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Remains found at late N.Y. mobster's home are human, official says

June 20, 2013|By Devin Kelly
  • A woman ducks under crime scene tape in front of a New York city house once occupied by a famous gangster in New York on Tuesday. The work started Monday at the home of James Burke, a Lucchese crime family associate known as "Jimmy the Gent." He was the inspiration for Robert De Niro's character in the 1990 Martin Scorsese movie "Goodfellas." Burke died behind bars in 1996, two decades after authorities say he masterminded a nearly $6 million robbery at New York's Kennedy Airport, one of the largest cash thefts in American history. The Queens house is still owned by the Burke family, but others now live there.
A woman ducks under crime scene tape in front of a New York city house once… (Kathy Willens / AP )

Remains uncovered this week at the home of the late New York mobster Jimmy Burke were confirmed Thursday to be human, a spokeswoman with the New York City medical examiner told the Los Angeles Times.

Spokeswoman Grace Bruges could not comment further on the nature of the remains, which are being examined by a forensic anthrolopologist.

“They are human,” she said.

The next step will be extracting and testing DNA in hopes of identifying the person, Bruges said.

Investigators armed with shovels, jackhammers and a search warrant started digging at the site Monday. A discovery was reported Tuesday.

“I can tell you that the search was successful, and it’s concluded,” said FBI spokesman Jim Margolin, who declined to comment on what prompted the investigation.

Burke, also known as “Jimmy the Gent,” is believed to be the architect of the 1978 Lufthansa heist, in which hooded gunmen stole nearly $6 million from a cargo terminal at JFK.

The cash was never found, and Burke was never prosecuted in connection with the theft. He died in prison in 1996 at age 64 while serving a sentence for a different case. 

He was famously depicted by Robert De Niro in the 1990 film “Goodfellas.”

The home in Queens, where Burke lived while an associate in the New York Lucchese crime family, is still owned by the Burke family, according to local media reports. An elderly couple currently rent the property.


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