OZONE PARK — The FBI has unearthed what they believe are human remains at the Queens home of storied New York mobster James "Jimmy The Gent" Burke, whose criminal career inspired Robert De Niro's character in "Goodfellas," sources told DNAinfo New York.
News of the investigation was first reported by DNAinfo New York.
FBI Evidence Collection specialists and agents from the Organized Crime Division began digging up the crime boss' backyard early Monday morning. Sources told DNAinfo New York the team was searching for the body of a long-missing thug, whom a cooperating witness indicated might have been buried there.
The remains were uncovered on 81-48 102 Rd. in South Ozone Park on Wednesday, sources said. FBI agents at the house said they hoped to finish up work there Wednesday night.
"My dad grew up here — he knew all about the mob stuff that happened," said neighbor Meheraz, 26, who asked DNAinfo New York to withhold her last name. "[My dad] saw Gotti and Jimmy — they would set off fireworks and have barbecues."
Burke died in 1996 while serving a prison term for the torture-slaying of a Brooklyn associate and his involvement in a Boston College gambling scandal that netted the mob millions. His widow remained in their 102 Road home after his death, and the house still belongs to one of his daughters, records show.
Next-door neighbors told DNAinfo New York an elderly couple lives in the house with their daughter.
Though Burke's legend looms large in the city's mob history, sources said the current search isn't related to the 1978 Lufthansa Heist made famous in "Goodfellas" or the trail of bodies that followed that crime.
"I think it's cool that they’re finding a body after three decades," neighbor Meheraz said. "My dad is shocked — he wants to watch 'Goodfellas' again."