Born in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City to Italian immigrants, Capone was a Five Points Gang member who became a bouncer in organised crime premises such as brothels. In his early twenties, he moved to Chicago becoming bodyguard and trusted factotum for Johnny Torrio, head of a criminal syndicate illegally supplying alcohol, and politically protected through the Unione Siciliane. A conflict with the West Side gang was instrumental in Capone's rise and fall, Torrio had been precipitated into retirement after West Side gunmen almost killed him, thereby bringing about Capone's succession. He expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means, but his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city's police, meant Capone seemed safe from law enforcement. Apparently revelling in the attention, such as the cheers when he appeared at ball games, Capone made donations to various charities and was viewed by many to be a "modern-day Robin Hood".
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