The Italian Mayfield Road Mob dominated organized crime in Cleveland during the latter years of Prohibition. Many members of the gang came from the Little Italy section located on Cleveland’s East Side and, prior to prohibition, specialized in payroll stickups. One such bloody stickup, which resulted in three executions of robbers, has gone down in Cleveland history.
by Allan May
The Italian Mayfield Road Mob dominated organized crime in Cleveland during the latter years of Prohibition. Many members of the gang came from the Little Italy section located on Cleveland’s East Side, where Murray Hill and Mayfield Road are the two main arteries through the neighborhood.
The gang’s specialty was payroll robberies.
Without the safeguards of bank wire transfers and commercial armored cars, payroll robberies had become such a common occurrence in Cleveland during the late teens and early 1920s that the city’s three daily newspapers had made them a staple of their front pages. This was a time when many business payrolls were handled by company officials who went to the bank on a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly schedule to pick up cash to pay employees. If companies didn’t hire or provide armed escorts or if they didn’t alter their transfer procedures by taking different routes to and from the bank, or scheduling different pick-up times, they could easily become targets of payroll bandits.
One of the more sensational payroll robberies took place on the morning of Dec. 31, 1920, resulting in the double slaying of Wilfred C. Sly and George K. Fanner of the W. W. Sly Manufacturing Company.