was released at midnight last Saturday. After that the detectives centered attention upon Jenkins. They learned
Jenkins borrowed an automobile from a man who operates a garage in the
1200 block on Atlantic
Avenue. The garageman was reluctant to talk but under
threat of arrest as an accessory he admitted lending a car to Jenkins.
dispatched to police throughout Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and New
Jersey. The car was halted at Williamsport, Pa. and when Camden police
were identified they were surprised that Putak was Jenkins' companion.
This stirred detectives to renewed vigor in the
probe. They learned the men were planning to visit relatives, of Jenkins
in Williamsport and Pottsville. According to Simon police of both cities say Jenkins is
well known to them.
Williamsport the three detectives learned
Putek and Jenkins
visited a vice den and quarreled with a woman over money. They quoted
Jenkins as declaring that he "could buy and sell the joint!'
Had Little Money
two men were returned with the detectives as far as Philadelphia but
refused to cross the river. They were turned over to police there on
suspicion and. brought to this city yesterday afternoon. Taken to the
Radio Condenser plant they were confronted with the ten employees who
were herded in a vault during the holdup last Friday.
several of the employees felt there were certain mannerisms of the
suspects which corresponded with actions of the bandits but confessed
they were unable to definitely identify Putek or Jenkins as the heavily
masked pair who threatened their lives with a revolver and
detectives propose an inquiry to al1 banks in this area in an effort to learn whether safe deposit boxes were leased by
anyone answering the description of the suspects. The money obtained in
the robbery was in bills and change of small denomination,
numbers of the bills were not available.
never convicted Jenkins has a police record. Putek has never been
formally under arrest, but has been questioned by the police in
connection with various cases.
arrested December 18, 1931, charged with larceny of gasoline, and on last July 9 was charged with several robberies.
On April 2, 1931, he was held for the grand jury, charged with manslaughter after his automobile killed Mrs. Mary Cavanaugh, 70, a cook in the service of City Solicitor E. G. C. Bleakly.
Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 1933
SUSPECTS HELD IN PAYROLL HOLD-UP
as suspects in the $11,790 Radio Condenser Company payroll holdup of
last Friday, Leroy Jenkins, 23, and Joseph Putek, 23, South Camden
police characters, tomorrow will be given a police court hearing.
admit their evidence against the pair is "flimsy" but hope to
be able to hold them in high bail pending further investigation.
declared they have unearthed a South Camden garage man who will testify
at the hearing that he rented a garage to Jenkins, in which a dark
automobile, similar to the one used in the holdup, is stored at the
detectives have also found a special officer, they said, who will
testify to having seen the two suspects riding in a small black car in
the vicinity of the Condenser concern's plant a short time before the
The suspects' mannerisms and voices have been identified by, the ten office employees, victims of the two bandits staging the holdup. Further identification was impossible because the bandits wore hoods over their heads and down to their shoulders.
Camden Courier-Post - June 3, 1933
YOUTHS HELD IN
HOLDUP AT RADIO PLANT
youths, released from Camden county jail, were held by local police
yesterday on suspicion of implication in the $11,790 holdup of the Radio
Condenser Company, Thorne and
streets, last Friday.
denied knowledge of the payroll holdup, detectives said they admitted
having been close pals of Le Roy Jenkins, 23; of 1161 Mechanic Street,
and Joseph Putek, 23, of 1462
Louis Street, who were arrested in Lykens, Pa., on Monday.
and Geda are being held on suspicion but, according to Detectives Clarence Arthur; Benjamin
Simon and Clifford
Del Rossi, they will be charged today with
being material witnesses, while Jenkins and Putak will be charged with
the holdup and will be arraigned in police court.
Geda were arrested yesterday morning on their release from county jail.
They had been committed May 9 by Recorder Joseph Patton, of Haddon
Heights, for 30 days on charges of loitering with intent to steal. They were questioned all
day by detectives.
Detectives said they learned Jenkins and Putak were with Grinkewicz and Geda in Haddon Heights "to do a job" but that the other two disappeared when Grinkeicz and Geda were arrested. Although they were in the county jail at the time, the detectives said they learned they had participated with Jenkins and Putak in planning the Radio Condenser job five weeks ago.
Camden Courier-Post - June 7, 1933
REFUSES TO LET COPS BARE HOLDUP EVIDENCE
refusing defense counsel's request that the city police bare their
evidence, Police Judge Pancoast
yesterday held two suspects without bail in the recent $11,790 Radio
Condenser Company holdup and two other youths as material witnesses.
