This week on the program we decided to tackle the crime of arson. It is a very wide ranging crime, and depending on the situation can come with very severe consequences including the Death Penalty.

Earlier in the week Mannie and I had a planning session for the program and we decided that this would be a great opportunity to be joined by a guest or two. Our first thoughts were to have an arson investigator, although we did not know any directly we had the right contacts.

The more we talked, the more we vacillated. Might it not be more interesting to approach the subject through the eyes of an arsonist? Of course there is hardly an Arsonists ‘r’ us web site where you can get hold of your favorite arsonist, so it was back to square one.

Arson is however a tool that organized crime has been known to use. Sometimes to intimidate, and sometimes as retribution. A couple of quick phone calls to my good friend at Real Wiseguys had our dilemma solved.

Retired investigator, crime writer and author Denny Griffin together with ex Gambino associate Andrew DiDonata agreed to join us on air.

Although Andrew is still bound with government witness obligations he did share a great deal of general observations and ‘hypotheticals’. One of which I found very interesting indeed. It was centered around the war on drugs, not the war being waged by law enforcement, but rather the war being waged on the dark side for control of turf. While he offered no names, the story was still very thought provoking. It centered around using abandoned, or at least unoccupied buildings being used as a distribution site by one group, and the systematic ‘torching’ of those buildings by a rival group.

He was quick to add that he had no hand in this, it was just a story he heard!

Denny Griffin also had some interesting comments. He co-authored a book with the Chicago Outfit’s Frank Cullotta, it turns out that Frank also had arson in his toolbox. In the book Frank talks about two situations, one was ‘private’ and the other was ‘professional’ but fire was the weapon.

Our final segment on the program was about the ongoing Casey Anthony saga. This is a story that just will not go away, no matter how hard you try!

If you missed the live broadcast you can listen to the recording here. Andrew DiDonato is always a fabulous guest, and he certainly did not disappoint.

Simon Barrett

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