Monday, 3 March 2014

John Dillinger Escapes from Prison

3rd March 1934

This day in history...Notorious gangster, John Dillinger, escapes from prison using a wooden pistol

Image retrieved from Google. Will remove at owner's request.
The story of John Herbert Dillinger is one of guns, cars, money and gangster culture. It is the ultimate crime thriller. During the 1930s depression in America, Dillinger's name dominated the headlines as a notorious and vicious thief terrorizing the mid-west. With the aid of his gang, it is believed that he had killed 10 men, wounded 7 others,  robbed banks and police arsenals, and staged 3 jail breakskilling a sheriff during one and wounding 2 guards in another. When Dillinger was first arrested in 1925 for; assault and battery with intent to rob and conspiracy to commit a felony, he was stunned by his lengthy sentence and became a tortured, bitter man in prison. Dillinger was released on parol in 1933 and was immediately back in trouble with the law as he robbed a bank in Ohio. Dillinger was then in and out of prison due to releases and escapes through the help of his gang.

Image retrieved from Google. Will remove at owner's request.
The particular escape that occurred on this day in history is the result of Dillinger's arrest in Arizona, after previously robbing several banks and leaving a trail of murders behind him. On his arrest, the police found three Thompson submachine guns, two Winchester rifles mounted as machine guns, five bulletproof vests, and more than $25,000 in cash. Quite the collection. Dillinger was detained at the county jail in Crown Point, Indiana, to await trail for the murder of a Chicago Police officer. The prison was boasted to be 'escape proof'. As you can guess, Dillinger proved them wrong; he managed to gain control of the guards by tricking them with a wooden gun he had whittled earlier, forced them to open his cell, grabbed two machine guns, locked up the guards and fled. 

Image retrieved from Google. Will remove at owner's request.
Wooden Gun used to escape.
Dillinger's downfall followed soon after. On his escape he stole a sheriff's car and drove across state, making his case available for the FBI to grab hold of. Dillinger travelled across the United States, robbing and killing along the way. He was finally caught 22nd July 1934 when an illegal immigrant, prostitute, Ana Cumpanus, struck a deal with the FBI: she would arrange a meeting with Dillinger for the FBI to make their move, and the Feds would provide her with the bounty for the gangster and prevention of her deportation. Dillinger met with Ana at the Biograph Theatre in Chicago. After attending their show the FBI made their move. Dillinger cottoned-on to what was happening and when reaching for his pistols was shot down by three FBI agents. Dillinger died in Alexian Brothers Hospital at 10:50pm. The end of Dillinger's life also marked the beginning of the end of the gnagster era in America. 27 people were convicted for harbouring and aiding and abetting Dillinger, causing his reign of terror to truly come to an end.

Image retrieved from Google. Will remove at owner's request.

What are your thoughts on the Dillinger Story? Is there anything like this in today's affairs? 
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