Parnell "Stacks" Edwards was a petty thief and supporter of the Black Panther movement. He was one of the men involved in the massive Lufthansa Heist of 1978.
Involvment with crime
Stacks Edwards was born in the Bronx and while growing up wanted to start a career as a musician. He played both jazz and rock and often performed on the streets. However, his poor environment made him to search other ways for income. During the 1960's he became involved in credit card fraud and teamed up with Mafia associate
Jimmy Burke during the late 1960's. In following of his musical ambitions he was also invited to perform during the weekends at Roberts Lounge, a club owned by Burke. During that time he started to support the Black Panther movement which
fought for the rights and nationalism of African-Americans. This could have caused some frictions between him and his Irish/Italian associates because
the Black Panther party despised white-collared men and women.
The Lufthansa Heist
In 1978 Jimmy Burke and others planned a big heist on JFK airport. Also Stacks Edwards was asked to be part of it and was appointed as the getaway driver. On December 11 the heist took place and would become known to the general public as the Lufthansa Heist. It proved to be a great success and about $6 million in cash was stolen from the airport. However, after a heist of that scale the police and FBI were at their highest alert. Therefore it was necessary they covered their tracks. Edwards task was to dispose the van used for the getaway, but he failed doing his job. Edwards was an addicted heroin user and instead of getting rid of the vehicle he went to his girlfriend and held a private party filled with drugs. The van in the meanwhile stood outside and was even double parked. It didn't take long for the police to notice the van and link it to the Lufthansa heist.
Burke and his associates knew that Edwards would easily break during an interrogation and therefore descided he had to go. Only 6 days after the heist he was murdered by Tommy DeSimone and Angelo Sepe. Both men who would also be murdered in the aftermath of the heist.
(Source: "Wiseguy" by Nicholas Pileggi, "The Mafia Made Easy" by
Peter J. Devico, forums.adobe.com