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Buffalo’s Polish Gangsters

Did you know
Buffalo had Polish Gangsters? 
Local author Mike Rizzo will be unveiling his newest book at 7PM on
Friday, October 2, at a benefit for Buffalo Blue Bicycle. His third book, They
Call Me Korney: The True Story of Buffalo’s Korney Gang,
is about Prohibition-era Polish
gangsters from Buffalo. 

According to
Thomas Hunt, author of Deep Water

In They
Call Me Korney, author Michael Rizzo provides a rare look at non-Italian ethnic
crime in Prohibition Era Buffalo. Operating largely in the shadows of such
legendary underworld associations as Stefano Magaddino’s regional Mafia, the
Korney gang carved out a more modest underworld empire in the largely Polish
neighborhoods of eastern Buffalo and Depew.

Through a
quick-moving, detailed and readable narrative, Rizzo exposes the activities of
the gang, a brutal organization of bandits, bootleggers, safecrackers and
killers. The author probes into the backgrounds and personalities of the gang’s
most important figures – John “Korney” Kwiatkowski, Anthony
“Shiddy” Kalkiewicz and others – to explain the many successes of the
outlaw band and the betrayal that led to its ultimate destruction. Generously
illustrated with photographs, maps and images of official documents, They Call
Me Korney is sure to be appreciated by all interested in regional crime

Rizzo will
unveil his book at the former Precinct 17, at Colvin and Linden, where Korney
was held in 1929. The Precinct is now home to Buffalo Blue Bicycle. Rizzo will be donating
25 percent of all book sale proceeds from that evening to Buffalo Blue Bicycle.

Rizzo will
discuss the book and his research, read from it, and answer questions – you can
also find out why October 2nd is a significant date in the book.  Refreshments will be available. 

Visit for up-to-the-minute information.

About the
Author: Mike Rizzo is a Buffalo author and entrepreneur. His first two books,
“Through The Mayors’ Eyes” and “Nine Nine Eight”, sold well
regionally. He is also founder of The Mob Tours, a sightseeing company
specializing in local crime tours. In addition, Rizzo was the former owner of Zippy Delivery Bicycle Messengers, where he was a messenger for 7 years.



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  • oldwaiter

    Some Polish Gangster`s decide to rob a bank. After several days of planning they agree on the best plan. The next day they get to work and are able to get into the bank relatively easy thanks to their planning. Once inside the main vault, they discover one wall is full of safety deposit boxes and start to work on them immediately. They drill and pry open the first box only to find a small container of vanilla pudding inside.
    The Head Gangster says, “Okay, well, at least we can eat it.”
    So they eat the pudding. They drill and pry open up the second Safety deposit box and there sits another pudding. They decide to devour it too. Determined to find the goods, the process continues for the rest of the night until all the safety deposit boxes have been opened. They didn`t find any money or jewelry in any of the boxes.
    Disappointed the head gangster said, “Well, at least they left something for us to eat”.
    The next day, while listening to the news, they hear: “Yesterday the largest Sperm Bank in the USA was robbed by an unknown group of people.”

  • Rev. Drew

    Ugh. Now we have to boycott BRO?
    This joke is in bad taste (pun fully intended, thank you!) but funny. Good thing I am Polish or I would feed bad.

  • jstraubinger

    My father told me about this guy. He also told me that Fingy Connors had a much more dangerous group of associates that “Big Korney”.

  • sonyactivision

    I heard their downfall came when they all got old, moved to Cheektowaga, and quit going to mass.

  • donnybagadonuts

    He made them an offer they couldn’t understand…..

  • buffloonitick

    his ‘downfall’ came when he broke his leg raking leaves when he fell out of the tree…

  • buffloonitick

    did he have a ‘Korney’ sense of humor?…