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Sunday, 15 November 2020

Discovery of two gold coins sparks Catskills treasure hunt for three-foot steel box filled with diamonds, bonds and $1,000 bills belonging to 1930s gangster Dutch Schultz

 A new documentary is set to reveal the journey of treasure hunters who are racing to find the buried fortune of a New York City gangster who was gunned down before revealing the location of his loot, which is now valued at $150million. 

Notorious Bronx-based bootlegger, Arthur 'Dutch Schutlz' Flegenheimer, is believed to have stashed away money, World War I Liberty Bonds and jewels that were valued at $7million in 1935. It is now valued at around $150million. 

On October 23, 1935, Schultz was gunned down at the Palace Chop House in Newark, New Jersey, by hitmen Charles 'The Bug' Workman and Emmanuel 'Mendy' Weiss. 

According to the new documentary, Secrets of the Dead: Gangster's Gold, Schultz died a day later, on October 24, 1935, without revealing the exact location of his treasure. 

However, just two hours before he took his last breath, the gangster did leave a clue about the whereabouts of his fortune. 

His last words were transcribed by a stenographer and were published in a book titled, The Last Words of Dutch Schultz.

'Lulu, drive me back to Phoenicia,' Schultz told his bodyguard. 'Don't be a dope, Lulu, we better get those Liberty Bonds out of the box and cash 'em.' 

The documentary, Secrets of the Dead: Gangster's Gold, follows Canadian treasure hunters, Steve Zazulyk and Ryan Fazekas (both pictured), who believe they are close to recovering the hidden treasure and believe it's hidden in the Catskills town of Phoenicia

The documentary, Secrets of the Dead: Gangster's Gold, follows Canadian treasure hunters, Steve Zazulyk and Ryan Fazekas (both pictured), who believe they are close to recovering the hidden treasure and believe it's hidden in the Catskills town of Phoenicia

Using modern technology, the group hopes to uncover the missing treasure

Using modern technology, the group hopes to uncover the missing treasure 

With information from private investigator, Bruce Alterman, the treasure hunters (pictured) believe that the treasure is buried in a wooded area alongside Stoney Clove Creek, in Phoenicia

With information from private investigator, Bruce Alterman, the treasure hunters (pictured) believe that the treasure is buried in a wooded area alongside Stoney Clove Creek, in Phoenicia

PBS film Gangster's Gold hunts for buried $50M in Catskills
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The documentary follows Canadian treasure hunters, Steve Zazulyk and Ryan Fazekas, who believe they are close to recovering the hidden treasure, which may be hidden in the Catskills town of Phoenicia.

And while Zazulyk and Fazekas aren't the only two searching for the loot, they believe they are the best equipped due to private investigator, Bruce Alterman.  

Zazulyk told the New York Post that Alterman is 'the key person'.

Alterman has claimed that his grandfather told him stories about Schultz. Alterman also found a 1939 article in Collier's magazine in which Schultz's former lawyer described a 2-by-3-foot steel box filled with diamonds, gold coins and $1,000 bills.


'Bruce is privy to a lot of private information that you would not mention to very many people,' Zazulyk said. 'Bruce threaded the story together with timelines, details on how far [Schultz and his gang] traveled and the roads they took.' 

With information from Alterman, the treasure hunters believe that the treasure is buried in a wooded area alongside Stoney Clove Creek, in Phoenicia.

Using modern technology, the group hopes to uncover the missing treasure.      

So far they have only discovered two gold coins dating back to 1903 near the creek. 

They believed location of the loot is near the Stoney Clove Creek, in Phoenicia (depicted)

They believed location of the loot is near the Stoney Clove Creek, in Phoenicia (depicted)

Dutch Schultz before his death in 1935
Dutch Schultz

Schultz was a Prohibition-era gangster born to German-Jewish parents on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1902. Schultz eventually became known as the 'Beer Baron of the Bronx' after he forced bar owners to choose between buying beer he sold or violence

According to the Post, Mark Schimel, of Stack’s Bowers Rare Coins in Manhattan, valued the pieces at around $950 each.

Fazekas said the coins are 'bread-crumb[s] leading us down a trail to the big hit'.  

Schultz was a Prohibition-era gangster born to German-Jewish parents on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1902. 

He grew up in poverty like many immigrant families at the time and began his life of crime by joining a youth gang. 

Schultz was gunned down in New Jersey in 1935. It was only upon his death that the existence of his treasure was made known=

Schultz was gunned down in New Jersey in 1935. It was only upon his death that the existence of his treasure was made known=

Schultz eventually became known as the 'Beer Baron of the Bronx' after he forced bar owners to choose between buying beer he sold or violence.   

Organized crime began taking over New York City after Prohibition went into effect in the US on January 17, 1920.

At the time, Schultz set up his commercial bootlegging operations in the Catskill Mountains.

Over time, Schultz added illegal gambling to his portfolio of crimes through the operation of slot machines and policy racket, which was like a type of lottery. 

In 1933, he was indicted on a tax charge and went into hiding for several months before surrendering in November 1934.

He was tried twice in 1935 for income tax evasion with the first case ending with a hung jury and the second ending with his acquittal. 

While he was on trial, his businesses did fair too well, something he blamed on New York special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey. 

He is believed to have started plotting to get rid of Dewey, which made other New York City gangsters nervous. They then ordered a hit on Schultz and hired members of the mob hit squad 'Murder, Inc' to carry out the job. 

It was only upon Schultz's death that the existence of his treasure was made known.   

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