Crime Trackers

Aug 31, 2012 8:00 PM by Lupita Murillo

Cold Case: Detectives looking into mob hit from 1960

TUCSON - Cold Case detectives are looking into at case that occurred 52 years ago. It involved a man with known ties to the underworld of the Mafia. Lewis Sirota was murdered in 1960. His body was found at Sunset Boulevard and Silverbell Road on January 4.

Sirota was a Tucson businessman who was a land developer. His murder was a high profile case over half a century ago.

From what investigators were able to gather back then, the motive was revenge.

Detective Kurt Dabb said Sirota was strangled and shoved in the trunk of his own vehicle. The suspects, according to Detective Dabb, were described as, "Mafios, Mafia, the syndicate, gangsters, mobsters, or hoodlums."

Sirota had people invest in large amounts of cash toward his projects, and investigators claim some of them were never followed through. His investors even included members of the mob.

"Mr. Sirota allegedly owed a number of people large amounts of cash, and that was the way of dealing with people who didn't pay up their debts," Dabb said.

It was classified as a "gangland hit," but investigators weren't able to tie the murder to anyone.

"There is no physical evidence. The ligature that was used to strangle Mr. Sirota was never located, there was no DNA evidence, the vehicle was wiped clean, there were no fingerprints," Dabb said.
However, investigators did determine many of the "gangland-style" murders were either shootings or strangulations.

"Strangulations were more personal, there's a sense of power," Dabb said.

The autopsy report showed Lewis Sirota was drugged. The last time the case was reviewed was in 2004. The chances of solving it are low, but detectives said they will keep trying.

Sheriff Walter Burr was quoted in 1960 as saying. "We believe we know who did the job, or at least saw that it was done."

Yet no one was able to prove it. Detectives today believe that individual is probably dead. If you have information on this case please call 88-CRIME.

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