Man Robs 24 Banks and Escapes Prison Twice


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all your online accounts secure! He and his gang robbed twenty four banks and
four police stations. He escaped from jail twice. The media portrayed him as a modern day Robin
Hood, and the public was enamored with him. His name was John Herbert Dillinger, and he
was the world’s greatest bank robber, a criminal agent so nefarious that his pursuit led J.
Edgar Hoover to establish the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hello and welcome to another episode of The
Infographics Show- today we’re going to take a look at the brief life and times of the
greatest bank robber in history: John Dillinger. John Herbert Dillinger was born on June 22,
1903 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was a grocer and known to be a
strict man who did not believe in sparing the rod for fear of spoiling the child. Sadly, little is known about his mother as
she died when Dillinger was only three, and when his father re-married six years later,
Dillinger intensely disliked his stepmother- although years later in his teens he would
begin a brief affair with her. As a kid he was frequently in trouble, and
was known to be a bit of a bully. He eventually quit school and got a job in
a machine shop, not an uncommon thing for pre-depression era youth to do in the United
States. Known as a very smart young man, Dillinger
excelled at his job but his wild side inevitably got the better of him and he began to stay
out until all hours of the night. Worried that the city life was corrupting
his son, Dillinger’s father sold the family home and business and moved his family to
a rural farm. Dillinger would not take well to living in
the boonies though, and the move to the countryside did little to curb his wildness. At constant odds with his strict, disciplinarian
father, Dillinger eventually wound up stealing a car to go on a joy ride and was caught by
the police. In order to avoid legal trouble though, and
believing that a bit of military discipline would do wonders for the young Dillinger,
the police agreed to release him if he enlisted in the US military. Dillinger would go on to enlist in the US
navy, and put his engineering talents to use as a Petty officer third class Machinery Repairman
aboard the battleship USS Utah. He’d go on to be as poor a fit in the military
as he’d been at home with his father though, and after getting into trouble with his superior
officers on several occasions, he eventually jumped ship while docked at Boston and deserted
the Navy. A few months later the Navy would officially
dishonorably discharge him. Dillinger returned home to an angry father,
but reconnected with an old flame and married 16-year old Beryl Hovious in 1924. Determined to get out of their one-horse town
and live in the big city, Dillinger and Hovious left home and moved to Indianapolis. Unfortunately, Dillinger had no luck finding
any work in the city, and eventually fell in with the wrong crowd, striking up a friendship
with local pool shark, Ed Singleton. The duo decided that the square life wasn’t
for them, and if society wouldn’t let them have the good life they deserved, then they’d
just take it for themselves. The duo planned their first robbery together
and decided to return to Mooresville, Dillinger’s home town, to rob a local grocer. The two were spotted by a local minister though
who identified the men, and the duo was quickly arrested. His father took pity on the troubled young
man, and perhaps felt guilty for the way Dillinger had turned out, so he encouraged his son to
plead guilty in the hopes that such a plead would lead to leniency from the judge. Unfortunately, Dillinger’s military desertion
and previous arrest for grand theft auto had stained his reputation, and the judge charged
him with two joint sentences of two to fourteen years for intent to rob, and ten to twenty
years for conspiracy to commit a felony. Singleton on the other hand had plead guilty
and only received a sentence of two years. Embittered by the harsh sentence and resentful
of his father for encouraging him to plead guilty, Dillinger entered prison claiming
that he would “come out the meanest bastard you ever saw”. While in prison he would meet several prominent
and experienced bank robbers such as Harry “Pete” Pierpont, Charles Makley, Russell
Clark, and Homer Van Meter, who all took the young Dillinger under their wing and taught
him how to successfully plan and execute a bank robbery. The group of criminals also plotted future
crimes they would commit together once released, adding not just to Dillinger’s criminal ambitions,
but his growing knowledge too. Meanwhile Dillinger’s father campaigned for
years to have his son released, even getting a petition with one hundred and eighty eight
signatures all attesting to the sweet, misunderstood angel his son really was. A judge eventually bought the claims, and
Dillinger was released after nine and a half years. Unfortunately he came home to a country in
the grip of the Great Depression, and with no job prospects anywhere. It was only a matter of weeks before Dillinger
returned back to his life of crime, robbing a bank in Bluffton, Ohio. Sadly it seems Dillinger hadn’t learned nearly
as much as he thought he had in prison, because he was quickly arrested by the police on September,
22, 1933, just four months after leaving prison. Housed in a local county jail to await trial,
police discovered what seemed to be a prison escape plan while frisking Dillinger, though
he denied any knowledge of such a plan. Days later, eight of Dillinger’s friends escape
prison using those same plans, with the help of shotguns and rifles that had somehow been
smuggled into their cells. Not long after, four men showed up at the
jail where Dillinger was being held and claimed to be prison staff who were there to take
Dillinger to Indiana State Prison for violation of his parole. The suspicious sheriff asked to see credentials
and one of the men pulled a gun and shot him, then beat the wounded man into unconsciousness. The men freed Dillinger and locked up the
deputy and the sheriff’s wife into an adjacent cell as the sheriff bled to death on the floor
in front of them. J. Edgar Hoover’s nascent Federal Bureau of
Investigation was contacted by local police who requested help in locating these very
dangerous criminals, and while the feds began the investigation that would lead to Dillinger’s
