Here’s The Truth About John Dillinger

Here’s The Truth About John Dillinger


When the infamous bank robber and outlaw John
Dillinger was buried in an Indiana cemetery, his relatives put him under 3 feet of concrete
and scrap metal. Now, the History Channel is planning to dig
up his body and see what they find. Here’s the true story of John Dillinger. John Dillinger was born in 1903, and his mother
passed away from a stroke when he was just 4 years old. According to History, his dad was an inconsistent
disciplinarian who would beat him up and lock him in the house, but then allow him to roam
around the neighborhood at night. Dillinger became the leader of a street gang
called “The Dirty Dozen,” which mostly just ran around the neighborhood pranking people
and stealing things. There were also reports of teenaged antics
that included “malicious behavior.” “Schoolboy mischief. All in the past.” By age 16, Dillinger had dropped out of school. In 1923, he joined the Navy, and was assigned
to the USS Utah as a Fireman 3rd Class. According to the website Medic in the Green
Time, his job was shoveling coal into the ship’s burners. Dillinger figured he really shouldn’t have
to do it. So not long after signing up, he went absent
without leave. When he came back, they threw him in the brig
and gave him only bread and water for 10 days. Dillinger left again. His superiors waited two weeks for him to
come back, then listed him as a deserter. He was finally given a “undesirable discharge”
in 1925 while he was serving time at the Indiana State Reformatory. Dillinger met Beryl Ethel Hovious in the spring
of 1924. They got married, and he made a go of life
without crime. It didn’t work out great. Dillinger and his bride had no income, so
the couple moved into the house on Dillinger’s father’s farm. Just a few weeks after the wedding, he got
caught stealing chickens, and his dad had to pull strings to keep him out of jail. The incident put further strain on an already
tough father-son relationship, so the couple ended up moving in with Beryl’s parents. Finally, Dillinger got a job in an upholstery
shop and joined a baseball team, which seemed like a positive step forward. But that’s how he met his first real partner
in crime, Edgar Singleton. He’d soon be in the Indiana State Reformatory. Beryl visited him there for a few years, and
Dillinger sent her frequent letters of love and devotion, but she eventually got restless
and by 1929, they divorced. Dillinger would later say she had broken his
heart. The crime that got John Dillinger a 10- to
20-year prison sentence in the Indiana State Reformatory was not a bank robbery or a shooting. No, it was a foiled stick-up. And it was Edgar Singleton, the guy he met
while playing on the baseball team, who talked him into committing the crime. It’s reported that the duo planned to rob
an elderly grocer at gunpoint. Dillinger would confront the old man while
Singleton waited in an alley with a getaway car. But things didn’t go the way they were supposed
to. The grocer fought back, the gun went off,
and Dillinger fled. When Dillinger arrived in the alley, there
was no sign of Singleton or the getaway car. Dillinger and Singleton were both caught by
the police, but Singleton had a lawyer and Dillinger did not. Dillinger’s father also got some terrible
legal advice from the local prosecutor, who promised the courts would be lenient if his
son would just plead guilty. Dillinger took the prosecutor’s advice and
the courts still gave him 10 to 20 years. Meanwhile, Singleton only served two years
of his four-year sentence. Dillinger wasn’t exactly a model prisoner,
but he was popular with his fellow inmates. He worked in the prison shirt factory as a
seamster and was so good at it that he used to fill his own quota and then fill some of
the other seamsters’ quotas, too. According to History, he also tried to break
out a few times. By the time Beryl divorced him, Dillinger
was already a deeply bitter man. During his time at Indiana State Reformatory,
he made friends with fellow convicts who taught him the art of bank robbery and got his feet
planted firmly on the road to never being able to do anything else with his life. Dillinger’s sentence was shorter than his
new friends’ sentences, so he was tasked with carrying out a series of fundraising robberies
that would give them the money they needed to bribe their guards and facilitate their
escape. “What is it exactly you do for a living?” “I’m John Dillinger. I rob banks.” Their lucky break came when Dillinger was
granted early parole so he could visit his gravely ill stepmother. She passed away before he could return home, but
