If post-millennial Hollywood has taught us anything, it's that Boston crooks are flawed, loyal, and constantly in search of spiritual redemption. So it was no surprise to open up The New York Times this morning and see William Yardley's article detailing the story of Enrico Ponzo, a Boston gangster who spent 17 years posing as a rancher in Marsing, Idaho before being apprehended by authorities last month. Ponzo disappeared in 1994 after being indicted on extortion and attempted murder charges. In Idaho, the only thing he extorted was the respect of his friends and neighbors.
"He was the go-to guy for anything, working on the computer or fixing irrigation problems,” friend Kelly Verceles enthused to the Boston Herald in February. Resident Brodie Clapier was particularly charmed by Ponzo's fondness for bib overalls and straw hats. “People did wear bib overalls here — in the 1930s," he explained to Yardley. Verceles even thinks Ponzo will return "We sold his cows for him, but he told me to keep his fishing boat ready," he told Yardley.. “He realizes that he wasn’t the best citizen back then, and he knows he’s got to do what he’s got to do. But when he comes back, he’s going to be Enrico Ponzo the rancher, not Jay Shaw. He’s kind of excited about that.”
We're skeptical. These stories have a way of ending up like this.
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