Secret mob grave linked to Patriarca family

HAMDEN, Conn. -- One of at least three bodies found buried in a suspected mob grave may be that of a missing Massachusetts hotel executive and another a drug kingpin who disappeared just before he was to go on trial in 1984, published reports said Tuesday.

Federal agents and state police dug up the grave Monday, where the remains of at least three people were found buried in a garage behind a locksmith shop, officials said.


The owner of the shop, convicted bank robber Richard Joseph Beedle Sr., 58, appeared in U.S. District Court in New Haven and was ordered held without bond, said U.S. Attorney Stanley A. Twardy Jr.

The bones of three and perhaps four people believed to be victims of warfare within the Patriarca organized crime family in the Hartford, Conn.-Springfield, Mass., area were found in a garage behind Beedle's home, Twardy said.


Beedle was charged with being an accessory after the fact of a murder committed in aid of racketeering, whichis punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, Twardy said.

Arrested on the same charge Monday was Salvatore 'Butch' D'Aquila Jr. of Middletown, 48, who operates Central News, a newspaper and variety store on Main Street in Middletown, Twardy said.

D'Aquila has past convictions on state gambling and fraud charges, said Twardy.

FBI agents discovered the mass grave in a garage behind Beedle's home in Hamden on Friday after searching for weeks with the cooperation of another suspect convicted on racketeering charges.

Jack Johns, a reputed organized crime figure arrested in March in a roundup of the Providence, R.I.-based Patriarca family, told authorities that bodies had been buried in Hamden, but he could not remember the address, Twardy said.

Johns rode through the New Haven suburb with FBI agents and spotted the house Friday, Twardy said.

Beedle was arrested and federal and state investigators with a search warrant and picks and shovels dug up the remains over the weekend.

Beedle, who operated Dick's Locksmith Shop in Hamden, was convicted in a 1970 bank robbery in Allentown, Pa., and was long associated with organized crime, New Haven police said.


The grave had been disturbed earlier in an apparent attempt to remove the remains and no other fragements were found in the search which continued Monday, Twardy said.

Twardy said he could not comment on the possible identities of the victims, but a published report said one of those buried in Hamden may be William Grant, an East Hartford restaurant owner who vanished in 1988.

Grant was regarded as an ally to William P. 'Billy' Grasso of New Haven, who the government said was second in command of the Patriarca family before he was shot in the back of the neck in June 1989 and thrown into the Connecticut River in Wethersfield.

Reports published in Boston Tuesday said another body may be that of Theodore A. Berns, 54, a hotel executive from Beverly, Mass., and another that of Salvatore M. Caruana, 51, a missing reputed drug kingpin.

The Boston Herald said Berns allegedly had been involved with Caruana's wife.

Caruana had accused his wife of infidelity with Berns in letters he wrote to her while on the lam, an FBI affidavit said.

Berns, an executive with the Sage Hortel Corp., and Caruana lived 10 blocks apart and met through the Peabody, Mass., Youth Hockey League where Berns was a coach. Caruana's three sons played in the league.


Berns, the father of five, testified in 1984 before a federal grand jury investigating Caruana's disappearance. Caruana had jumped bail the day before he was to go on trial in Boston as the head of an international drug operation.

An FBI affidavit said Johns said he had helped dispose of a dead body around 1986 and said a photograph of Berns looked like the man he saw buried in the garage.

The Herald said that while some investigators speculate Caruana is alive, others believe Patriarca may have ordered his death to prevent him from turning informant.

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