Riverville Murder - Chapter 16

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Fifteen


Parking the cars some fifty yards away from the bar, the men quietly make their way to the lone building and separate. Those assigned to watch the street, separate to positions on both sides and a short distance down the street, while the rear group moves to various strategic spots in view of the rear door.  All are looking for indications of an alarm system. None is found.

Scott and his group must find a quiet way to get through the front door. As they examine the lock, Sergeant Allan Rockford comes forward and inserts two thin metal rods into the keyhole and deftly maneuvers them until a slight click is heard, and the door opens a couple of inches.

“Where did you learn that stuff, Allan,” Scott quietly asks.

“From a retired guy in my neighborhood who was a locksmith, or so he told me. Thought it might come in handy some day on the job, and it did.”

Scott chuckled internally before directing, in a whisper, “Watch the stairs going up and down. Step in as far as you can on each step, and as flat-footed as possible to avoid squeaks. Check all rooms carefully and look for any escape routes. Above all, do not block the view of your back-up. It might save your life. Come running to the sound of gunfire. You might be needed. OK, it’s five sharp, MOVE.”

The interior is dimly lit by nightlights, the kind one plugs in a wall receptacle. Their illumination just removes the need for flashlights. Two officers rush to the rear door and let in two men for the basement search. The four of them start looking for the door down.

Scott and his group head up the stairs amid hardly perceptible squeaks. At the top, Scott hand-directs his men to the two doors down a narrow hall, lit by more nightlights. He and Allan, backed up by Sgt. Simmons and a BPD detective, step to the door nearest the stairs. All eyes are on Scott as he, with a hand gesture, and turning on his flashlight, signal all to enter their respective targets. The doors are kicked in synchronically with one loud crash.

Four men, fully dressed, are found on separate army cots in the last room. Scott and Allan, in their room, move quickly to a large bed just as Goddard and a young woman emerge from under blankets with stunned looks, and trying to peer around the powerful beam of the four flashlights. Goddard reaches for a drawer in his bed table.

“Try it and you’re a dead man, as the cowboys say,” Allan yells as he quickly moves to the table and removes a short-barreled pistol from the drawer.

In the other room, the four Goddard men are lined up and searched. All are carrying weapons of various size and caliber.

Nothing was found on the main floor or in the basement, other than some bar and cleaning supplies, and a medium size steel safe.

When Goddard and the others are brought down stairs, the lights are on and the safe is already sitting on a table in the middle of the floor.

“Ok everyone, sit down at a table and empty your pockets. Miss, do you have a purse or something?” Scott askes Goddard’s lady.

“I have it, the BPD detective says to Scott, it’s a cosmetic case – the only thing I found in the room.”

Scott’s voice rises above the din of the loudly objecting people at the table. “Quiet, please and give me your attention. You are all under arrest on suspicion of racketeering. This will be completely explained to you at the Boston Police Station, where additional charges might be individually levied against you. Any Questions?”

No questions ensued. However, the woman, found in bed with Goddard, began weeping quietly.

The engines of the trawler, “Dolphin” hummed quietly and moved the boat slowly away from the wharf. About two-hundred yards out, it turned North and headed past Little Diamond and Great Diamond Islands. At the top of Great Diamond, the Dolphin turned East and then South through Hussey Sound and the southern traffic lane. east of Cape Elizabeth, where she picked up the out bound Eastern Approach Lane and headed for the open sea.

At the same time, the FTA agent on watch notified the Coast Guard of the Dolphin’s departure and an off-shore cutter set about the search. Unfortunately, the evasive maneuvers, not being the logical thing to do when heading for the British Islands, put the Dolphin out of reach of the Coast Guard; much to the embarrassment of the young Lieutenant commanding the cutter.

At Sea:
The Dolphin made another turn and continued north to Newfoundland where, at the north end of the island, it turned due-east and traveled to the specified coordinates. The captain ordered the engines off in the relative shallow waters above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge; a spot about half way between Newfoundland and the southern tip of England, and the mouth of the Irish Sea.

