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Tag: John Dillinger

Permit Approved to Exhume John Dillinger’s Body from Indianapolis Cemetery

Gangster John Dillinger, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The nephew of notorious American gangster John Dillinger has received permission to exhume the body of his uncle in an Indianapolis cemetery on New Year’s Eve.

The nephew, Michael Thompson, he has evidence that his bank robbing uncle was not shot by the FBI at a theater in Chicago in 1934 and that his body is not buried under the headstone at Crown Hill Cemetery

The family plans to conduct DNA tests of the body.

The exhumation permit was approved last week by the Indiana Department of Health, Fox-59 reports.

Cemetery officials have opposed the exhumation.

Dillinger was considered “Public Enemy No. 1” by the FBI after his gang killed at least 10 people, robbed banks and even staged three jailbreaks from 1933 to 1934.

Two months ago, the FBI disputed claims that the FBI killed another man who was not Dillinger.

“A wealth of information supports Dillinger’s demise including 3 sets of fingerprints, all positively matched,” the FBI tweeted on Aug. 1.

Relatives Claim Gangster John Dillinger Wasn’t Shot at Chicago Theater

Gangster John Dillinger, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Relatives of notorious American gangster John Dillinger believe they have evidence that their bank robbing uncle was not shot by the FBI at a theater in Chicago in 1934.

Now they want to exhume the body buried under the headstone at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis to determine whether it belongs to Dillinger. They plan to conduct DNA tests.

That plan hit a snag after Dillinger’s nephew, Mike Thompson, filed a suit to prevent the cemetery from interfering with plans to exhume the body. A court hearing is set for Oct. 1, but the state issued a permit that set a deadline for exhumation about two weeks earlier.

“Per the approved application, if the exhumation does occur, it must occur on Sept. 16,” an Indiana State Department of Health official told CNN.

Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declared Dillinger as “Public Enemy No. 1” after his gang killed at least 10 people, robbed banks and even staged three jailbreaks from 1933 to 1934.

Last month, the FBI disputed claims that the FBI killed another man who was not Dillinger.

“A wealth of information supports Dillinger’s demise including 3 sets of fingerprints, all positively matched,” the FBI tweeted.

80th Anniversary: Death of Gangster John Dillinger Helped Lead to Creation of FBI

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gangster John Dillinger was the fed’s first Public Enemy Number One.

It was June 22, 1934, and Dillinger was wanted for at least 12 bank robberies, four police department robberies and the murder of a police officer. Outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago, agents from the Department of Investigation of the Justice Department shot and killed Dillinger after he reached for a gun, Reason recounts.

The nationally publicized capture catapulted J. Edgar Hoover and his “G-Men” into heroes, prompting Congress to approve the creation of the FBI.

The Abrupt and Fearless Character of FBI Special Agent Charles Winstead

By Larry Wack
Retired FBI agent

The role of FBI special agent, Charles B. Winstead in the shooting and killing of John Dillinger is widely known today. The 1934 incident outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago catapulted Director J. Edgar Hoover and the Bureau to the front pages during the “war on crime” and brought on a continuous wave of publicity for generations to come.1 Over the decades, crime enthusiasts would label Winstead and others chosen of that era as “Hoover’s hired guns.”

Winstead’s personnel file, recently obtained from the FBI under the Freedom Of Information Act, paints a colorful portrait of a man seemingly in contradiction to the polished lawyers and accountants hired at the time by the Bureau. Some might believe he should have been born decades earlier than the 1890s, and walked the dusty streets of places like Tombstone instead of the cement sidewalks of twentieth century Los Angeles, Chicago and surrounding.

Unlike the tall, mysterious character played by actor Stephen Lang in the movie, “Public Enemies,” when Winstead entered the Bureau in 1926 he was only five feet, seven inches tall, weighing one hundred thirty pounds. When he left the Bureau in 1942, he weighed the same. In reality, there was nothing mysterious about “Charlie” Winstead.

1 For purposes here, “FBI” & “the Bureau” are synonymous. In order not to confuse readers with the name changes that occurred, we use “FBI” overall during the early years but recognize that the name did not become official until 1935.

For Winstead, the label of “hired gun” isn’t applicable if taken literally. Unlike the hiring of other legendary agents during the early 1930s, Winstead’s file reveals nothing indicating he was originally recruited in 1926 due to his abilities with a handgun. In fact, there’s no mention in his background investigation regarding his handling of weapons, one way or the other.

