Vincent Scola, born on June 16, 1911, according to Social Security records, was the oldest son of Domenico and Maria C. Scola. However, census records and newspaper accounts suggest that he was actually a year younger. Vincent’s parents were Italian immigrants, and the Scola family moved en masse to Camden’s Eighth Ward by 1930. They became deeply involved in various aspects of the community, including politics, real estate, law, and unfortunately, their name occasionally surfaced in connection with law enforcement matters.
Mickey BlairDuring the 1920 Census, the Scola family resided at 347 Spruce Street, where Domenico worked as a construction laborer. However, by April of 1930, they had relocated to the corner of South 4th and Spruce Streets, specifically 839 South 4th Street. It was at this address that Domenico owned and operated a candy store. Vincent, the eldest of the siblings, lived there with his brothers Tony and Joseph, as well as his sisters Angeline and Edith. Interestingly, the Tenerelli family lived just two doors down at 835 South 4th Street. The Tenerelli brothers, Michael and Frank, achieved professional boxing careers under the names “Mickey Blair” and “Frankie Blair.” Notably, Mickey Blair’s life outside the ring would follow a similar pattern to Vincent Scola’s.
Vincent Scola, also known by the nicknames “Cheeno” and “China,” first came to the attention of law enforcement in 1929 when he was only 18 years old. By April 1944, he had been arrested on nine separate occasions in Camden, facing charges that included robbery, carrying concealed deadly weapons, suspicion for investigation, assault, possession of stolen goods, crap shooting, interfering with police officers, failure to carry a draft card, and possession of automobile tires, which was considered a serious offense during the World War II years. Despite these brushes with the law, he somehow managed to evade successful prosecutions in all of these cases.
Vincent Scola’s criminal activities seemed to pay off, leading him to move out of Camden and settle with his wife Dorothy at 5301 Sherwood Terrace in Pennsauken, New Jersey. He also owned and operated a restaurant located at 1114 South 4th Street in Camden. During this period, he became suspected of involvement in the lucrative racket of counterfeiting gasoline rationing stamps, which were in high demand during the war.
Sadly, Vincent Scola’s life was cut short when he was gunned down while driving his Cadillac at the intersection of 38th and Myrtle Avenue in East Camden. The assailants targeted him with a shotgun blast to the neck and head, causing his car to lose control, overturn, and burst into flames.
The murder of Vincent Scola dominated the front pages of Camden’s newspapers for two weeks, leading to various theories about the motive behind his killing. One theory suggested that his murder was a result of his attempts to assert control over gambling operations in Camden and Burlington counties. Another theory proposed that it was an act of retaliation for the murder of Philadelphia gangster John P. Brennan, who had previously made a similar power grab in Camden. Notably, another former South Camden boxer, Rocco “Roxie Allen” Auletto, served as Brennan’s bodyguard when Scola was killed.
Vincent Scola was laid to rest at New Camden Cemetery on Haddon Avenue in Camden. He was survived by his wife, Dorothy, who joined him in death in 1966, as well as his parents and siblings.
The investigation into Vincent Scola’s murder led to the questioning of several suspects. However, the cycle of gang-related violence did not end with his death, as the criminal underworld in Camden continued to be plagued by violence and criminal activities.
Throughout the 1930s until his death in November 1941, Mickey Blair often made headlines for activities beyond the boxing ring.
Vincent Scola, also known by the nicknames “Cheeno” and “China,” first came to the attention of law enforcement in 1929 when he was only 18 years old. He was later killed at 38th and Myrtle in East Camden.
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