James “Jimmy Gap” Calandra (Born 1969) is a former associate of the Bonanno Crime Family. He would later testify against acting boss Anthony Spero. He was also a member of the notoriously violent Bath Avenue Crew, a large gang which is an enforcement arm for the Bonanno Crime Family. The Bath Avenue Crew is a vicious gang that terrorized the streets of Brooklyn in the early 1990’s. The Bath Avenue Crew was one of the Bonanno Crime Family's most brutal hit squads.
Calandra grew up in the Bensonhurst neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. During his childhood he grew up seeing wiseguys on the street, pulling up to the curbs in their big shiny Cadillacs, loafing around social clubs wearing pricey suits and sporting hundred-dollar haircuts and manicured fingernails. Mafia members interacted with Calandra and other the kids in the neighborhood. They joked around with them and showed them there were other ways to make it through life. The wiseguys also paid Calandra and other kids to do work for them such as washing their cars, watching out for police, or running numbers.
Bath Avenue Crew
Calandra and his friends decided to form their own crew and became known as the Bath Avenue Crew. The original founding members included Calandra,
Calandra , Tommy Reynolds , and Chris Paciello also robbed the Staten Island mall Chase Bank in the winter of 1992 right before Christmas . Chris Paciello sat in the car with a scanner and Walkie talkie. Calandra and Reynolds walked up to the Chase Bank window with ski masks and ax handles, as the manger was loading the weekend money from all the malls stores " deposits" Calandra smashed the window with an ax handle , and jumped through the window and over the reel and grabbed the shopping cart full of canvas bags, containing over 400.000 thousand in cash which was handed to Reynolds and wheeled it to a waiting stolen vehicle and transported. That score was never solved until after the statue of limitations was done. Calandra also had over 500,000 dollars of loan shark money on the street which he was collecting 'vig' juice' money once a week on. Calandra robbed over a dozen banks in the New York City. Calandra and Joseph Calco killed a Bonanno associate nicknamed Mikey Hamster who had killed a member of their crew and was bragging about killing him. They shot him numerous times with an uzi submachine gun as his car stopped at a stoplight on 17th Avenue and Benson. Both Calandra and Calco were not arrested for the 3 attempted murders on hamsters life. Bonanno consigliere Anthony Spero ordered Hamster's murder.
In February 1993, Calandra, Tommy Reynolds and Bonanno associate Chris Paciello were involved in the murder of a woman during a failed robbery attempt of her Staten Island home. They originally planned to rob her husband, Sami Shemtov, who owned several adult entertainment stores and kept large amounts of cash in his house. On May 10th of 1993, calandra was arrested for a bank robbery and was sentenced to 6 years in prison, he also has an aggravated assault charge run concurrently 2 years for beating a guy almost to death with an a baseball bat. Calandra was sentenced to lewisburg penitentiary in pa, once he was there he became good friends with a guy named Matty Madonna, Matty Madonna was a real deal gangster. As Jimmy was doing time his own friends killed his best friend " Paulie Gulino , at that time he knew it was time to get away from his old crew, so he ask Matty Madonna for help. He explained to Matty that when he gets home, he was gonna kill some of his old buddy's for revenge for Paulie Gulino , Matty stopped him and told him ' no when I get home in a couple months I'm gonna go talk to Spero and tell him I want you in my crew. Matty Madonna was a luchese mobster he was on the panel and he was gonna get Jimmy calandra straightened out and become a member of the Lucchese crime family. Matty went to go talk to Spero and Spero released Jimmy and told Matty " you can have him. Jimmy was on his way to becoming a star in the family " until his past came back to haunt him " and his old buddy's started rolling on him. In October 1999, Calandra, Reynolds, Bonanno consigliere Anthony Spero, and several other members and associates on several charges of arson, bombing, murder, aggravated assault, bribery, kidnapping, armed robberies, weapons trafficking, prostitution, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, racketeering, stock fraud, and drug trafficking. Calandra, Reynolds, and Paciello were charged in the Federal indictment with the 1993 shooting of Mrs. Shemtov in the unsuccessful robbery attempt.
Becoming a turncoat
In 2001, Calandra sided with the Feds and testified against Spero. He turned informant for several reasons, first his friend and crew leader Paul Gulino was killed on Spero’s orders and many of his friends were starting to rat on him.
He also testified about the slaying of Vincent Bickelman, a small-time thief who made the mistake of burglarizing Spero's daughter's house. According to Calandra, Bonanno soldier Joe Benanti told him, "Anthony Spero wanted him dead to make an example out of him." Calandra said his friend Paul Gulino, the leader of the crew, eagerly accepted the assignment because he saw it as a way to "get straightened out," or become a made member of the Bonanno family.
People Calandra killed:
- National Geographic Documentary: Inside the American Mob. Episode 6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q1bYrHvryE