U.S.

5 Arrested In 1978 'Goodfellas' Heist

The FBI has made five arrests in connection with the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist, in which more than $5 million were stolen from the JFK Airport.

5 Arrested In 1978 'Goodfellas' Heist
New York Daily News / Joe Marino
SMS

The FBI has now made a series of arrests in connection with the infamous Lufthansa heist at New York's Kennedy Airport more than three decades ago. 

Federal agents conducted predawn raids in Queens and Long Island Thursday and arrested five men they believe to be mobsters, including 78-year-old Vincent Asaro — whom they believe to be a ranking member of New York City's Bonanno crime family. (Via Al Jazeera)

Asaro will be the first accused mobster to face charges relating to the 1978 Lufthansa heist in which more than $5 million cash and $1 million worth of jewels were stolen — the single largest heist committed on U.S. soil at the time. 

USA Today explains: "Using information provided by an airport worker ... some half-dozen masked gunman ... stole millions of U.S. currency that was part of a monthly shipment via Lufthansa to then-West Germany where it was used in monetary exchanges."

The caper was made even more famous after Martin Scorsese's highly praised mafia film "Goodfellas" included an airport robbery that was eerily similar to the Lufthansa heist. (Via Warner Bros. / "Goodfellas")

The investigation, more than 30 years in the making, went cold in the mid '80s after suspects believed to be connected to the robbery continually turned up dead. 

The investigation only gained steam again last year after the FBI's surprise search of late mafia associate James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke's home in Queens turned up human remains in the backyard. (Via ABC)

Aside from Asaro, the FBI also arrested Thomas "Tommy D" DiFiore, whom the agency believes to be the highest-ranking Bonanno family member currently living outside of prison.‚Äč (Via WCBS)

Asaro, DiFiore, and the other three men arrested are expected to be arraigned Thursday in a Brooklyn area court.