that wasn’t really the point. Dillinger was only ever charged with slaying
one person: 43-year-old patrolman William Patrick O’Malley. O’Malley was one of the officers who responded
to a robbery at the First National Bank of East Chicago on January 15, 1934. He arrived just as Dillinger and his gang
were fleeing the scene. The two men exchanged gunfire, but Dillinger
was wearing a bullet-resistant vest so he escaped unharmed. O’Malley wasn’t so lucky. O’Malley’s descendants say his body had 18
bullet holes in it. It was the first Dillinger Gang slaying of
a law enforcement officer and the only one ever attributed to Dillinger himself. Dillinger was eventually extradited to Indiana
to face charges. He escaped, though, and spent most of the
rest of his life on the run, so he was never actually convicted of the crime. John Dillinger was a bad guy. There’s really not much doubt about that. Yet for some reason, the public loved him
and sometimes even seemed to think of him as a Robin Hood sort of figure, even though
there’s not really any evidence that he was ever especially generous to the poor. “Now put it away. I’m not here for your money. I’m here for the bank’s money.” To understand the public fascination with
Dillinger, you really only have to look at the times in which he lived. After Patrick O’Malley, the FBI
named Dillinger “Public Enemy Number One.” That title put him in the spotlight, which
he shared with the many tangible misfortunes of the Great Depression. People everywhere were suffering, and a lot
of them blamed the banks for their troubles. So Dillinger wasn’t just a criminal, he was
a guy who was fighting back against the institutions that had robbed the common people. It didn’t hurt that he was also a very charismatic
guy. Every encounter with the police seemed to
come with a great one-liner that would further endear him to the media and the people. When police shackled him to his seat on an
airplane, he reportedly said, “Guys, I don’t jump from these things.” Dillinger’s most famous jailbreak was his
last one. According to the New York Daily News, in the
late winter of 1934, Dillinger was transported from Arizona to the so-called “escape proof”
Lake County Jail in Indiana, which sounds a bit like the “unsinkable” Titanic. Dillinger didn’t seem especially intimidated
by Lake County’s reputation, famously declaring, quote, “a jail is like a nut with a worm in
it.” On March 3rd, 1934, he really did escape,
and he did it with a fake gun. He carved the fake gun himself, possibly from
the leg of something like a washboard, and then he blackened it, possibly with shoe polish,
and waved it around intimidatingly until the guards let him out. Then he waved it around some more until every
employee was locked away in a closet or cell. Finally, he stole some real guns and a car
and forced a garage employee to drive him away. That fake gun is now so iconic that there
are at least three versions of it, and no one’s quite sure which one is genuine. Dillinger’s break from the Lake County Jail
turned out to be his fatal mistake, and it wasn’t because he used a fake gun or stole
machine guns or kidnapped a garage employee. It was because he stole a sheriff’s car and
used it to cross from Indiana to Illinois. That was a violation of the National Motor
Vehicle Theft Act and a federal offense, which meant the FBI, then called the Bureau of Investigation,
was now involved in the effort to bring him to justice. John Dillinger was kind of like the bureau’s
big break. Before his infamous crime spree, it was suffering
from a credibility problem. They were expected to work with local police,
which was as embarrassing as it was inefficient. When Dillinger rose to infamy, Director J.
Edgar Hoover was trying to reform the bureau, and one of his strategies was assigning “special
agents” to high-profile cases like Dillinger’s. In many ways, Hoover used Dillinger’s infamy
to elevate the bureau into the FBI, which became its name in 1935, we know today. Crime historian Paul Maccabee told South Dakota
Public Broadcasting: “[When] the FBI transformed John Dillinger
into “Public Enemy #1″ […] what does that turn J. Edgar into? It turns him into Public Friend #1.” John Dillinger loved the spotlight, but unfortunately
for him, being a celebrity outlaw was not a good way of evading the police. According to Crime Museum, Dillinger’s face
became so well known that he had a hard time laying low. In Mercer, Wisconsin, Dillinger holed up at
the Little Bohemia Lodge with some of his criminal cohorts, but other residents of the
inn recognized him and called the police. He barely escaped, and concluded that he would
