by Steven R. Maher
Nicholas D. Braniff of Webster Massachusetts had a dog named Rowdy. One night in February 1938 Rowdy began living up to his name, barking loudly, furiously and incessantly. It was the beginning of an incredible chain of events that would destroy the political career of Massachusetts Governor Charles F. Hurley, lead to the impeachment of Governors’ Councilor Daniel H. Coakley, and spark an internecine Mafia gang war.
Braniff was convinced that Rowdy’s nonstop barking was being provoked by burglars inside the next door United Optical plant, which manufactured gold eyeglass frames, and where $8,000 in gold was stored. Braniff summoned patrolman Armand Tourangeau, and headquarters was contacted for reinforcements.