M. Lario, attorney for the quartet, appeared in police court
yesterday with William McDonald, court stenographer, and declared he
wanted the police through witnesses on the stand, to reveal what
evidence they have in the robbery.
when Judge Pancoast
asked Lario if he was willing to have the prisoners submit to cross
examination by the court the attorney refused. Judge Pancoast
thereupon declared that the formal complaints against the defendants
were sufficient to establish a prima facie case, that no hearing was
necessary and that the police therefore were not obliged to disclose
Jenkins, 23, and, Joseph
Putek, 23, who gave addresses at 1113 Mechanic
Street and 1212 Lansdowne
Avenue, respectively, were committed
to the county jail without bail on charges of holdup and robbery.
They pleaded not guilty.
held as material witnesses were Leon Grenkwicz, 18, of 1469 Louis
Stanley Geda, 19, of 1273 Whitman
Avenue. Lario pointed out they were in jail when the holdup
occurred but, Judge Pancoast
said he would hold them for the prosecutor's office which would
probably fix bail for them.
Detective Benjamin Simon,
who signed the complaints, stated prior to the hearing that he has
obtained information from North Jersey which is vital to his
investigation of the robbery. But he would not reveal its nature.
None of the money stolen by the bandits, who herded 11 persons in a vault after forcing one of them to open the safe containing the payroll, has been recovered by the police.
Camden Courier-Post - June 8, 1933
HOLDUP SUSPECTS FREE IN BAIL OF $3000
Held without bail for the Grand Jury by Police Judge Pancoast, two suspects in the $11,790 Radio Condenser Company payroll holdup were ordered released in $3000 bail by Prosecutor Clifford .A. Baldwin yesterday.
Judge Pancoast remanded Leroy Jenkins, 23, and Joseph Putek, 23, who gave their addresses as 1113 Mechanic Street and 1212 Lansdowne Avenue, respectively, to jail after defense counsel failed in an effort to have the city police reveal their evidence against the men.
Two others refused bail as material witnesses in the holdup by Judge Pancoast were released in $500 bail by Prosecutor Baldwin. They are Leon Grenkwicz, 19, of 1469 Louis Street, and Stanley Geda, 19, of 1273 Whitman Avenue.
Counsel representing Jenkins and Putek appeared before Baldwin and asked that the bail be set, inasmuch as the police had not disclosed any evidence against them.
Camden Courier-Post - June 9, 1933
FIFTH SUSPECT HELD IN PAYROLL HOLDUP
A fifth man was arrested in the recent Radio Condenser Company $11,790 payroll holdup and held as a material witness yesterday after city detectives alleged he attempted to escape from them in his automobile. He is Nicholas Kubiak, 34, of 1301 Decatur street, owner of a pool room on the corner of Decatur and Norris streets. Arraigned, before Judge Pancoast in police court, Kubiak was committed to the county jail without bail as a witness.
City Detectives Benjamin Simon, Clifford Del Rossi and Clarence Arthur stated they went to the pool room this morning and told Kubiak he was under arrest. He accompanied them to the sidewalk and suddenly stepped into his own automobile parked at the curb. The detectives said he started the engine, whereupon the police car was driven in front of him so he couldn't move. Simon declared that he jumped on the running board of Kubiak's car and reached in to grab the ignition key. Kubiak tried to push him off the running board. Simon said, and the key was obtained only after a tussle.
Simon said he has three statements signed by persons who charged they heard Kubiak declare the holdup was planned in his poolroom and that Leroy Jenkins and Joseph Putek were the actual bandits. Jenkins and Putek are charged with the holdup and are held under $3000 bail each. The bail was fixed by Prosecutor Baldwin.
Simon stated he previously had questioned Kubiak, but could learn nothing to warrant holding the man until he received the statements late last night. Simon said if he had been able to obtain the statements prior to yesterday, he doubted that bail would have been fixed so low.
Two other youths, arrested as material witnesses in the case, were released by Prosecutor Baldwin today under $500 bail each. They are Leon Grenwicz, 18, of 1469 Louis Street, and Stanley Geda, 19, of 1273 Whitman avenue.
