John Dillinger

John Dillinger

John Dillinger, the son of a farmer, was born in Indianapolis on 28th June, 1902. The family moved to Mooresville where he developed a reputation as a rebellious youth. He joined the United States Navy in 1923 but deserted after only a few months. He returned to Mooresville where in September 1924 he robbed a local grocer of $555. He was arrested and convicted and sent to Michigan City State Prison.

Released in May, 1933, Dillinger was released on parole and with two other ex-convicts, John Hamilton and Harry Pierpont, they began robbing banks in Indiana and Ohio. Dillinger was arrested and jailed at Lima. In October, Hamilton and Pierpont broke into the Lima Prison and freed Dillinger. This escape caused a national sensation. Dillinger's obtained more publicity when his gang broke into two Indiana police stations to obtain fresh supplies of guns and bullet-proof vests.

On 23rd October the Dillinger gang robbed the Central National Bank of $75,000. The following month the gang got $27,000 from the American Bank in Racine. In early January 1934, they robbed another bank in East Chicago, Indiana, and during a gun-fight, killed a police officer.

Dillinger and his gang were arrested in Tucson, Arizona, and imprisoned in Chicago. However, while waiting to be tried for murder at Crown Point Prison, on 3rd March, 1934, Dillinger escaped from prison. With a new gang, including Baby Face Nelson, Dillinger robbed banks in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Chicago police persuaded Anna Sage, a local prostitute, to befriend Dillinger and lead him into a trap. On 22nd July, 1934, Sage, known as the "Lady in Red", went to the Biograph Theatre. As Dillinger left the theatre, a team of police officers were waiting for him. One of them called out "John" and as he turned round the officers opened fire and Dillinger was killed in a hail of bullets.

Dillinger after the ambush on 22nd July, 1934.
Dillinger after the ambush on 22nd July, 1934.