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Letter: Deadly aftermath in arrest of bank robber

In 1952, Donald P. Shea, of Baldwin, helped

In 1952, Donald P. Shea, of Baldwin, helped capture Willie Sutton, a notorious bank robber who stole $2 million from more than 100 banks, escaped prison multiple times and was on FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. The arrest brought an end to Sutton's 30-year crime wave.

"In police circles, Don Shea is like the Lone Ranger, a real hero, to old-timers," said Richard Ornstein, then vice president of the New York Veteran Police Association in Baldwin.

Shea and a detective approached Sutton while he was fixing his car. When questioned, he showed them false identification and kept working. They brought him back to the precinct for further questioning and when finger printing was mentioned, he said, "OK, you got me. I'm Willie Sutton."

Shea went on to lead a successful career at the NYPD, retiring in 1983 because of a detached retina. Sutton was sentenced to 30 to 120 years and sent to Attica state prison, but he was granted an early release in 1969 because of failing health. He died in 1980 at age 79.

In this image, Sutton is booked by Sgt. James Kiernan at Bergen Street station in Brooklyn on Feb. 18, 1952. At left is patrolman Joseph McClellan, at right is detective Louis Weiner, and behind Sutton stands patrolman Shea. On the desk is a .38 caliber automatic found on Sutton when he was arrested and a .38 revolver found by police in his room. Credit: AP Photo / Marty Lederhandler

I read the recent obituary on Donald Shea with interest [“NYPD vet dead at 90,” News, July 29]. But it left out a key fact about the arrest of bank robber Willie Sutton.

Arnold Schuster, the man who pointed out Sutton to the cops, was gunned down on March 8, 1952, just three weeks after Sutton was nabbed. Police theorized that a Brooklyn mob boss ordered the hit to punish Schuster for being a snitch, but no proof was offered.

Richard Reif, Kew Gardens