The Mafia have gone woke, top organised crime bosses fear.
Veteran crooks believe millennial mobsters have gone “soft” and prefer sending texts to pistol-whipping.
The new breed of baddies are using social media and are obsessed with their phones rather than face-to-face threats seen in TV shows like The Sopranos.
In court documents about a recent extortion plot in New York, one gangster sent a union official a message saying: “Hey, this is the 2nd text, there isn’t going to be a 3rd.”
And an ex-member of the feared Colombo crime family moaned: “Everything is on the phones with them.”
It has sparked fears among older bosses about handing down their firm to the younger generation and having to get personally involved in operations.
Former FBI agent Richard Frankel said text messages would be “frowned upon” by older mobsters.
The issue emerged after the arrest last month of Andrew “Mush” Russo, 87, the Colombo family boss, along with some of its leaders.
They were held over an alleged 20-year plot to seize control of a New York City construction union and its employee health insurance scheme.
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Prosecutors compared it to shakedowns like those in films like Goodfellas.
One was secretly recorded by the FBI saying about a potential victim: “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids.”
Experts said their role in the alleged plot showed a lack of confidence in lower-ranking members.
According to court records Mr Russo was clandestinely taped by the FBI saying of his leadership role: “I can’t walk away. I can’t rest.”
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He denied charges including racketeering while lying in a hospital bed.
Professor James Jacobs said there was a lack of tough youngsters coming up through the ranks.
The professor from New York University School of Law wrote in a 2019 research paper: “The world in which the [crime families] became powerful is largely gone.
“Fifty years ago most big US cities had well-recognised working class Italian neighbourhoods.
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“They hired teenage boys, some of them Italian immigrants, for odd jobs and recruited the most promising into their operations.
“These neighbourhoods have dramatically shrunken as Italian-Americans have steadily assimilated into mainstream society, thereby radically diminishing the pool of tough teenagers with Cosa Nostra [Sicilian Mafia] potential.”
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