As usual, Buck Henrichsen, one of Roger Touhy's bodyguards, was having money -troubles. A former Cook County Highway patrolman, Henrichsen was a gambler who lost often and lost big; drank too much, and was held in low regard by both Roger and Tommy Touhy.
In April of 1933, Henrichsen and his wife had come to Roger's house and asked Clara Touhy for help. They had fallen behind on all of their payments and their furniture was about to be repossessed. Clara was always more approachable about money than Roger was and after hearing the Henrichsens out, Clara told Roger to pay off their furniture bills, a total of $300, which he did.
Perhaps, thinking that he was now one of Roger's confidants, Henrichsen approached Roger and Tommy Touhy, who was still recuperating from his shooting at the hands of Fur Sammons, and said that he had heard that they were involved in some "easy money deals" (meaning the mail robberies) and he wanted to be in on it.
Roger, always careful, told Henrichsen, "If you
know where there's easy money to be made, let me know because I'd like to get in on it."
Henrichsen was insulted and later that day told George Wilke, Touhy's business manager, that there was "easy money being made by the Touhys, but we ain't never going to see none of that. We risk our lives for these people, but we don't never get near the big money."
Wilke agreed. He, Henrichsen and Jim Wagner, who was Touhy's bookkeeper, began to meet privately and talked about ways to make money with or without Roger Touhy.
It was at that point that John Factor came to their attention. Of course Factor wasn't hard to miss. He lived the good life with his stolen loot. He and his wife were seen in the smartest restaurants, chauffeured around Chicago in a silver and gold Deusenberg that cost more then most Chicagoans would earn in a lifetime. He lived in a roof-top bungalow at the Morrison Hotel where he also rented several suites as well as six additional rooms that he used as offices for $1,000 a week. He did all of this at a time when the national income was $6,500 a year and one out of every three Americans was unemployed. Jake's wife-his second-was living at another set of suites at the Hotel Pearson with their six-year-old son Alvin and as always, Jake was supporting his mother and father and relatives in Poland.
The newspaper reported that between his land deal in Florida and his stock scams in England, Jake the Barber had a net worth of at least $20,000,000 and although his actual wealth was probably a fraction of that amount, Jake never denied it.
Buck Henrichsen told the others that he had checked and as far as he could determine, Jake the Barber wasn't connected to anyone-not to the Touhys or the syndicate. In the psychology of the small time operator like Henrichsen he was fair game and so was the Factor family.
Two days before Factor was due to appear before the Supreme Court, his elder son, Jerome, was kidnapped off the streets of Chicago. A ransom note arrived asking for $50,000 and Murray Humpreys the syndicate labor plunderer and Jake the Barber's close friend was heading private negotiations with the kidnappers from a suite adjoining Factor's.
Humpreys' role in the kidnapping would have gone unnoticed but the messenger who delivered the ransom note was hauled into the police station for questioning and grilled for forty-five minutes.
When he was released, the young man was swarmed by news reporters, "I can't talk to you guys," he said, "Murray Humpreys told me to keep my mouth shut."
Chicago police, incensed at being left out of the investigation, raided a suite at the Congress Hotel, the site of what the press dubbed "the hoodlum detective agency" and arrested a virtual who's who of organized crime in 1933: Murray Humpreys, Machine Gun Jack McGurn, Sam Hunt, Tony Accardo, Frankie Rio, Phil D'Andrea, Rocco DeGrazio and a half dozen other mob bigwigs, all of whom told the police the same story; they were there because they had been brought in by Murray Humpreys to secure Jerome Factor's safe return.
The cops locked them all up on vagrancy charges, but within an hour Factor posted their bail and they were released. While the police were in the apartment, they found a ransom note from Jerome's kidnappers. When questioned, Factor claimed that he had written the note "to confuse the kidnappers. "
After eight days of being held hostage, Jerome Factor was released unharmed on a Chicago street. Many people in Chicago simply assumed that Jerome, the good son, had agreed to a kidnapping rigged by his father and Murray Humpreys, to delay the Supreme Court hearing, which it did. However, interestingly enough that same week Buck Henrichsen left Roger Touhy's operation, and he and Jim Wagner opened their own saloons. George Wilke, flush with cash, moved to Florida.
With Jerome Factor returned home safely, John Factor's obligation to appear before the United States Supreme Court was back on schedule.