Morris Goldstein, a New Hampshire tailor, made the mistake of flashing a large bankroll when he agreed to buy a watch from Carmine Lanzillo, one of his customers. Lanzillo went to four Italian immigrant friends and proposed a plan to mug Goldstein at the tram stop where he alighted on his way home.

The five men – besides Lanzillo there was his brother Luigi, Francisco Dusso, 25, Carmine Pisaniello, 21, and Carmine Battiata – lay in ambush for Goldstein armed with knives, guns, blackjacks and brass knuckles. When they attacked the tailor he fought back bravely until one of them shot him dead. The noise raised the neighbourhood and people poured out of their houses, causing the muggers to flee empty-handed.

All five were speedily rounded up and all were capitally convicted and sentenced to be executed. On Saturday, June 17, 1918, Carmine Lanzillo, Dusso and Pisaniello were hanged in Connecticut State Prison.

Carmine Lanzillo, the ringleader, died the hardest – he had to be carried to the gallows. His brother was jailed for life and Battiata was sentenced to three to 15 years.