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Ex-mobster reflects on growing up in Detroit’s Mafia family

A former Detroit crime family associate is taking the internet by storm! Fresh out of prison, Alan Gunner Lindbloom (photo above) has set his sights on turning his life around and becoming a successful author. His first novel, titled To Be A King, is set for release on April 15, and Lindbloom is now sharing his experiences online at various popular mob websites.

Alan Gunner Lindbloom was part of Detroit's notorious Tocco crime family (his mother was Grace Carmella Tocco). Six months ago, he was released from prison after serving 13 years for extortion, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and several other crimes. Today, he is retired from ALL family business and is embarking on a full-time writing career, having written 8 novels during his 13-year incarceration. He currently lives in rural northern Michigan, five hours north of his hometown of Detroit.

By Alan Gunner Lindbloom - This piece was originally published on National Crime Syndicate and republished here at Gangsters Inc. with Lindbloom’s approval. Photo courtesy of Gangster Report.

Before I begin, I first must preface this by stating for the record that I am no longer the person I once was. I have no involvement in any criminal activities. Nor do I associate with anyone who is involved in criminal activity. Today I’m a humble Christian who lives a simple life with my wife, far out in the country, five hours north of Detroit.

For obvious reasons, I will be changing names to protect identities.

As a young child, I have several distinct memories of things that were… well, not normal. For example, I remember my uncles talking with my grandfather about how the FBI were outside surveillancing my grandparents’ home, the home I grew up in. But at the time I had no idea why the FBI would be watching my grandparents’ home. I was just too young to understand.

My first real memory of illicit activity was when I was around 14. My uncle Pete, who was only 12 years my senior and would later be more like an older brother than my uncle, arranged a “sinecure job” for me at a local restaurant.  For those who don’t know what a sinecure job is, it’s a “no-show” job where you are employed on paper but don’t actually do any work.

Apparently, the guy who managed the place, a fat old gambling degenerate named Harry, was deep into my uncle’s loan-sharking books, to the tune of $20k, which was a lot of money back in 1987. So the guy came up with an idea—skim from the restaurant he worked at as a way to payoff my uncle.

The place was a real high-end, with a 4-star menu. Best prime rib in town. I’d later learn that the guy only got a job working there because he was friends with its owner, a bigtime coke dealer who brought huge shipments of coke up from Miami (this is late 1980s, mind you) to Detroit for other members of the Family. But that’s a story for another day. I’d later become well acquainted with him and his partner.

So my title at the restaurant was “baker,” which was funny since I was only 14 and didn’t know a damn thing about cooking, let alone baking. I never did an ounce of work there. Nothing. All I did was walk in once a week and collect my paycheck, which was usually around $500. I’d then bring it to my uncle, who would give me a $50 and send me on my way.

This arrangement went on for about a year, and from what I gathered from my uncle the guy was only getting deeper and deeper into my uncle’s pocket with his gambling and borrowing. I thought the guy was a real moron. I mean, I was only 15 and could walk in there like I owned the place. Free food and drinks for me and my boys. We’d rack up huge tabs and just walk out without paying.

The place had these cakes. They were the best freakin’ cakes you’d ever tasted! Just amazing. I remember just walking in the back cooler and taking like five of them, walking straight out the back door. Of course nobody said anything. They knew who I was. Or rather, who my uncle was.

But here is where the story gets pretty funny. I went in to collect my check one day and saw Harry had just received a huge shipment of frozen perch fillets. The place was famous for its perch. I remember looking at the boxes of fillet, thinking: “Those look like silver bass fillets.”

Silver bass are a sort of trash fish that are super abundant in Lake Saint Clair where I grew up fishing. We could sometimes catch hundreds of them in a single day. No joke, we almost sank a boat with them once. Must have had a 1,000 or more of them in my cousin Johnny’s little 14” aluminum boat.

Anyway, I came up with an idea—my first real hustle. I caught some silver bass and brought the fillets to “my boss” Harry. I told him I thought he could sell them as perch fillets and nobody would ever know the difference. To test this theory, he fried some up and sent them out to customers. Like I figured, nobody knew the difference.

Since he was paying $2.00 a pound for perch, I told him I’d sell him my silver bass fillets for only $1 a pound. He could skim the other $1. He loved the idea. Next thing I know, me and my boys are going out fishing everyday, making about a $100 each off of having fun catching silver bass. It was a great little racket for a 15-year-old kid. My uncle didn’t even ask for a cut. He thought it was funny.

The guy ended up getting busted about a year later. And for all things, buying walleye fillets from an unlicensed commercial seller. Basically, he took our little arrangement and expanded on it so he could skim even more from the restaurant. But he stood his ground in court and never brought us up.

