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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview with David Heinzmann

Aired August 5, 2003 - 19:34   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You might not think it makes sense to go shark fishing in dirt. That's what the FBI has been doing in Chicago. They're searching for a lone shark missing for 33 years now. After a tip led them to an embankment at the home of the White Sox they found what might be the bones of Michael Frank AlBergo known as "Bones," also known as "Ham Bone" apparently.
David Heinzmann has been covering the story for the "Chicago Tribune," and joins us from Chicago.

Who is this guy allegedly buried there?

DAVID HEINZMANN, POLICE REPORTER, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: He was a collector, a juice loan collector for the mob in Chicago in the 1960s.

COOPER: A juice loan?

HEINZMANN: High interest loan. Loan sharking.

COOPER: It's been a while since I've owed at loan shark anything. So I'm a little unfamiliar with the terminology.

HEINZMANN If you got a loan and didn't pay they would send bone out to rough you up. And he was caught in the loan sharking scheme by police and the states's attorney office here in 1969 and was awaiting trial when he disappeared in 1970.

COOPER: Allegedly he's was buried under this land which at the time had nothing to do with the baseball stadium. It was just empty land, correct?

HEINZMANN At the time it was. It was actually a construction site. What the FBI informant said it was a construction site at the time. They -- somebody in the mob here killed AlBergo, took him, and buried his body here. A warehouse was built on top of the site. And then 20-some years later that warehouse was turn torn down and turned into a new parking lot for the new what was then Comiskey Park, it's now U.S. Cellular Field.

COOPER: There's more to this story. It's not that the FBI is interested in finding out what happened to this guy, AlBergo, it's more about the informant who gave them the information and why is that important?

HEINZMANN Well, the FBI's not saying anything officially about that at this point. What some sources of people at my paper and other papers have found out is that the informant may have information for them on a number of unsolved mob murders. And they're -- this is sort of a test of whether this information is accurate. And then they'll go from there.

COOPER: If this guy is good for this information, they think, OK, maybe his other information might be valid as well?

HEINZMANN Possibly, yes.

COOPER: What have they found so far?

HEINZMANN So far they've found one human tooth and they've found a bunch of bone fragments, including a spinal cord, that they briefly thought was a human spinal cord and turned out to be that of a small animal, probably a dog. And several bone fragments among what they found have been sent to the Cooke County medical examiner's office are being evaluated to see whether they're human remains. And then they will be sent to the FBI's forensic lab in Quantico to do DNA testing against one of AlBergo's surviving relatives' DNA to see if it's him.

COOPER: You have been able to find out about the other cases the FBI is interested from this informant. I mean, obviously, this is kind of an old case, cold case. Is stuff still cooking, you know, mob stuff still out there, that they're interested in from this informant?

HEINZMANN Yes. I don't have any names offhand but there are a number of unsolved suspected mob slayings, you know, from the last 30 years or several decades that the informant if he was a high-placed Chicago mobster, could very well have information about. So, they are unsolved murders. The FBI at this point is not talking about whether they have a suspect in mind for AlBergo's murder. But obviously they, you know -- if the information's good, then that may lead to solve something of these unsolved murders.

COOPER: It's a fascinating case and I've enjoyed reading about it through the "Chicago Tribune." David Heinzmann, thanks very much.

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