Freedom may come soon for two geratric, reputed mob burglars after federal prosecutors suffered a setback this week in their efforts to keep them behind bars.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber on Wednesday refused to overturn a magistrate judge's ruling that allows Arthur "The Genius" Rachel, 71, of Chicago, and Robert "Bobby" Pullia, 69, of Plainfield, out on bond but puts them under house arrest.
The two men were charged along with Joseph "Jerry" "The Monk" Scalise, 73, of Clarendon Hills, with planning an armored car heist in west suburban LaGrange. The three also allegedly were scheming to rob the Bridgeport home of the late mob boss Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra, according to federal prosecutors.
Rachel and Pullia could be released from jail as early as late next week.
For now, prosecutors asked for the two men to continue to be held behind bars until they decide whether to appeal Leinenweber's decision to the federal appellate court.
Scalise's bond has not been set yet, although Leinenweber's decision could bode well for him.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan put off making a decsion on setting bond for Scalise, who most recently was a consultant to Michael Mann's 2009 movie, "Public Enemies," about the bank robber John Dillinger.
Nolan wanted Scalise to post more property for his bond and also appeared to want to see whether her decision to grant bond to the other two men in the case would be overturned.
Prosecutors have argued all three men are hardened criminals who likely will flee if released on bond because they would effectively face life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors have said they plan to charge all three men with racketeering.
The men's defense attorneys counter that the men would never cut their ties to the community or abandon their families. Plus, they haven't been in trouble for ages.
Scalise and Rachel made headlines when they stole the Marlborough Diamond from a London jewelry store in 1980. They were sentenced to 15 years in prison in England.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's in Chicago had no comment on the judge's ruling.