On July 4, Peter Weinberger, a one-month-old boy, was kidnapped from his home in Long Island. The kidnapper, you see, was late on paying a personal loan and was afraid of what might happen to him if he didn’t get it paid back on time.
Did I mention that was July 4, 1956?
The baby was kidnapped by Angelo John LaMarca. LaMarca had previously been arrested by the United States treasury for bootlegging. LaMarca was working as a taxi dispatcher. He had a wife and two children, and like many people today was living in a house that he couldn’t afford.
LaMarca kidnapped the baby boy and left a ransom note that included an apology. Of course, in addition to the apology, he threatened to kill the child if the parents made “one wrong move.”
Eventually, FBI agents found and arrested LaMarca. Unfortunately, they also discovered the remains of young Peter Weinberger, whom LaMarca had killed. La Marca received the death sentence, and it was carried out at Sing Sing prison.
The Weinberger kidnapping and murder wasn’t as famous as the Lindbergh kidnapping, but it is at least as interesting. It also illustrates how far our financial system has come since those days. The kidnapper was afraid, with good reason, that the mafia boss who made him the loan would send goons to physically harm him.
Today, the kidnapper could have just walked in to any payday loan storefront and got the cash that he needed. In addition, banks are offering more diverse personal loan products, and he may have qualified for a more traditional type of personal loan.
Now, I’m not suggesting that the man was forced into kidnapping any more than someone is forced into robbing a bank because they can’t afford food. That’s an excuse, and not a very good one.
Photo via memekode