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The Hammonton hijacking is an event in the series pilot episode "Boardwalk Empire" and a pivotal happening in the first season. During the curse of the Hammonton hijacking a shipment of 500 cases of Canadian Club whiskey bought by Arnold Rothstein is intercepted near Hammonton, New Jersey as it is being transported from Atlantic City to New York on January 18 1920, resulting in four deads and one wounded. ("Boardwalk Empire", "The Ivory Tower")

Antecedents

One day after the enactment of Prohibition in the United States, a shipment of whiskey is illegally imported by fishing Captain Bill McCoy as part of an arrangement with Atlantic County Treasurer Nucky Thompson. Following a meeting brokered by Johnny Torrio (who is nevertheless forbidden to get into the illegal alcohol business by his boss, Big Jim Colosimo), Thompson then sells the liquor on to Arnold Rothstein on the condition that Rothstein's men collect and transport it.

Rothstein arranges for his sister-in-law's nephew Simon to oversee transportation of the shipment and places his enforcer Davey Murdoch in charge of protecting the load. Three other men are recruited to transfer the cases from McCoy's boats to shore and then to load them onto trucks. ("Boardwalk Empire")

Development

The hijacking was masterminded by Nucky's frustrated and ambitious driver Jimmy Darmody. Darmody recruited Al Capone as an accomplice and used Capone's connections as the driver for Chicago Outfit boss Johnny Torrio to arrange for Torrio to buy the shipment.

Darmody and Capone recruited a third man, Billy Winslow, to drive them out to Hammonton, New Jersey and provide a decoy. They overturned Winslow's car to block the road and had Winslow pretend to have been knocked out in an accident. They planned to hold Rothstein's men at gunpoint and steal their vehicles when the convoy stopped to help Winslow.

Hijacking-shooting

The hijackers turn into a firing squad.

The convoy was halted as planned by the decoy. Murdoch and his men were distracted by having to overturn the car and the hijackers managed to surprise and disarm them. The hijackers deviated from their plan when Capone was startled by a deer running through the woods. He opened fire on Rothstein's men and Darmody joined in. They killed Murdoch and two of the others while Simon and another man fled into the woods. Darmody pursued and killed the unnamed man while Capone chased Simon. Capone shot Simon in the abdomen and left him for dead. Simon was the sole survivor of the attack amongst Rothstein's men.

Capone drove the shipment to Torrio in Chicago while Winslow and Jimmy returned to Atlantic City. Jimmy delivers a cut of his earnings from the resale to Nucky although Nucky was unaware of the plan beforehand. Jimmy claims Torrio was also unaware of the plan before buying the shipment but Jimmy appears to have been paid up-front.

Hijacking-result

Jimmy, Al and Billy leave four bodies behind after the hijacking.

When the bodies of Rothstein's four dead men are found in the woods Thompson has Hans Schroeder murdered as a scapegoat. Nucky's brother Eli Thompson is the Atlantic City Sheriff and carries out the murder of Schroeder and supports the cover-up. The papers call the shooting the "Woods Massacre" and report that Schroeder is responsible. However, Prohibition Agent Nelson Van Alden sees through the story and investigates the shootings independently. Simon survives for three days and is discovered in the woods by a holidaying couple, George Baxter and Claudia. He is taken to hospital where Van Alden takes over his custody. Simon dies while being transported to New York but not before Van Alden tortures him into identifying Jimmy.

The ramifications of the hijacking are far reaching: It coincides with the murder of Chicago crime boss "Big Jim" Colosimo and heralds the beginning of Torrio's dominance in Chicago; It causes a feud between Nucky and Rothstein that lasts for almost a year; and it causes Jimmy to go into hiding in Chicago.

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