downfall, Dillinger for his part began his legendary crime spree. First the men plundered police arsenals in
Auburn, Indiana and Peru, Indiana, stealing several machine guns, rifles, revolvers, bulletproof
vests, and ammunition. Then the men began a string of bank robberies
across the state, raking in tens of thousands of dollars. During the crime spree the Dillinger gang,
as it was now known, killed a police detective in Chicago, and a month later a police officer
during the robbery of the First National Bank of East Chicago. With a lot of local heat building up in the
area against the men, the gang decided to go south to Florida, and after a string of
local robberies there, moved far west to Tucson, Arizona, always trying to keep one step ahead
of the FBI and its agents. While in Tucson though a fire broke out on
January 23rd, 1934 at the hotel where two of the gang members were hiding under assumed
names. Firemen responding to the blaze recognized
the men from their wanted posters and contacted the police, who promptly arrested them. The duo gave up the fact that Dillinger was
also in the area, and shortly after the police ambushed and arrested Dillinger and the fourth
gang member as well. Police held Dillinger at the local county
jail in Crown Point, Indiana, with the local police chief boasting that the jail was escape
proof- although extra guards were posted just in case another breakout by associates of
Dillinger was attempted. On March 3rd, 1934 though Dillinger broke
out of the escape-proof jail with the help of a wooden gun he claimed to have whittled
inside his cell. Others would say that the gun was made from
a potato, while others yet claimed that a real gun had somehow been snuck into Dillinger’s
cell by a visitor. Whatever the truth, Dillinger was free once
more, and grabbing two machine guns he locked up the guards and fled once more. Unfortunately for Dillinger though, he stole
the sheriff’s car and drove it across the Indiana- Illinois state line, resulting in
a violation of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, which was a federal felony and
drew the full attention of the FBI. Assisting local police up to this point, the
FBI now had Dillinger fully in its sights, and the resulting chase would prove fatal
in the end for the young career criminal. Dillinger returned to Chicago and joined up
with several of his former prison mates, forming a fearsome gang that continued its pillaging
of local banks. During this time Dillinger lived with his
girlfriend, Evelyn Frechette, in a small apartment, but on March 30th, 1934, two FBI agents spoke
to the manager of the apartment building after the man had reported two suspicious tenants. The FBI surveilled the apartment and suspected
that the tenants, under the name of Mr. and Mrs. Hellman, were actually Dillinger and
his girlfriend. The next day a field agent and a police officer
knocked on the door to Dillinger’s apartment and Evelyn Frechette answered, only to quickly
slam it shut upon seeing the law enforcement officers at her doorstep. Police quickly surrounded the building, and
during the siege Dillinger’s friend, Homer Van Meter was shot and killed in a shootout
with the cops. Under the cover of machine gun fire though,
Dillinger and his girlfriend escaped through a back door, Dillinger having suffered a gunshot
wound during the escape. Dillinger and Evelyn fled to Mooresville,
Indiana, where the duo stayed with his father until his wound healed. His father, perhaps overcome with fatherly
devotion, kept the two’s location secret from law enforcement. Evelyn eventually left to go to Chicago and
visit a friend, but was immediately arrested by the FBI upon arrival. Not shedding many tears for his criminal love
bug, Dillinger, now fully healed, left home and robbed a police station in Warsaw, Indiana
of its guns and bulletproof vests. Dillinger then moved to Upper Michigan, narrow
avoiding a posse of FBI agents that had been sent to Warsaw by plane. A few days later though, the FBI task force
received a tip that men resembling Dillinger and his longtime accomplice, Baby Face Nelson,
had checked in to the summer resort of Little Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin. Under the cover of darkness, FBI agents make
their way up to the lodge and turn off their vehicle lights as they get within two miles
of the resort. The agents take off into the woods and close
the remaining distance on foot, determined to not let Dillinger out of this trap. Unfortunately as they got near, machine gunfire
rained down on the men from the roof, and the agents desperately called for backup-
but to no avail. Dillinger once more had escaped and evaded
law enforcement. Two months later though, a woman named Anna
Sage, madame of a local brothel in Gary, Indiana, contacted the FBI. She claimed that Dillinger was staying in
her brothel and offered to turn him in in exchange for a cash reward and for help in
fighting her deportation, as she was scheduled for removal to her native Romania. The FBI agreed to the cash reward and to lend
what help they could in her deportation, and for her part, Anna Sage informed the agents
of Dillinger’s exact whereabouts- even going so far as to telling them his plans for the
following Sunday night. On Sunday, July 22, FBI agents waited in ambush
as Dillinger exited a local theater. Walking with two female companions at his
side, an agent waiting in a doorway lit a cigar as a signal, and suddenly FBI men swarmed
the alley Dillinger was walking down. Realizing what was going on, Dillinger pulled
out a pistol as he tried to run away, but three bullets found their mark and Dillinger
fell to the pavement. Just twenty minutes later the infamous bank
robber would be pronounced dead. John Dillinger was famously portrayed as a
Robin Hood character by the media, and he and his gang frequently gave interviews to
local papers. While he was charged in at least one homicide,
Dillinger was adamant his entire life that he had never, and would never shoot anyone,
using his pistol for its fear value rather than its killing potential. Whatever the case, Dillinger’s life of crime
inevitably caught up with him and like so many other criminals before him, would lead
to nothing more than laying dead on the cold pavement. This is like hackers today, who rob dozens
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sure you check out our other video waiter who stole 1.4 billion dollars. Thanks for watching, see you next time!

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