Harry " Pittsburgh Phil", "Pep" Strauss
Pep was a dapper dresser who cared for his family. His suits usually ranged around $60, a large amount during the depression. He was often admired for his good looks and flashy attire. Ironically, a resentment always existed between Strauss and Reles. An event occurred during the early thirty's in a, deli. The counter person was preparing a sandwich for Reles upon request, and handed it to him. He promptly was unsatisfied with the amount of meat and threw the sandwich in his face. An argument and fight ensued between Strauss and Reles. Later that evening the deli was burned to the ground. Strauss's appearance led to an undeniable influence over women in Brownsville and afar. Love interest's even stemmed to Hollywood, as he enjoyed a brief interlude with the infamous Gene Harlow. He ultimately dated up with the Kiss of Death Girl.
On a professional level, Pittsburgh Phil was an efficient killer, which explained why he was always requested to carry out contracts. He lived in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and always led a life tangent to written law. His nickname is misleading and unaccounted for, being he never was documented to have visited Pittsburgh. Killing didn't bother him, and any occurrence that interfered with the fluidity of his profession sparked outrage. The contracted killing of Puggy Feinstein for example. It took place in a Brooklyn home, where he was to meet his demise at the hands on Phil and an ice pick. As the struggle ensued Puggy bit Strauss's finger. Irate over the turn of events, Strauss and a few of his coworkers decided to make Feinsteins demise more painful and lengthened. They did so by a process which incorporates a rope being looped around the victims head and feet. As the person struggles the rope gets tighter and they strangle themselves to death. Still aggravated over the wound on his finger Phil and his associates took the body to a vacant lot and set it on fire. "The boys then adjourned to Sheepshead Bay for a seafood dinner. Phil, however, was not happy...Phil was so upset at dinner that he failed to finish his lobster." It is said that Strauss never carried a weapon, so as to protect against police intervention or to arise any suspicion. One contract, the only one he was ever known to have failed, sent him to Florida. Phil decided he would follow his victim until the opportune moment arose. Upon entering a movie theater he planned to use the fire ax hanging from the wall to kill his target and then he would run out with the crowd. Unfortunately the target kept changing seats and Phil quit out of disgust. The "savagery" of other contracts were confirmed by the discovery and inspection of surfaced bodies. Rudnick's body was found to have in excess of 63 stab wounds, and a gaping wound leading to the bone, another victim was tied to a pinball machine. Due to gases in the intestines the body floated to the surface despite the weight and stab wounds. Later on Phil was quoted as saying "With this bum, you gotta be a doctor or he floats."
Eventually Harry Strauss's decade long career would come to an end at the hands of the district attorney Burton Turkus, and the stool pigeon Abe "Kid Twist" Reles. Phil as well as , Louis Lempke, Mendy Weiss, and Louis Capone faced trial and the death penalty. Their was no chance of beating the wrap given the overwhelming evidence. So Strauss conceited to plead insanity and played out the role with some courtroom antics. Much of his trial was spent chewing on his lawyers briefcase handle. He often spoke that he needing milk to help his ulcer. Despite these efforts he as well as the others were convicted and sentenced to die by way of electrocution. Strauss and his cohorts refused to allow "the rat" to get away scot free. Mysteriously, under heavy police protection, Abe Reles leapt from the sixth floor of the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island. It was ruled that Reles committed suicide, but the body was found 20 feet away from the building. If this theory held true, than Abe Reles must have been an unidentified athlete in the field of long jumping.