Education wise, he only finished the 8th grade and for a few short years, attended the Sherman, Texas School for boys and the Sherman Business School. He held no formal educational degrees of any sort unlike the many lawyers and accountants hired at the time. More importantly for the Bureau during those early days is that his background revealed his years of investigative experience with the U. S. Attorney’s Office in El Paso, Texas. With that position came his extensive knowledge of federal law, writing indictments, court procedures, and rules of evidence. Everyone interviewed for his background praised Winstead’s work ethics and his moral character. One Bureau official who knew him agreed he could pass a bar exam whenever he wanted.

Read more »

FBI’s Reaches 80-Year Anniversary of Botched Attempt to Arrest John Dillinger, His Gang in Wisconsin

John Dillinger/fbi photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was a 80-year-old lesson the FBI will never forget.

Tuesday was the 80-year anniversary of the bureau’s bungled attempt to arrest gangster John Dillinger and his gang at Little Bohemia Lodge in northern Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Agents acting on a tip tried to raid the lodge but were met with a gun battle that killed a Civilian Conservation Corps worker.

Another gangster, Baby Face Nelson, killed one agent and sounded another.

The gang escaped.

“The FBI learned a lot from its early years and during the tragic incident of Little Bohemia in northern Wisconsin,” Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Shields Jr. said Tuesday.

“The lessons we learned back then would shape how the bureau trained its agents, prepared tactically and even how we developed important partnerships with local law enforcement in the many years that followed.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

America’s Love Affair With Some Serial Bank Robbers

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

By Matt Castello
ticklethewire.com

On the ever-popular Facebook, words of support, encouragement and disbelief plaster a wall with 2,700-plus followers dedicated to the elderly, ever-elusive San Diego bank robber dubbed the “Geezer Bandit”.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of this guy,” wrote one Facebook fan. “And he just became my personal hero.”

“Financial crisis in the US,” another admirer commented. “The old guy rips off banks. I would say totally understandable.”

Similarly, more than 93,000 Facebook users have joined one of the many pages dedicated to the nefarious activities of Colton Harris-Moore, aka the “Barefoot Bandit”, who was recently apprehended in the Bahamas.

The Geezer Bandit and the Barefoot Bandit are among the latest arrivals in a decades long phenomena — America’s selective love affair with serial bank robbers — an infatuation that took hold in the 1930s with such legends as Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger. Books have been written. Movies have been made.

“Fascination and hero-worship for undeserving criminals is a pathetic piece of our popular culture,” James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern recently wrote in a blog entry on boston.com. “All sorts of offenders, no matter how despicable their crimes, have been revered by a sizable minority of Americans.”

Read more »

Retired G-Man Operates Website to Pay Tribute to FBI Agents Who Went After the 1930s Outlaws

Agent George H. Franklin at shooting range/photo from Wack's website
Agent George H. Franklin at shooting range in 1930s/ photo from Wack’s website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sure, there’s been endless stories about the many gangster of the 1930s like John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Bonnie and Clyde.

But what about the FBI agents who battled the criminals of that era, says Larry Wack, who worked as a special agent from 1968 until 2003 and who lives in New York state.

“So much has been written about the Dillingers of the era, I wanted to ensure the memories and more of the Agents who pursued these outlaws,” Wack said.

Wack has launched a website “Faded Glory: Dusty Roads of an FBI Era” to find relatives of the agents of that era to share stories and photos of their loved ones.

Read more »

75 Years Later FBI Still Trying to Debunk Myths About John Dillinger

John Dillinger/fbi photo

John Dillinger/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON –-Seventy years after FBI agents gunned down the infamous bank robber John Dillinger in Chicago, the publicity conscious agency is still working to debunk what it considers the many myths surrounding Dillinger.

The FBI press office has now posted on its website a page entitled “The Top 10 Dillinger Myths”.

Here is one.

Myth #10: Dillinger was a “Robin Hood” type criminal, a romantic outlaw.

Dillinger certainly had charm and charisma, but he was no champion of the poor or harmless thief—he was a hardened and vicious criminal. Dillinger stormed police stations in search of weapons and bulletproof vests. He robbed banks and stole cars. He shot at police officers (and may have killed one) and regularly used innocent bystanders as human shields to escape the law. Worse yet, he stood by as his ruthless gang members shot and killed people, including law enforcement officials. And what of his ill-gotten gains? They were used to line his own pockets and those of his partners in crime, not those of impoverished Americans in the midst of the Great Depression.

To Read the Rest click here.

Also Read Rex Tomb’s Column on the Movie “Public Enemies”

Dillinger's Partners in Crime: These are some of the men who worked with Dillinger at various points in his criminal career. Scroll over their pictures to learn more.