My uncle actually sent me to the guy’s court hearing, just so he would see me there watching, and so we could confirm that he made no mention of us and our little arrangement. Ahhh, the life. It started off so simple and “innocent.” At the time, there was no way of knowing it would eventually land me in prison for 13 years.

My mother, Grace Tocco, was 100% Sicilian and the oldest of 5 siblings. Her parents, Old World Sicilians, expected her to grow up and marry a nice Italian man, preferably one from the “Family.” But it didn’t work out that way. My mother was a smart woman, a school teacher, and she’d seen how the men involved in the “Family business” often ended up in prison or… worse. So instead, she married my father, a lab technician that she met at a local skating rink. My family didn’t like him from the beginning. My uncles Salvetore and Pete especially didn’t like him. My father actually got drunk at my parents’ wedding, and my uncles had to be restrained to keep from beating his ass.

My father ended being physically and verbally abusive to my mother, but my mother hid this from the Family because she knew what would happen. My uncles would go to pay him a visit. I actually just spoke to my father a few days ago, and he admitted that he was lucky my mother never told the Family how he treated her, because he may have “disappeared.” My father was exactly like Connie Corleone’s husband, Carlo Rizzi, in The Godfather.

Because my mother defected from the Family and married someone from outside the Borgata, she ended up being ostracized by much of the Family. So when her marriage took a turn for the worse and my parents divorced, she was pretty much left to fend for herself. My mother ended up getting us a crappy little shack of a house in Detroit, only a few miles from my grandparents’ home in beautiful Grosse Pointe, one of the most affluent suburbs in Michigan. Moral of the story: We were broke and poor as dirt, while most of the Family was living high off the hog just a few miles away. Naturally, I began hustling to help out.

Around age 15 I began smoking pot. I had a little plug with my paisan Jimmy’s cousin. When my mother got sick and ended up in a mental hospital, we didn’t even tell my Family. My sister, who was 17, and I did our best to live on our own at our crappy little house. But when our electric got shut off and our food ran out, I knew I had to do something. So I asked my weed dealer to front me a little weed. He hooked me up with a quarter pound, which I sold in one day and made about $500. I used most of the money to keep the electricity on and buy some groceries.

From that day on, I hustled hard, selling bags of pot to all the crack dealers in the ghettos near my house. My cousin Johnny and I would deliver bags on our mopeds, which could be dangerous as hell in some of those ghettos. But my cousin Johnny was one crazy SOB, who always carried a big .44 revolver he “borrowed” from his dad.

The blacks in the neighborhood called him “John Wayne,” because he’d carry that big hand-cannon right out in the open like he was a cowboy. He made everyone nervous as hell with the thing, including me. Later on in life, he’d end up serving a couple of life sentences in prison for multiple homicides.

Within a month of diving into the pot-selling racket, I had our house looking ghetto fabulous. New dishwasher. New washer and dryer. I bought my sister a new wardrobe. Fridge packed top-to-bottom with food. I purchased all new black velour furniture, black-and-brass lamps and end-tables. I wanted it to look like Scarface’s house. Yeah, I know, funny.

Now here is where it starts to get interesting. I still went to my grandparents’ house every Sunday for dinner. And one Sunday after dinner, my Uncle Pete, who I mentioned before would later become my boss and more like a brother than uncle, asked me to have a word with him in the basement. Right away I knew something was wrong. I could see it in his eyes. He was a big, tough, intimidating guy who had already kicked my ass on several occasions for smarting off to him. In the basement, when we were all alone, he turned to me and grinned.

“What’s this?” he said, holding out his hand.

In his hand was a bag of weed. My bag of weed. I’d left it in the pocket of my leather bomber jacket but forgotten to zip up the pocket before hanging it on the back of a chair in the kitchen.

“Uh, it’s a bag of weed,” I replied dumbly, not knowing what else to say.

I figured my ass was cooked, that he was about to give me a few smacks and then go tell my grandpa, who had always been more like my father than grandfather. But instead he pulled some weed out of the bag and sniffed it.

“This is bullshit pot,” he said, examining it with a trained eye.

“I got some better stuff in the garage. Think you can move some for me?”

For a moment I just stood there, shell-shocked, not sure if he was being serious or just messing with me. But then he beckoned me to follow him outside to the garage, where hidden in a bunch of old banana boxes were 10 pounds of premium pot, which he claimed was grown by associates in Florida. It was by far the most pot I’d ever seen! I mean, I was only 15.

From that day on, I began working with my Uncle Pete. Just selling pot in the beginning, but later on I’d work with him on many other “endeavors.” By the time I turned 16 a few months later, I had a new car, a Ninja motorcycle, a new wardrobe, and more gold jewelry than I could wear. Life was good and about to get even better. At around age 16 I started lifting weights and found that there was a huge market for steroids. And of course my uncle had a plug for that too. But I’ll save that story for next time.

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