need to change his appearance. Dillinger dyed his hair and grew a mustache,
but that wasn’t enough, so he enlisted the help of “underworld plastic surgeons” to have
his entire face changed. He also burned off his fingerprints with acid. Still, unless he was planning to never rob
a bank again, or to never get captured again, or to always wear a mask while committing
crime, it seems like the plastic surgery was also a temporary solution. But we’ll never know, because Dillinger was
finally foiled not long after getting the procedures done. Dillinger must have been feeling pretty good
about his new face and his supposed anonymity, because on the night of July 22nd, 1934, he
decided to go to a movie at Chicago’s Biograph Theater with friends Polly Hamilton and Anna
Sage. Sage, as it turned out, was not his friend. She had just tipped off the FBI about his
whereabouts. According to the FBI, Sage was a brothel madam
who was about to be deported for being in the country illegally. She agreed to provide information about Dillinger
in exchange for a stop to the deportation proceedings. She told agents when and where they could
find the infamous outlaw, and when the film ended, the FBI was waiting outside. Dillinger quickly recognized the sting operation
and fled into an alley, where he was shot by agents. The bullet that got him entered the back
of his neck and severed his spinal cord before entering his brain. And so ended John Dillinger’s celebrity crime
spree. His total takings: About $500,000, which was
roughly a quarter of what the FBI spent on its effort to bring him to justice. Dillinger’s body was put on public display
at the Cook County morgue, and thousands of people came to see it. A Wild West show even offered Dillinger’s
father $5,000 for his son’s body. So really, the decision to bury the body under
3 feet of concrete was a practical one. Dillinger’s family had no reason to think
that the public’s appetite for morbid spectacle would go away once he was in the ground. As the years passed, Dillinger’s living relatives
seemingly stopped caring so much about the peaceful slumber of his mortal remains. In July 2019 a group of descendants applied
for a permit to exhume his body. “They want the body buried here since 1934
exhumed so that modern-day DNA tests can compare the old bones with DNA from current relatives.” His niece and nephew wrote in separate affidavits: “I have been presented with evidence that
demonstrates that the individual [in the grave] may not in fact have been my uncle, John H.
Dillinger.” It’s not the first time the theory has been
raised. In 1965, the Indianapolis News received a
letter from a man claiming to be John Dillinger. Of course there’s also the part where the
family may or may not be profiting off the History Channel documentary that will show
the entire morbid affair to a prime-time television audience. Did Dillinger really pass in that alley? We’ll know the answer in September, if the
exhumation goes forward as planned. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about historical
figures are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
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32 comments

  1. The FBI agent who got John Dillinger–Melvin Purvis, Jr.–was from my home town, Timmonsville, South Carolina. Purvis's parents are buried in Byrd Cemetery in Timmonsville.

  2. I bet that they go through his pockets hoping to find a few bucks to aid their funding.

    Glorified graverobbing. Karma took its time on this one.

  3. If the History Channel is doing a show on him then I must assume Dillinger didn’t exist. History Channel is all lies

  4. I went to high school with his relative who shares his last name. Didn't ask questions tho and no info was offered

  5. Yea considering the history channels content as of late, it sounds like a b.s. cash grab and a ratings boost. The next special we'll find out he was a part time merman known as "John Gillenger" only to his inner circle.

  6. I'm a ww2 buff and used to always watch the channel but now I just can't. It's just like TLC(The Learning Channel) airing mind numbing trash like Honey Boo Boo

  7. Remember when Geraldo filmed the opening of capones safe and it was chock full of so much… Nothing. I never really comment on videos but I'm finding myself making multible comments I guess because I can't believe the absolute ridiculousness. I'll probably watch it😞

  8. No one wants to look, let alone acknowledge Pulver and his stock. All is well as long as kids today STILL believe we (The US) Won Ww1-2 and Vietnam. Har har har

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