BONUS EPISODE

The Arrest of Ralph DeMasi

In 2016, 80-year-old Ralph DeMasi was arrested for the 1991 murder of Ed Morlock Sr. DeMasi is currently being held in Worcester County Jail, awaiting trial. Courtesy of The New York Times/Andrew White.

In 2016, 80-year-old Ralph DeMasi was arrested for the 1991 murder of Ed Morlock Sr. DeMasi is currently being held in Worcester County Jail, awaiting trial. Courtesy of The New York Times/Andrew White.

80-year-old Ralph DeMasi is known throughout New England as both a prolific armored-car robber and a dedicated family man. After decades in prison, he thought he would live out his last years in freedom. Then the police made a break in a cold case, and now Ralph has a new charge on his long rap sheet: murder.

Read "The Holdup," Dan Barry's story about Ralph DeMasi in The New York Times → 

LISTEN TO THE ARREST OF RALPH DEMASI


A HUSBAND BEHIND BARS

Ralph DeMasi and Sue Vargas were married in 1969, just four months after they first met. "It was love at first sight," Sue says. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

Ralph DeMasi and Sue Vargas were married in 1969, just four months after they first met. "It was love at first sight," Sue says. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

I still stick to my word today: that nobody will ever love, or has ever loved, the way we loved.
— Sue Vargas
Sue was honest with her children about their father's criminal history. "I was deprived of a husband, and my kids were deprived of a father," she says. Courtesy of Ralph Demasi.

Sue was honest with her children about their father's criminal history. "I was deprived of a husband, and my kids were deprived of a father," she says. Courtesy of Ralph Demasi.

Ralph DeMasi struggled to remain close to his family as he cycled in and out of prison. Here, he plays with one of his children outside of the Adult Correctional Institutions. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

Ralph DeMasi struggled to remain close to his family as he cycled in and out of prison. Here, he plays with one of his children outside of the Adult Correctional Institutions. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

Ralph sent letters and audio messages from prison to his kids. This 1976 letter was addressed to his son Ralph Jr. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.


Pen Pals

Ralph DeMasi was part of Gerard Ouimette's crew, a faction of the Patriarca crime family. Courtesy of The Providence Journal.

Ralph DeMasi was part of Gerard Ouimette's crew, a faction of the Patriarca crime family. Courtesy of The Providence Journal.

Whitey’s in that category where his whole focus was: what I want, I’m going to get, and I’m going to get it the way I want to get it.
— Ralph DeMasi
Although the notorious Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger tried to have Ralph killed in the early 1970s, the two later started a prison correspondence. They sent each other letters and holiday cards, such as this one, which Whitey sent to Ralph. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

Although the notorious Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger tried to have Ralph killed in the early 1970s, the two later started a prison correspondence. They sent each other letters and holiday cards, such as this one, which Whitey sent to Ralph. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.


A TASTE FOR ARMORED TRUCKS

Ralph was a notorious armored-car robber. In 1991, he was arrested for the attempted heist of this armored truck outside a Shawmut bank in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

Ralph was a notorious armored-car robber. In 1991, he was arrested for the attempted heist of this armored truck outside a Shawmut bank in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

There was two objectives I think: to get the money, and don’t get caught getting the money.
— Ralph DeMasi
Law enforcement thwarted DeMasi and his co-conspirators before they attempted the Shawmut heist. Investigators found loaded weapons in the crew's van, including this Uzi. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

Law enforcement thwarted DeMasi and his co-conspirators before they attempted the Shawmut heist. Investigators found loaded weapons in the crew's van, including this Uzi. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.

DeMasi and four others had been under surveillance for months prior to the arrest. A local dentist, Francis Bonasia, was caught signaling a "thumbs up" to the others as they waited to rob the armored vehicle. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi/The Boston Herald.

DeMasi and four others had been under surveillance for months prior to the arrest. A local dentist, Francis Bonasia, was caught signaling a "thumbs up" to the others as they waited to rob the armored vehicle. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi/The Boston Herald.


The same year that Ralph was arrested for the Shawmut heist, Ralph's friend Tony Fiore was also arrested for another attempted armored car robbery, at the Emerald Square Mall. Tony wrote this letter to Ralph to debrief about this "fine mess we got our self in this time." Crimetown's bonus episode "Cat and Mouse II" recounts Tony's thwarted Emerald Square Mall caper. Courtesy of Ralph DeMasi.


WAITING for Justice

After a farming accident left Ed Sr. with a limp and chronic pain, he took up work as an armored truck guard. The day he was murdered on the job, he was filling in for someone else's shift. Courtesy of The New York Times.

After a farming accident left Ed Sr. with a limp and chronic pain, he took up work as an armored truck guard. The day he was murdered on the job, he was filling in for someone else's shift. Courtesy of The New York Times.

My mother wouldn’t take me in. My dad wouldn’t. I had no place to go with the kids. And who took me in? Ed did.
— Jeanette Morlock
Armored truck guard Ed Morlock Sr. was gunned down during a heist at a Shaw's supermarket in Massachusetts in 1991. The murder went unsolved for more than two decades. Courtesy of The New York Times.

Armored truck guard Ed Morlock Sr. was gunned down during a heist at a Shaw's supermarket in Massachusetts in 1991. The murder went unsolved for more than two decades. Courtesy of The New York Times.


In 2016, Ralph DeMasi was accused of killing Edward Morlock Sr. Ralph's other three alleged co-conspirators in the heist had all died since the murder. Courtesy of WCVB/YouTube.

Courtesy of The Providence Journal.

He can go to hell and burn in hell. I have no sympathy for him.
— Jeannette Morlock, on Ralph DeMasi
Jeanette Morlock, Ed's widow, is pictured here in 2017 with her son Ed Morlock Jr., who also took up work as an armored truck guard toward the end of his father's life. Courtesy of The New York Times/Andrew White.

Jeanette Morlock, Ed's widow, is pictured here in 2017 with her son Ed Morlock Jr., who also took up work as an armored truck guard toward the end of his father's life. Courtesy of The New York Times/Andrew White.


EPISODE CREDITS

Crimetown is Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier. This episode was reported in partnership with Dan Barry of The New York Times. To learn more about Ralph DeMasi and the murder of Ed Morlock, read Dan’s recent article, “The Holdup: A Mobster, a Family and the Crime That Won’t Let Them Go.” Crimetown is produced by Drew Nelles, Austin Mitchell, Kaitlin Roberts, and Mike Plunkett. The associate producer is Laura Sim. The show is edited by Alex Blumberg and Caitlin Kenney. This episode of Crimetown was mixed by Matthew Boll. Sound design by Kenny Kusiak and Martin Peralta, with additional mixing by Emma Munger. Our title track is “Run To Your Mama” by Goat. 

Original music by John Kusiak, Jon Ivans, Edwin and Bienart. Credit music this week is “Daddy’s Dream” by Mitchell Catalanatto, courtesy of Jack Fleischer. Ad music is by Matthew Boll. The show's digital editor is Rob Szypko. This season of Crimetown is dedicated to the memory of Zachary Malinowski. Thanks to The Providence Journal, The New York Times, Julia Heymans, Emily Wiedemann, Kate Wells, Lisa Newby, Mary Murphy, Meghan Louttit, Christine Kay, Andrew White, Maura Foley, Beth Flynn, and everyone who shared their stories with us. Providence is a special place, and we're honored to have told a part of its story.