“Artist, Dancer Held As Thieves”


Weegee, “Renato Matticani and Charles Ferraro”, October 25, 1943 [All three names are misspelled.]

Artist, Dancer Held As Thieves
A dancer and an artist who, police charge, left their professions for the more profitable one of burglary will appear in the lineup today prior to their arraignment in Felony Court.
The two, Charles Ferreiro, 36, ballroom dancer, and Renato Matticari, 28, artist, made off with $50,000 [approximately $725,400 in 2018] worth of furs, clothing, silverware and jewelry in “30 or 40” burglaries, according to Detectives William Mulligan, Patrick Hogan, and Frank Mulrean, who made the arrests.
Most of the breaks occurred in the upper Park Ave., section, police said. Forty suitcases and $10,000 in war bonds were recovered from the loot found at Matticari’s studio apartment at 133 E. 47th St. [142 East 33rd St. according to the The New York Times.]
The detectives arrested the men as they left the apartment of Bertil Lind, a broker, at 24 E. 64th St., Saturday night. At the time, the police said, Ferrero and Matticari were carrying several packed suitcases, though they had entered the building empty handed and under police surveillance. PM, October 25, 1943, p.8.

The news of the arrest of an artist and a dancer for burglary was widely distributed by the Associated Press and printed in many newspapers. Hands down, even (presumably) without a Weegee photo, The New York Times had the best coverage. In an article titled “Police Play Cat and Mouse With 2 Burglars Seized Leaving Apartment With $5,000 Loot” (October 25, 1943, p. 17) the Times reported that the pair was arrested as they were entering a taxi cab and Ferreiro “drew a gun” and tried to fire at the arresting police officers. They were charged with burglary, possession of burglar’s tools (thin pieces of metal for picking locks), and violation of the Sullivan law. The 1911 law, an early gun control act, “which required police-issued licenses for those wishing to possess concealable firearms and made carrying an unlicensed concealed weapon a felony” (The New York Times, January 23, 2011), was named after Timothy D. “Big Tim” Sullivan, a large, influential, and corrupt New York politician. (A recently published biography is titled King of the Bowery: Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall, and New York City from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era.) The inspiration of the Sullivan Law was the murder of the novelist and journalist, David Graham Phillips, and the suicide by a musician murderer, near Gramercy Park in January 1911.

From the extraordinary book “Extra! Weegee” we learn that Charles Ferreiro was arrested for dodging the draft and was in prison for a year for attempted rape (or “impairing the morals of a minor” from the Times); and that Ferreiro and Matticari were arrested after they were seen breaking into an apartment and quickly leaving with five suitcases and golf clubs.

Charles Ferreiro was sentenced to five to ten years in Sing-Sing. Matticari was sentenced to two and one-half to five years, also in Sing-Sing.


Unidentified photographer, The New York Times, “Charles Ferreiro (left) said he was a dancer and Renato Matticari described himself as an artist when they were arrested yesterday charged with the theft and possession of the articles shown between them.”, October 25, 1943, p.17

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