Sheriff Robb: Tales of fooling the Mafia

For someone who's infiltrated the Mafia and worked side by side with drug lords and hitmen, running to be reelected Albemarle County Sheriff should be easy.

Republican incumbent Edgar "Ed" Robb's career has taken him from teacher and football coach to an FBI undercover agent who in his 20-year career notched over 200 convictions.

Posing as a South Florida bar owner, a leisure-suited Robb forged underworld alliances with unsuspecting Mafia dons during the early 1980's. Robb's FBI exploits have long been the stuff of Charlottesville intrigue. Although of Irish descent, Robb somehow convinced mobsters he was one of them.

Now a new book, Friend of the Family, by D. Lea Jacobs, tells how. Jacobs, a pseudonym of David L. Robbins, won kudos in 2000 for War of the Rats. He follows Robb through eight of the most notable moments of his career, including a foiled Mafia plan to kidnap hotel giant J. Willard Marriott.

Robb also played an influential role in the "Pizza Connection" case, which broke an international narcotics ring using pizza parlors as a front.

In 1992, Robb began a term in the Virginia State Senate until 1995 when an upstart journalist and educator named Emily Couric dethroned him in a four-way race. He was elected Albemarle Sheriff in 1999.

"I am a lawman and always will be," says Robb, who on January 13, 2003, announced plans to seek his second four-year term. A Democratic candidate has not yet been announced.


Age: 65

What brought you here? I was an FBI Special Agent assigned to the Charlottesville Resident Agency.

What's worst about living here? Too many liberals

Favorite hangout? Home and the homes of my children and grandchildren

Most overrated virtue? Patience

What would people be surprised to know about you? I am a very gentle, loving person.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My age.

What accomplishment are you proudest of? Receiving the U.S. Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award in 1988, which is like the Heisman of law enforcement.

What do people find most annoying about you? I state my opinion and am not always as diplomatic as I should be.

Whom do you admire? Peter Way, a former state delegate and friend

Favorite book? The Civil War Battle Series

What subject causes you to rant? People who break their word.

What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Opportunities to meet new challenges

What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? Too many liberals and people without convictions who are willing to lie and then deny it

What do you drive? Ford

What's in your car CD player right now? I don't have a CD player.

What's your next journey? To Richmond

What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? Making an illegal right turn

What do you regret? I can't be young again.

Favorite comfort food? Steak

What's always in your refrigerator? Cheese

Must-see TV? Fox News

Favorite cartoon? Hagar the Horrible

Describe a perfect day. 70 degrees, sunny, mild breeze, fishing on a lake with my sons and grandsons.

Walter Mitty fantasy? Skydiving.

Who'd play you in the movie? Gene Hackman

Most embarrassing moment? Being charged with making an illegal right turn in Richmond.

Best advice you ever got? Keep your mouth shut and listen; you don't get in trouble by listening.

Favorite bumper sticker? Ed Robb for Sheriff