Are you tired of searching for those “ancient” treasures where the clues have disappeared over time and the terrain has changed? Are you looking for something a little more recent that might be “easier” to find? Well, I may just have the thing for you if you want to look around Cook County, Illinois and you‘re not bothered by mobsters.
William Daddano, Sr., AKA “William Russo” and "Willie Potatoes” was an Enforcer, Loan Shark and thief for the “Forty-Two Gang” in Chicago. As an enforcer he was prone to torturing his victims with ice picks and blow torches, keeping them alive for hours, apparently for his own enjoyment. Before joining the Forty-Two Gang Willie Potatoes had his own career in bank robbery, auto theft and larceny so you could say he had previous experience for his new position.
During his illustrious career Willie Potatoes was arrested for several things, the most notable was in May 1966 for the heist of a truck load of silver bullion. The stolen bullion, approximately 40,000 pounds worth, was estimated to be worth about four million dollars in 1968. Willie was acquitted of the charges involving the theft of the silver but was arrested again later for conspiracy to rob a bank. That charge stuck and Mr. Potatoes was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison in 1969.
This is the good news for treasure hunters. First and foremost is that Willie Potatoes died in prison in 1975 of heart failure so you don’t have to worry about somebody with a fondness for ice picks and blow torches coming after you if you find this treasure. Secondly is that Willie took the location of the majority of the stolen silver bullion to his grave. It is thought that about 25% of the silver was sold in New York prior to Willie being sent to federal prison in 1969, the rest he buried somewhere.
Willie liked to keep several rural locations in Cook County as hiding spots for the items he “acquired” during his career. He was known to rent barns from farmers where he kept some of his trucks and stolen goods. It is also known that the remainder of the silver was supposed to be "buried", possibly in more than one spot. Personally, I think it would make sense for it to be in more than one spot. With that said, I can't vouch for the intelligence of Mr. Potatoes so anything is possible.
Now before you run out and start digging up the country side you may want to check some records at the Cook County Sheriff’s office. There is information that says the Sheriff’s department was set to make a search for this hoard of silver in 1979 but no follow up information came out, at least nothing that I found in my quick search. Did they find it and didn’t tell anybody? Unlikely, given the more current timeframe of the heist. Could the information about the search be wrong? Possibly, but maybe they were acting on information that was later proven to be false. Did Obama get his greedy little paws on it? Geez, let's hope not! This is where more research will prove to be beneficial.
And just in case, you might want to keep a look out over your shoulder if you go looking for this treasure. This is around Chicago after all and there just might be somebody else from the past that might want to lay claim to the silver and they may not want to go through the legal system to do so, if you know what I mean!