, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The Helpful Mafia Neighbor Urban Legends 4289

The Helpful Mafia Neighbor Urban Legends

Also known as “A Friend of the Family,” this legend describes a couple who move to an expensive suburb and who find their home burglarized when they return from a weekend trip. When they ask their new neighbors if they had noticed any suspicious activity, the neighbors—soft-spoken and well dressed—advise them not to report the crime to the police until they “make a few phone calls and see what can be done.” Apparently the neighbors have good connections, because the next morning the burglary victims find all their possessions piled neatly on their front porch.

Although the suburban version is told in several large American cities as a recent occurrence, similar stories of stolen goods being returned after a discreet inquiry by a friend or acquaintance have circulated since the 1930s, sometimes said to have taken place in a foreign country. Older American versions imply that the helpful person had Stateside gangland connections, not necessarily Mafia-related.

Some versions of the story are told about an American academic abroad who is attending a conference or summer school in Italy or Sicily. When the visitor’s rental car is stolen, the hosts of the local event advise the visiting scholar to wait a day before reporting the theft to the police. The next morning the car is found, freshly washed, parked in front of the host institute. In variations of the story, the visitor’s stolen purse, billfold, or original copy of his or her dissertation is returned.

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