14 Comments

  1. Paul Gaito
    5/31/2015
    Reply

    Iam the son of Joe Gaito the chicken hill banged

    • kenneth pander
      10/25/2016
      Reply

      Hello .my email is kenp5720012yahoo.com My name is Ken Pander. Back in the 80’s I was not too bright and got myself put in western pen. One day in 1982 I was in the chow hall having the noon meal and after I finished someone said that I just had lunch with the Chicken Hill Bandit. My question is was he in there then? Thanks. Ken

  2. Kimberly Shack
    5/31/2015
    Reply

    I am the daughter of one of the police officers that was present at Chicken Hill that day. While my father fared fine, his police dog did not. On this anniversary of the robbery and ensuing chase, I would like to salute Hasso von der Tahn, an extremely brave and heroic officer who lost his battle with pneumonia, brought on by inhaling tear gas during the stand off. He additionally suffered a broken leg while pursuing the criminals, and potentially prevented the possible injury and/or loss of life of who knows how many officers that day. Not only did the police force lose a valuable officer that day, but a family also lost a most beloved pet. My sister, the oldest at the time, has shared many stories with us about how Hassie, when he was off duty, was such a protective yet sweet dog with my mother and us kids. A better companion & protector was not to be found and I know that my mom & those of us kids old enough to know and love Hassie, grieved deeply upon his loss.

  3. John Sale
    6/12/2015
    Reply

    Hey Steve,
    Debbie and I went to school with Frank Gaito, a friendly kid, at Emsworth ES. Everyone said his dad was part of the Chicken Hill Gang, but I couldn’t verify that. Frank had been placed at Holy Family Institute, also in Emsworth. Those kids were placed elsewhere by high school. I hope all is well with Frank, and with your family, and of course, with Emsworth. Sale

  4. Mark Sullivan
    12/6/2015
    Reply

    My grandfather was a police officer in Pittsburgh at that time, I remember being told that because of that incident the Pittsburgh police had to change their policy on ammunition. But so many policemen had such old ammunition in there revolvers or other guns, that they were ineffective because they have gotten so old that they were not able to penetrate obstacles. Do you know of any truth to this claim?

  5. E.Toni Henderson
    7/29/2016
    Reply

    I lived in greentree, and I witnessed the retelling of the story while Hollywood filmed an episode of the lee Marvin cop show. There was a chase seen that the robbers came through greentree road dodged a barricade set up by the greentree police force. Their car drove onto the sidewalk in front of the cleaners parking lot which had a huge drop off, onto the street that bordered the cleaners and greentree road. The car got back on the road after that six foot drop and flew down to the corner of pocono and greentree rd. The crooks made a left up Pocono past our home which bordered Pocono and greentree rd. When the crooks took Pocono it was a dead end they turned around and headed back onto greentree rd to the west end and chicken hill. I remember when gaito was released twenty years later he complained about the Greentree cop that gave chase and helped to box him in it pissed him off, that cop became captain later on, he was Captain William (Bill) Thompson. I remember talking to him about around 1982. He was able to tell the story and details like it had just happened.

  6. Joseph
    9/28/2017
    Reply

    My name is Joseph gaito o I am the grandson of Joseph gaito I am just learning about all this

    • Kimberly Shack
      3/18/2019
      Reply

      I’m sure you are very curious about The Battle of Chicken Hill. Didn’t your grandfather ever mention it to you? Your grandfather was one of the bank robbers and my father was one of the many cops, along with his police dog, our beloved pet. He, the dog, died because of the actions of your grandfather and his partner. No hate, but it’s interesting how our lives, even though we don’t know each other, are so intertwined.

      • JOHN WILLIAMS
        3/19/2019
        Reply

        Kimberly,

        Was you Grandfather’s name Bill Thompson, Pittsburgh Police Dept? I remember he is one who was shot. There was also a Bill Thompson of the Green Tree Police Force who was involved, we in error confused the two.

  7. Christina
    3/1/2018
    Reply

    Just trying to find out more on Chicken Hill. My dad – Francis Lange grew up on Chicken Hill but, I was not able to track down where that was. According to this article it is somewhere behind Junius street. Is Junius street considered Chicken Hill too? My great grandfather lived on Junius.

    Thanks!

    • JOHN WILLIAMS
      3/19/2019
      Reply

      Christina,

      Chicken Hill is that large hill overseeing the West End; as you go up Green Tree Road, you would see it off to the left. Yes, Junius Stree is a part of Chicken Hill. Do you still reside in Pittsburgh? If so, take a ride up there one day. I remember a lot of names from the Hill, but don’t recall Francis Lange. All the folks up there knew each other and were friends until the day they died. I did know Lange’s from Oil City Pa, any connection?

  8. John Williams
    5/29/2018
    Reply

    I was born in Chicken Hill, raised in Green Tree. I was a Paper Boy for the Pittsburgh Press, was delivering Papers Leon Road when gun fire began. Ms. Henderson had it right, Bill Thompson of Green Tree was involved with the Road Block and was shooting at the Robbers when they broke thru. (Bill was a friend of my fathers since childhood in Banksville). A Pittsburgh Policeman was shot that day, also named Officer Thompson. Another interesting fact, not often known, is that there was a Drug Store across from where the action was taking place, Green Tree’s own, ‘Ron Paul, worked in that Drug Store, not sure at the same time, same place. Ron Paul later became a US Congressman, ran for President of the United States, his son is a Senator from Ky. (A little off the subject trivia that I though fellow Pittsburghers would enjoy).

  9. Tim
    3/18/2019
    Reply

    I am 50 years old, back in the late 80’s Paul Gaito use to tell us this story every weekend. Back then I didn’t believe him because I use to think he was telling it to get free drinks. One day Joe makes the news over a bank robbery. I was surprised that Paul was telling the truth. For many years every time I ran into Paul he would tell the story again. I herd from Paul that his mother was killed by his father but never no proof.

    My first house was on Chicken Hill in my early 20’s. Now I live in the South Hills. I told this story to my neighbor one night and he remembers some of the details but not much. He would have been a kid at this time. As I was telling my oldest daughter tonight about Chicken Hill and the story I looked it up and saw this story. Brought back a time when I was I was young and carefree. While reading the story I had to chuckle at the writing in the article. It reads like a cheap dime store novel.

  10. Robert scorzafave
    8/31/2019
    Reply

    How about more stories about the Dormont Police offers who was shot by Joe and his brother Frank.
    My father took a bullet from Frank and returned fire hitting Frank after they Broke into our house.
    Joe ran like the coward is was. He was on parole for that crime when he robbed the bank.
    Greg Scorzafave is the real hero of this story.

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