Gangster John Dillinger
Dead at the age of 31, John Dillinger truly lived life hard and died young. Some considered J. D. to be a dangerous criminal, while others viewed him as a Robin Hood type figure. John Dillinger's exploits, along with those of other criminals of the 1930s Depression era, such as Bonnie and Clyde and Ma Barker dominated the attentions of the American media and its readers during what is sometimes referred to as the public enemy era, between 1931 and 1935, a period which led to the further development of the modern and more sophisticated FBI.
Public domain photo courtesy Wikipedia
John Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903, in Brightwood, Indiana, and grew up in a small town close to there. He joined the Navy, but soon deserted and was later dishonorably discharged. Dillinger returned to Indiana where he got married and tried to settle down. However, he had difficulty holding a job and his marriage soon fell apart. One night in 1924, a small-time criminal who was a friend of Dillinger convinced him to assist in the mugging of a Mooresville grocer named Frank Morgan. The two believed that Morgan carried a large amount of cash. They were soon captured. Dillinger's friend hired a lawyer and sentenced to just two years in jail. Dillinger, however, was unable to afford council, and was convicted and sentenced to 10-20 years in prison despite having no clean record up to that point. Dillinger served almost 9 years before being paroled.
Public domain photo courtesy Beyond Hollywood
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Dillinger Quote... (to his robbery victims)
"These few dollars you lose here today are going to buy you stories to tell your children and great-grandchildren. This could be one of the big moments in your life; don't make it your last!" - John Dillinger
Quote courtesy Mixbook
Dillinger served much of his imprisonment in solitary confinement. Ironically, Dillinger's time in jail only trained him to be a more serious criminal. When released from prison in 1933, he carried a map, supplied by inmates, of possible robbery targets.
J. D. was set free during the heart of the Great Depression, as an ex-con it is very unlikely that Dillinger could have found steady work. He quickly discovered robbing banks was a great "job" and almost instantly became a type of Robin Hood nationwide hero. The fact that innocent bystanders were killed during his robberies was generally overlooked, and the national media portrayed him up as a cunning, gusty, likable fellow, stealing from the banks which had been foreclosing on hapless debtors.
Dillinger became a big thorn in the side for the police and FBI, because he generally made them look like idiots; arguments amongst police departments made him tough to capture. When he was nabbed, he was able to escape. His most famous trick was when he broke out of heavily armed Crown Point County Jail using just with a wooden gun. Eventually, however, the members of his gang were killed or caught. Dillinger then relocated to Chicago, disguised himself, laid low, and attempted to blend into the crowded city.
Public domain photo courtesy Wikipedia
Death of Dillinger
July 22 1934, was John Dillinger's last day on Earth. Dillinger attended a gangster movie in a local theater in Lincoln Park, with two female companions. One of the women worked out a deal with the FBI, and set up Dillinger for a plea deal. When they exited the theater that night, the waiting FBI agents opened fire on Dillinger, hitting him three times, killing him. The fatal bullet entered the back of his John's neck and exited just below his right eye.
Dillinger's lifeless body was then transferred to the Cook County morgue where it was extensively photographed. For the next 24 hours, a crowd of curious individuals walked through the morgue to try to see the now dead Dillinger The chief medical examiner finally complained that this throng was interfering with his work and police deputies were on site to turn away the crowds. There were many stories of people dipping their clothing into the pools of blood that had accumulated, as Dillinger lay in the street in order to have keepsakes of the historic episode.
Dillinger is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. His gravestone is often vandalized by people removing pieces as keepsakes.
Public domain photo courtesy Celebritymorgue
- John Dillinger - Biography on Bio.
John Dillinger has gone down in history as a pseudo 'Robin Hood' character, a gangster with charm and style who was more idolised by the public than reviled ...
- John Dillinger's death - chicagotribune.com
Twenty-three people died of the heat on this date, but the death that drew the most attention was that of a 31-year-old Indiana man who, on his birthday a month earlier, had been declared Public Enemy No. 1 by the FBI .
- Notorious Hoosiers: John Dillinger | IndyStar.com
John Dillinger went from small time crook to America's Most Wanted after an ill- fated bank robbery left a police officer dead. ...
Dillinger Informational Video
Learn about John Dillinger and his gang, that hid at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin.