Captain Jim Kolian ran a gang of nine ghetto kids on Chicago’s west side. But the Captain wasn’t a kid; he was twenty-one and worked the kids for his amusement and profit. Some boys said he stood over them with a whip, threatening them if they didn’t do as he commanded. One time, he handed one of the boys a gun and told him to stand guard. “Shoot anyone who tries to interfere” was the order.
|Ike Khan and Sollie Cohen (Chicago Tribune. November 15, 1901.)|
The only thing in the way of growing his operation was Policeman Francesca S. Capparelli, the truant officer. Capparelli kept rounding up Captain Jim’s kids and taking them back to school.
Things came to a head in November 1901 when the Captain decided Capparelli had to go.
“Jim told me to go to Rothschild’s store and take Ike Kahn,” said Sollie Cohen. “He told us to steal a revolver. When we got to the store, we couldn’t take anything because the man was watching us. He put us on the elevator and sent us downstairs, and said if he saw us in there again, he would have us locked up.