Camden Courier-Post * August 5, 1935
JURY CLEARS NUMBER SUSPECTS
men alleged by city and county authorities to have succeeded the Klosterman
brother sin controlling the Camden numbers racket last Spring, were
exonerated by the Camden county grand jury.
the same time, the grand jury in its report to the County Clerk
Charles S. Wise, failed to find an indictment against Robert
Bloodworth, another suspect arrested in connection with the operation
of lotteries in Camden.
the trial of the Klosterman
brothers, Fred and Joe, both of whom were convicted last spring of
number charges, Szalinski was named by Police Chief Arthur
Colsey as the “Sixty-ninth Street mobster who had taken over the
play.” Every policeman in Camden was ordered to arrest Szalinski on
suspected numbers operator was arrested and later released in $1500
bail to await the action of the grand jury.
was arrested lat April after police had engaged in a sensational chase
of 15 blocks after a suspected numbers pickup automobile at which they
fired a number of shots, pone of which struck a bystander.
allege Putek joined Szalinski in control of the Klosterman
numbers game. Arrests of both men climaxed orders to county police
authorities by Supreme Court Justice Frank
T. Lloyd and Prosecutor Samuel
P. Orlando to clean up the number racket in this area.
bills” were returned by the grand jury for Harry Hartman and John
Burke charged with attempts and breaking and entry; J.G. Flynn,
accused of being a fugitive from justice from Philadelphia; Ralph
Latshaw, Anna Green, and Theodore Jones, statutory charges.
Shade Progress - July 28, 1949
Gambling Joint Raided By State Police
Confiscate $38,700, 187 Men Are Nabbed
Gamblers Felt Secure As They Thought Raid Wasn't Possible;
Race Wires Are Being Traced By Police
LAND FOR BUILDING SOLD BY TOWNSHIP
Maple Shade's so-called "plumbing warehouse" proved to be just what residents suspected it to be- an elaborate gambling establishment.
New Jersey state troopers from North Jersey smashed their way into the thriving gambling house early Thursday morning at Fellowship road and State Highway Route S-41, arrested 187 men, and confiscated more then $40,000 in cash.
Two revolvers and a clip of ten loaded cartridges for a carbine were seized in the surprise swoop.
About twenty of those arrested were taken into custody when they arrived at the jam packed establishment unaware that the police had moved in.
Thirty men were questioned as suspected operators, lookouts, card dealers and dice "stick men," and 19 of them were eventually held as "principals."
All the others were given a prompt hearing before a judge in Maple Shade, and were released after depositing $25 cash bail. Most of them said they were from Camden or Philadelphia.
The raid, described by its leaders as one of the biggest ever staged in South Jersey was executed at 12:50 a.m. by eight uniformed troopers and nine plain clothesmen acting under special orders from Colonel Charles H. Schaeffel, head of the state police. Eight additional uniformed men were called in later from barracks at Columbus, Berlin, and Riverton.
Maple Shade Police and township officials were not notified of the raid until after it had taken place.
It was one of the biggest gambling raids ever staged in New Jersey. The target was a one-story cinder brick structure, resembling a garage or warehouse, nestled in a clearing surrounded by thick woods not far from intersections of Route S-41 and Fellowship road. A narrow country lane, located about 150 feet off Fellowship road, served as the entrance.
Police said that many patrons had been taken to the gambling house by "luggers" operating limousine service from Philadelphia, and from other places within a radius of about 60 miles.
The ground for the building was sold to Domenic Iacovelli at public sale by the Maple Shade Township Committee on April 26 with Thomas Vogdes, Main Street real estate agent, acting as agent for Iacovelli. On July 12, Iacovelli bought another piece of land adjoining the first parcel from the township. An investigation today revealed that the township has no record of Iacovelli's address although it is believed he resides in Camden.
It is reported that the building was erected in 17 days with workmen working 24 hours a day. Some local men worked on the erection of the building.
The raiding party was led by Captain Arthur Keaton and Emerson Tschupp, deputy director of the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
The magnitude of the raid was such that it was more then eight hours after the troopers struck the gambling joint at 1 a.m. until the last of those seized had been booked at the Maple Shade police station.
Fourteen of those arrested were held in $5,000 bail each as principals by Municipal Judge Bowers of Cinnaminson township; four were held in bail of $1,000 each as material witnesses and one held in $2,000 bail as a material witness.
The 14 men booked as principals on charges of aiding, abetting and assisting in the operation of a gambling establishment were:
Levi Cicero, 715 Second street, Florence.
Pasquale Beato, 2820 North Twenty-third street, Philadelphia.
Thomas Girgenti, 1208 Haddon avenue, Camden.
Henry Duncan, 600 Holmes street, Burlington.
Gardon C. Gober, Cedar lane, Florence.
Christie Scittina, 1207 Callahan street, Yeadon, Pa.
Dominick Di Mattia, 16 South Forklanding road, Maple Shade.
