New Jersey Man Killed at a NYC Underground Poker Club

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underground-poker-clubs.jpgLast Friday at an underground New York City poker club there was an armed robbery. It resulted in the death of a well-liked Wayne, New Jersey man when one of the robber’s guns accidentally went off. In the mean time, a vast investigation and manhunt are being conducted for the robbers and killer. No on is in custody as of right now.

Frank DeSena, who is 55, was one among roughly 90 players at the new Straddle underground club that is in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, which is only a few blocks away from the Empire State building. The club has only been open for about two weeks, which replaced a former Straddle club that was raided by police in August, when four robbers came into the building around 11:20 Friday night. They got into the building by putting a gun to a downstairs bouncer’s head to get to the seventh-floor game in the Fifth Avenue building that has a mix of business and private apartments.

When they got into the game, they began stripping the game of its cash, with the three robbers referring to each other as “One”, “Two”, and “Three” and they also watched the players so that they didn’t try anything. The fourth robber started to beat the cashier because the cashier had knowledge of where a larger sum of cash was held, while the other robbers watched the patrons or players. DeSena, who is a well-liked player often referred to as “Yankee Frank,” was shot when one of the robbers accidentally dropped a sawed-off shotgun, then when he was trying to pick up the shotgun, a handgun accidentally discharged and hit DeSena.

DeSena, who was a former employee of AT&T and as a math teacher at the Hoboken, New Jersey Stevens Institute of Technology, was hit in the torso by the bullet. He died 40 minutes later at Manhattan’s St. Vincent Hospital. He is survived by his wife, who is 52-year-old, and his daughter, who is 16-years-old.

After the robbery and shooting, the robber’s fled the scene with an as-yet-undetermined amount of cash. The early reports said that they got away with only a few thousand dollars but later on the news was reported that they could have gotten away with as much as $100,000. There was one report that another player has said that as much as $250,000 could be found at one time on the premises.

The police are continuing to interview witnesses and sort through evidence, including examining the security tapes from the night of the robbery and earlier games that were held at the club. The police believe that one or more of the robbers more than likely played at the club during the two weeks that they were open at this new location. The police also believe that inside knowledge of the game’s workings is a possibility because the gunmen reportedly fled through a seldom used back entrance after the shooting. Shootings at underground poker clubs are not uncommon only because these games are somewhat illegal.

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