EXPIRED: 08/29/09 – Joe Corvi, 92, was 16 when his dad took him to a Philly police station and said, “Here’s my son. Keep him if you can. I can’t.” Thus began a life of crime chronicled in his 2002 book ‘Breaching the Walls’, all about his prison life.
Corvi grew up in South Philadelphia. His mother died when he was 6, and he was raised by his father. In 1933, he was 16 he was arrested for stealing and shoplifting on two separate occasions. That was the beginning of it all.
He liked the challenge of being a burglar. He never carried a gun and would never hurt anyone. He just liked getting away with it.
Too bad it didn’t always work out that way.
In 1949 he was convicted of committing a series of burglaries. Over two years, he stole $100,000 worth of goods, including mink and leopard coats, jewelry, silver, and Dresden china. In 1958 he was arrested for robbing a restaurant. He was held without bail in Moyamensing Prison and broke both legs jumping from a wall in an escape attempt.
In 2002, Corvi wrote Breaching the Walls, a book chronicling his experience as a prisoner at Eastern State from 1949 to 1957 and two stints at Graterford. Though some might never want to be in prison, Corvi took to it. In an interview he did in 2004, he admitted that he’d never wanted to leave.
Home is where the heart is, I guess.