Joseph Putek, Fulton street, Delaware township.
Anthony Meloni, 5302 Sherwood Terrace, Pennsauken.
Manuel Gattabrio, 312 South Twenty-seventh street, Camden.
Harry Donaphy, 3901 Lawndale avenue, Philadelphia.
Frank Pollastrelli, 723 Monmouth street, Trenton.
Bail was posted for Girgenti by N. Morton Rigg, a Burlington attorney. Complaints against the suspects were signed by State Police Lt. Clinton J. Campbell, Columbus barracks.
The other 166 seized were booked as disorderly persons and were released in $25 cash bail each for a hearing August 17.
Captain Keaton, who led state troopers last Tuesday in raiding the national headquarters of a $50,000,000 lottery ring in New York, said he recognized henchmen of Marco Reginelli among men seized.
After undergoing questioning in the gambling establishment for more then three hours, the patrons were transported in one of Fred Olt's buses to the Maple Shade police station. The station became so crowded it was necessary to use the auditorium of the municipal building to book the men.
Lookouts Sound Alarm
The raiding party, in addition to Captain Keaton and Tschupp, included eight uninformed troopers in charge of Lt. Albert G. Varrelman, and nine in plain clothes.
They reached the place at exactly 1 a.m.
Lookouts stationed in a cupola-like arrangement in front of the building, immediately detected them and alarm buzzers were heard sounding inside the 100-foot long building.
Previous inspection of the exterior of the building, it was learned from the troopers, indicated there were only two exits, the four-foot wide door in front and another the same size at the rear.
As they pulled into the ground one trooper drove his car to the rear and blocked the door.
Others, carrying 20-pound sledge hammers, attacked the front door, later found to be lined with armor plate, but could not batter it down.
Spotlights on the troopers' cars were turned on the front of the building and revealed a window, about six by 12 inches, to one side. Working from the top of one of the cars, the troopers smashed away at this until a hole was made large enough for one of them to crawl through.
Sgt. Thomas Degaetano was then lifted through the opening and as he dropped to the floor inside, he drew his revolver and ordered everybody inside to the rear end of the room.
Degaetano was followed by Sgt. Hugo Stockburger, who, on getting inside, unlocked a door leading to the entrance hallway and then removed the steel bars barricading the front entrance and admitted the main body of raiders.
As he led his men in Capt. Keaton found the place a shambles from efforts of the operators to destroy all gambling evidence possible.
Four slot machines that had occupied a table to one side of the main room, had been carried into an office whose door also was lined with bullet-proof armor.
Three expensive dice tables, each large enough to accommodate 35 to 40 players, and a black-jack table, almost as large, were found with their felt lining partly ripped off.
None of the men in the room offered any resistance, largely Keaton said he believed, because he and the rest of the troopers came in "with guns swinging."
Keaton then divided the patrons and the staff operating the place into two groups and ordered themto opposite sides at the rear of the building.
He and other officers among the troopers began questioning the men while waiting for a squad of eight more troopers from the headquarters identification bureau at Trenton.
When these troopers arrived they took over the formal questioning. They directed each man to give his name and occupation and show identification cards. Then they fingerprinted everyone in the building.
Any of the patrons who had less then $400 cash or who was not recognized as a police character was listed as an inmate of a gambling establishment.
Most of the money confiscated was found on those listed as principals. One of these had a $13,000 bankroll. Two more had $12,000 each; another had $10,000, and a fifth man had $8,000.
Across one side of the room was a large sign that read: "Open every day and night including Sunday."
Elaborate arrangements for handling bets on horse races included blackboards listing each race at Monmouth Park, Arlington Park, Chicago and Saratoga, N. Y., and Suffolk Downs, East Boston, Mass,
Another sign advised the minimum bet accepted was $2 and the limit paid on straight bets was 25 to 1, was 10 to 1, place, and 5 to 1. (next sentence omitted- very hard to read on copy- payoffs on "ifs and reverse")
The payoff on daily doubles, still another sign read, was 5 to 1.
The setup also included counters made of plywood, some where bets were accepted and others used in paying off winners. These counters were large enough, Keaton said, to accommodate from 20 to 30 players at a time.
The only windows in the building were about 18 inches by 10 inches, and were located almost at the top of the walls, about 12 feet high.
Ventilation was furnished by two huge electric fans which played on a continuous flow of water in a trough-like arrangement of tin and the air was forced into the room through two six foot tunnels made of plywood.
November 17, 1949
Kisselman - Joseph
Trenton Times - September 21, 1950
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