Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Robert Pullia Outfit Burglar

The Marlborough Diamond  is shown in a  necklace. The gem was worth an estimated $960,000 when it was stolen in 1980. (Tribune archive photo / January 13, 2012)

By Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune

The topics captured on the government bugs were pretty typical for strong-arm robbery suspects with reputed links to the Chicago Outfit — coppers, feared hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. and lock-picking.

But then, Joseph Scalise, based on government transcripts of the recordings, seems to start reminiscing with longtime pal Arthur Rachel about an unusual chapter in their lives — how they learned years ago from a fellow inmate in a British prison how to conceal a break-in by using toothpaste to cover up holes drilled into a wall.

The two Chicago-area residents did a 13-year stint for the brazen 1980 robbery of a 45-carat diamond and other gems from a London jeweler. They had donned disguises and took over the shop with a revolver and a hand grenade before fleeing back to Chicago.

The egg-shaped Marlborough Diamond, then valued at $960,000, has been missing ever since

The chatter is part of a cache of recordings the government seeks to use to prosecute Scalise, Rachel and a third confidant, Robert Pullia, this week as they face charges that bring a whole new kind of intrigue. The three, all now in their early 70s, planned strong-armed robberies and home invasions, even in their sunset years, authorities alleged. read more Here