The low morning sun glistening off the water, made a visual silhouette of the freighter as it approached the position of the Dolphin. The small crew watched the freighter get closer and closer, observing that crewmen lined the rails every ten feet or so. All held a sub-machinegun at the ready.

The freighter’s First Mate, using a line gun, fired fore and aft lines to the Dolphin, then slowly hauled the trawler into the protective bumpers it lowered along its hull.

After a lengthy conversation between the captains, a boom with attached cargo netting swung over the Dolphin and lowered it to the deck, and the boxes marked Auto Parts. And later, through a hatch to the hold. Two hours passed before the cargo was completely transferred to the freighter, and the Dolphin turned southwest and to a port in Virginia to hide. The freighter circled and headed for the Irish Sea and the port of Dublin

Just as the freighter entered the Irish Sea, the sound of a hovering helicopter brought the freighter’s captain out of a sound sleep. Shaking his head, in an effort to fully wake, he staggered along the companionway and up a ladder and through a hatch to the deck. Almost blinded by the sun, he managed to climb to the flying bridge, as the British helicopter’s speaker demand he stop all engines. Two crewmen panicked and fired bursts at the helicopter. In return the plane set off a burst from its Gatling gun, sweeping the hull just below the deck. Crewmen, at this show of fire-power, immediately threw the guns overboard. 

After scrambling to the bridge, and a short argument with the first mate, the engines went silent and the anchor chains clattered as the anchors settled to the bottom of the shallow passage.

The helicopter maintained its vigil until two destroyers of the Irish Navy flanked the freighter. Irish Seamen, heavily armed, boarded the freighter and herded the crew into the galley. Officers and crewmen examine the cargo to determine that it is illegal armament, for which a Bill of Lading cannot be produced.

Essential freighter crewmen are put under personal guard and returned to duty as the ship continues its way to Dublin. The remainder of the crew are locked in the crew’s quarters, with guards at both exits.

The destroyers keep their flanking positions well into Dublin Harbor., with anti-aircraft guns trained on the freighter.

In a holding cell at the BPD, Scott and Goddard sit at a small, bare table. “Where can I find Jerry Mc Dougal and John Byrne, and who are the four men we found in the other bedroom?” Scott asks.

“Those names aren’t familiar to me. Nope, never heard of them,” Goddard says as he blows cigarette smoke in Scott’s direction, and ignores the second part of the question.

“Let me remind you, Mr. Goddard, that we know much more about you than you can imagine. We have Hurley and Nunsay in custody and they are being very cooperative. Frank Sullivan gave me five-page essay on you, your two gangs and your activities. But then, perhaps you don’t know about his being an Inspector in Interpole. Believe me, it can be to your advantage to cooperate.”

“You go to hell, cop. You talk to my attorneys and we’ll see how smart you are. I’ll be out of this in a week.”

Scott filled and lit his pipe, looked at Goddard for a few seconds, shook his head and smiled as in disbelief.

“Guard, let me out,” Scott shouts as he walks to the cell door.

The officers working with him, assembled in the squad room, became quiet as Scott entered. “If anyone wants to get breakfast, or take a walk, now is the time. We’ll meet at the cars at 0700 and start cruising Southie for mob members. Don’t forget the photos. Go after those you know first and keep an eye on places you know they like to go. You all have two feet. Don’t be afraid to use them to follow, or to go in a place you know the gang haunts. You have John Doe warrants. You can go anywhere you deem as justified to do your job.”

“Allan, I have to find an office where I can make a couple of calls and talk to Reichman. See if you can find some breakfast for the three of us. If I remember, there is a Deli just down the street to the left as you go out.”

Just as Reichman and Scott entered the office, a sergeant approached and asked, “Are you Wadsworth?”

“Yes, what can I do for you?”

“First, there is an overseas call we’ve been holding on to while trying to locate you. From Ireland, I believe. The call has been bouncing around from place to place trying to catch up with you, second, John Guilford, District supervisor, ATF, wants you to call him.  The sergeant said as he picked up the phone on the desk.

