Filed Under Crime

Danny Greene Bombs Coventry?

Late on the evening of Halloween 1971, as the children of Cleveland Heights slept with bellies full of candy, a blast shook the Coventry neighborhood. Police raced to Swan's Auto Service at the southwest corner of Mayfield and Coventry Roads (now the site of the Coventry Food Mart) to find 31 year-old Arthur Sneperger dead under a pile of debris. Michael Frato, owner of both Swan's and a garbage collection business, was the clear target; his Cadillac had been parked at Swan's, and a garbage truck in the backyard of his Cleveland Heights home was destroyed by an arsonist the very same evening. But the bomb went off too early, and Sneperger became the victim. Attention focused immediately on "The Irishman," Danny Greene.

Younger Clevelanders may be familiar with Danny Greene only after seeing the 2011 biopic "Kill the Irishman." But those who lived in the city during the 1970s surely remember him well. A mob war involving the Irish-American Greene and competing factions of the Italian Mafia led to more than 30 bombings in the city, most involving car bombs. The violence became so endemic that a local newspaper referred to Cleveland as "Bomb City, USA."

Frato and Greene had once been friends, but tension between the two rose after Frato pulled his garbage collection firm out of the profitable trash hauler's union that Greene ran. Frato started his own trade group, the Cuyahoga County Refuse Haulers Association, whose offices were located near Swan's Auto Service on Coventry Road. Frato was playing cards in these offices on the night that Sneperger was killed.

Arthur Sneperger had a history with both Greene and Frato. Sneperger and Frato grew up together in Cleveland near the intersection of Woodland Avenue and East 25th Street. Sneperger and Greene, meanwhile, had worked together at the city's docks, and Sneperger eventually became "muscle" for Greene's gang. The month before the bombing at Swan's, Sneperger backed out of an earlier plan of Greene's to bomb Frato's car, going as far as to inform Frato of Greene's intentions. Soon after, Sneperger starting talking to a Cleveland Police officer about Greene's criminal activities. After the Halloween bombing on Coventry, police speculated that Greene had found out about Sneperger's betrayals, and that Sneperger's death had not been unintentional. Greene may have remotely detonated the bomb early on purpose, knocking off a traitor and sending a powerful message to Frato at the same time.

Less than a month after the Swan's bombing, Danny Greene shot and killed Michael Frato at White City Park Beach on Cleveland's lakefront. Frato and an associate drove up to Greene as he walked his dogs at the park. When Frato fired a gun, Greene shot back, killing Frato with a single shot to head. Greene was later acquitted of the murder after claiming he acted in self-defense.

For several years in the 1970s, the Coventry neighborhood was also home to Shondor Birns, once known as "Cleveland's Public Enemy #1." A ruthless Jewish gangster who ran Cleveland's numbers and policy rackets, Birns first hired Danny Greene in the 1960s as an enforcer. As Greene's power grew, his ties to Birns deepened, but conflict over an unpaid debt soured their relationship. On Saturday evening, March 29, 1975, Birns was killed by a car bomb as he left Christy's Lounge, a strip bar located on Detroit Avenue on Cleveland's near west side.  Greene was suspected in the murder, but never charged.

Danny Greene died in a car bombing in suburban Lyndhurst in 1977 after becoming ensnared in a fight surrounding competing claims for leadership of Cleveland's Italian mafia.


Frato Shot Dead by Greene
Frato Shot Dead by Greene The body of Michael Frato is slumped over in the passenger seat after an exchange of gunfire with Danny Greene at White City Beach, near East 140th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard in Cleveland. A bullet fired by Greene hit Frato in the head. Frato's associate, who was driving the car, abandoned it at Mount Sinai Hospital, where this photograph was taken. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1971
Arthur Sneperger
Arthur Sneperger Arthur T. Sneperger died when a bomb he was carrying exploded in the parking lot of Swan's Auto Service on the southwest corner of Coventry and Mayfield Roads. Sneperger, acting under the orders of Danny Greene, purportedly intended to place the bomb underneath the car of Michael Frato, who owned Swan's and was playing cards across the street. There is speculation that Greene intentionally detonated the bomb prematurely. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1960s
Two Views, 1974 and 2012
Two Views, 1974 and 2012 Views of the parking lot on the east side of Swan's Auto Service during the 1974 Coventry Street Fair (original photo by Joe Polevoi) and in 2012. This is where the bomb carried by Art Sneperger went off in 1971. Creator: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
Michael Frato Mug Shot
Michael Frato Mug Shot Michael Frato's police mug shot from the 1950s Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1950s
Shondor Birns
Shondor Birns An elderly Shondor Birns leaves a Cleveland courtroom. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1970s
Greene Bombs Birns?
Greene Bombs Birns? The wreckage of Shondor Birns' Lincoln Continental Mark IV outside of Christy's Lounge at 2516 Detroit Avenue in March, 1975. While no one was ever tried for the murder of Birns, it was widely believed that Danny Greene was responsible for the bombing. The two feuded over an unpaid debt to the Gambino family for which Birns held Greene responsible. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1975
Danny Greene, 1964
Danny Greene, 1964 Daniel Greene entering the United States Attorney's Office in 1964 after being indicted on multiple counts of embezzlement and falsifying documents during his time as President of the International Longshoremen's Association of Cleveland. Greene's subsequent conviction was later overturned, and he eventually pled guilty to lesser charges, receiving no jail time. In the 1970s, Greene became involved in organizing garbage haulers, which eventually led him into conflict with Cleveland Heights resident Michael Frato. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1964
Greene Killed, 1977
Greene Killed, 1977 Several previous attempts had been made on Danny Greene's life before he was killed in a bomb blast leaving his dentist's office in suburban Lyndhurst, Ohio. A number of Italian mafia members were later implicated in his death. Some of the accused agreed to become government witnesses, leading to the arrest and conviction of several key mobsters in Cleveland and New York City. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: 1977


Coventry Rd and Mayfield Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH


Michael Rotman, “Danny Greene Bombs Coventry?,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 13, 2024,