Jack Terrier was a prominent lawyer in Hudson City. A “Criminal Attorney,” his clients were a miserable mix of small time bookies, petty drug dealers, and failed thieves. A maestro of the criminal justice system, Jack would perform before nodding, complacent, if not complicit, judges many times a day. The truly virtuoso displays took place later on that evening at a local watering hole, “MacGonigles.” There, over expensive Scotch and free corned beef, judges found leniency to be its own reward. Seated on a bar stool, members of Hudson City’s Finest could be observed slapping the back of “Good Ol’ JT.” Detectives, who a few hours earlier could not remember faces, names, dates, or even the color of their own wive’s hair, would now be overheard giving blow by blow descriptions of obscure welterweight bouts of some thirty years in the past
Ah, but as Summer must invariably give way to Fall, as the golden tresses of the young lass must turn to white, all good things must come to an end! It seems that Jack MacGonigle, owner of the aforementioned tavern, and his silent partner, and also his brother-in-law, Ivan “Stash” Piskorskey, Hudson City Police Captain were the possessors of tremendous stamina. Captain Piskorskey, in addition to his duties as a peace officer, had a night job at a trucking terminal. He made a deal with the watchman to allow Jack MacGonigle to drive into the yard with a van. On a daily basis all three helped themselves to a varied assortment of freight: cameras, cans of crab meat, typewriters, Oriental rugs, and, as the official report later stated, “many other items of value.”
It’s been said that “the wheels of the gods grind extremely slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.” If you’re caught stealing at some corner candy store, the owner will just give you the old heave-ho, an’ don’t let the door hit ya in the ass! Large businesses work differently. It takes a long time for anybody to realize that anything is amiss. Then there will be a host of claims to both the trucking outfit and to various insurance companies for the lost merchandise. When it is obvious to all that the dam has, in fact, sprung a leak, the FBI will be contacted. The Feds have their own circular set of maneuvers. They just don’t run out to the warehouse and drag some clown off to Newark. They wait. They watch. They take pictures. No arrests are made until the snare is around the whole little clique. When the FBI is sure that they know every part of the scheme, and that there will be convictions, the whole crew gets arrested at the same time.
So it was here. The FBI had an agent, using an assumed identity, of course, rent an apartment directly across the street from “MacGonigles.” The premises were kept under surveillance, both by agents and by motion picture cameras, twenty-four hours a day. Appropriate listening and recording devices were installed in the walls of the bar and on both the public and private phone lines. The Feds got the pictures that they expected – Jack MacGonigle and Captain Stash Piskorskey unloading cases of goods during the dead of night. The Washington Net also caught a lot of other fish, both big and small. The FBI got pictures of Jack Terrier, accompanied by a parade of judges and police going into the bar every night. The wiretaps heard a host of “arrangements” discussed over the telephone. And the murmuring sounds that accompany counting, usually of cash, “one hundred, two hundred, three hundred….” Recordings of judges counting. Recordings of police counting. Hours and hours of it, every day.