“I’ve found him, thank the Saints. Put the call through to this extension, please.”

“Yes, inspector, he’s right here,” the sergeant said and handed the phone to Scott.

“Sullivan here, Wadsworth. I just received word that the guns have been transferred to the freighter and the Navy is escorting it into Dublin Harbor, even as we speak, thanks to a British Navy helicopter who gave us a hand. Unfortunately, we did not capture the Dolphin. It was out of sight when they finally found the freighter. If you are in touch with John Guilford or Henry Reichmann, please let them know and ask them to notify Washington.”

“Great news Inspector. Thanks for calling. Reichman is with me and I’ll let him know immediately. I’ll also arrange for someone to notify the Coast Guard about the Dolphin, if that hasn’t been done. I hope the C.G. can catch them. I doubt they will return to Portland.

“Today, we are rounding up the Compton Hill and C Street gangs. We have Nathen Goddard, four of his men and a young woman in custody; all captured in a middle-of-the-night raid. They are being questioned right now. As soon as the city wakes up, we will be cruising in South Boston and Somerville and gang popular places. I think we will just about clean up this bunch today. I’ll let you know how we make out as soon as I hear from Winston Grant, Chief of the Somerville Municipal Police. Also, I might need you here soon; affidavits and information, you know. Can you get away for a couple of weeks?”

“That will not be a problem. The government police will handle the freighter’s crew. Just give me notice -- a day or two. My best to your Family, Scott. Good bye.”

“Henry, John Guilford requested I call him. I guess he is still in Portland. Do you have the number?” Scott asked.

“Yes, in my head. Hand me the phone.”

“Reichman here, director. Wadsworth wishes to speak to you,” as he pushes the speaker button and hands the phone to Scott.

“Hello, John. If you are calling about the guns, Sullivan called me from Ireland and told me the story. Too bad they didn’t grab the Dolphin as well. He suggested someone notify Washington ATF and the Coast Guard.

“Thanks, Scott. Yes, Apparently the Irish Naval Department notified Washington. Washington called me. I was wondering what you know. Washington was very brief and blunt, as if questioning whether I can handle things or not. They did say the Coast Guard promised to put out every possible cutter on the east coast to catch the Dolphin.”

“I hope you are wrong about their attitude. I’ll get a letter off to your Washington headquarters applauding your devoted work in Portland. It’s not your fault. The CG was alerted weeks ago, and again when the weather cleared. They were just outsmarted by the Dolphin’s maneuvering.”

“That’s generous of you, Scott. Don’t hesitate to call if you need anything from the ATF. I’ll be in Portland until the CG gets the Dolphin’s crew back here, where their crime started. We are already talking to the dock workers.”

Allan comes through the door with three orders of scrambled eggs with sausage, and coffee to wash it down, just as Scott is dialing the Somerville Police Department.

“This is chief investigator Wadsworth. Please put me through to Chief Grant.”

“Yes, sir. It might take a while to hunt him down. Can I call you when I have him?”

“Fine,” Scott replied and gave him the number.”

The three men finished breakfast and are relaxing with coffee. Scott is about to light an Ehrlich Rhodesian pipe, when the telephone interrupts the quietness of the room.

 “Do you have him, Mr. Wadsworth?” the voice loudly asked.

“If this is Chief Grant and you are referring to Nathan Goddard, I do indeed. He is presently in a holding cell, all by himself, thinking over his plight. We got him at his bar, sound asleep beside a lovely young woman. As yet, we know nothing about her. In addition, four men were also arrested while sleeping in another room. We are assuming they are all gang members – bodyguard, perhaps. Almost forgot that we found a steel safe that, when they get it open, might turn out to be a treasure cove of insight into the two gangs,” Scott answered.

“Fabulous catch! Grant exclaimed. I have men in good position to nab several of the “Hill” gang when we start part two at Seven. From there on, it will be patrolling and spotting to get others. My men are highly motivated to clean this up, so I expect great results. I’ll call you tonight and let you know how it went.”


Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

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