Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Clarence 'Bugs' Moran

George Clarence "Bugs" Moran was a Chicago Prohibition-era gangster. Moran left school at 18 and was jailed 3 times before he turned 21. Moran went to Chicago. With prohibition, Dean O'Banion and his thugs, including Moran, became known as the North Side Gang.
Al Capone was the leader of the Italian mob on the South Side. The two rivals fought violently. The bootlegging operation of Bugs Moran and his partners posed a significant challenge to Capone. Moran and Capone led a turf war with each other that cost dozens of lives.

Moran's hatred of Capone was public: he told the press that "Capone is a lowlife." Moran was also disgusted that Capone engaged in prostitution. Believing himself a better Catholic than Capone, Moran refused to run brothels. After the killing of Dean O’Banion, on September 20, 1926, Moran attempted to kill Capone in Cicero, Illinois, the base of Capone's operations. A fleet of cars, with Moran in personal command, drove by the lobby of Capone's hotel.

About 1,000 rounds are poured in the Hawthorne Hotel.
Capone and his bodyguard were drinking downstairs when the Moran gang began shooting into the lobby with their Thompson submachine guns. The attack left Capone unhurt but his restaurant was reduced to shreds. A peace conference was held and Moran appeared grudgingly, along with Capone and the rest of the gang bosses. Capone called for a truce. The truce didn't last long.

In 1929, Capone tried to strike a decisive blow against Moran with the notorious Saint Valentine's Day massacre. Two gunmen dressed as police and two others in plain clothes lined up seven of Moran’s men against the wall in the warehouse of the S.M.C. Cartage Company and gunned them down. Bugs Moran, narrowly eluded death when he arrived late, and seeing the squad car thought a cop raid was in progress.

When Moran saw the carnage, he exclaimed, "Only Capone kills like that!" The end of prohibition marked the end of Moran's influence and he reverted to his earlier life of committing common crime. By the 1940s, after being one of the richest gangsters in Chicago, Moran was virtually penniless. In July 1946, Moran was arrested in Ohio for robbing a bank messenger of $10,000, a paltry sum compared to his lifestyle during the Prohibition.

He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in the Ohio Penitentiary. Shortly after his release, Moran was again arrested for bank robbery. Moran received another ten years and was sent to Leavenworth. Days after arriving Bugs Moran died of lung cancer on February 25, 1957. He was estimated to be worth $100 at his death, and he received a pauper's burial in the prison cemetery.