Detroit Mafia Murder Flashback: Big-Time Bookie “Good Looking Solly” Shindel Met His Brutal Fate 50 Years Ago In Wake Of Vegas Bender

December 7, 2021 – Fifty years ago this week Jewish Detroit mob associate Sol (Good Looking Solly) Shindel was slain inside his Southfield, Michigan residence in a mafia hit sanctioned by the notorious Giacalone brothers. The murder served as a hostile takeover of his prolific bookmaking business and vengeance for a Las Vegas gambling binge taken on the Giacalones’ dime in the days preceding the killing, per FBI records. The mob in the Motor City also worried Shindel might be tempted to turn on the Tocco-Zerilli crime family after being indicted twice in the prior six months with a pair of Giacalone lieutenants.

Shindel, 52, was discovered shot and beaten to death in his living room on the evening of December 6, 1971 by Giacalone crew enforcer Bobby (The Animal) LaPuma, who routinely stopped by Shindel’s home for a list of names of debtors he needed to collect from on Shindel’s behalf. Per Shindel’s FBI file and Southfield Police Department documents, LaPuma and his gangland running buddy and best friend, Ronnie (Hollywood) Morelli were considered two of the top suspects in the hit. Both LaPuma and Morelli had recently been indicted in back-to-back gambling and extortions cases alongside Shindel, first via a federal indictment dropped by the feds in May 1971 and then a separate one brought by state authorities that October.

The 83-year old LaPuma is retired from the mob and resides in Colorado. Morelli died in 1985 of a massive heart attack in prison, just three months away from being released and scheduled for surgery. They were two of the Giacalone brothers’ main enforcers during the 1970s. “Hollywood Ronnie” Morelli was longtime Detroit mob street boss Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone’s former driver and protege. “Bobby the Animal” did most of his muscle work for Vito (Billy Jack) Giacalone, Tony Jack’s younger brother and a formidable caporegime in his own right within the Tocco-Zerilli crime family.

According to an FBI memo circulated following his death, Shindel had only been in the Giacalone wing of the Detroit mob for a short period of time, transferred from another wing of the syndicate after Matthew (Mike the Enforcer) Rubino got sent to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in 1970 for extortion and tax evasion tied to his ownership of a furniture store. Rubino died behind bars in the summer of 1971. Shindel was once a POW in World War II and ran the biggest sports bookmaking operation on the Westside of Detroit at the time of his homic


From December 1 through December 3 of 1971, Shindel vacationed with LaPuma, Morelli and then up-and-coming gambling figure Allen (The General) Hilf in Las Vegas. Over the course of the weekend trip, a heavily-intoxicated Shindel accrued a debt of roughly $75,000 in markers at five different casinos. Rumors spread after his murder that Shindel had stolen $50,000 from the Giacalones and lost it at all at the dice and blackjack tables that weekend.

Combined with the two indictments hanging over his head and the problems he was having with his wife (a New York Italian mafia “princess”), even the slightest notion of Shindel cheating the Giacalone brothers out of money, would place him skating on the thinest of ice. The feds pegged the Giacalones for a combined three dozen bodies or more in their days as the faces of the Motor City mob.

The fact that his underworld protector, Mike Rubino was not around anymore to go to bat for him, left him exposed. The fact that he owned such a fat sports book, made him ripe for being picked off by his bloodsucking cohorts. Morelli and Hilf were eager to seize control of Shindel’s gambling portfolio for themselves, per FBI informants, and Morelli pushed Tony Jack for the go-ahead to take him out. In the days that followed Shindel’s slaying, Morelli and Hilf were granted the rights to Shindel’s betting rackets at a sitdown with the Giacalones, per the informants.

Shindel was last seen alive having drinks with Morelli and LaPuma at the Bachelor’s Quarters bar and lounge, a frequent Giacalone crew gathering spot on the Eastside of town, in the late afternoon of December 6. LaPuma told the FBI that he let himself into Shindel’s home that night with a key Shindel have provided him and discovered his body lying on the living room carpet in front of the television set. He had been shot twice in the face and struck several times over the head with a steel-rod fireplace poker.

When LaPuma left his life in the mob behind more than 15 years ago, the FBI linked him as a “person of interest” to at least 10 mob hits, including Good Looking Solly Shindel’s murder. Tony and Billy Giacalone died of natural causes in 2001 and 2012, respectively. The Giacalone brothers remain the prime suspects in the famous disappearance and murder of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, who vanished en route to a lunch meeting with Tony Giacalone at a Bloomfield Township, Michigan restaurant on July 30, 1975.

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