Notorious Robbers and Gangs

Episode 1

John Dillinger: Public Enemy #1

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John Dillinger: Public Enemy #1
Like most boys growing up in small towns, John was a bit mischievous in his youth, but he was also well-liked by the other boys and a good baseball player. After quitting school in 1920, John had a number of jobs and even joined the Navy, from which he quickly deserted. Soon after marrying a 16-year-old girl named Beryl Hovious, John got drunk with Ed Singleton, an older boy with a criminal record, and the two of them hit elderly grocer Frank Morgan over the head trying to rob him of his money. John's father, a deacon at the local church, told John that telling the truth is always best. Bad advice. He did--and the judge gave him an extremely harsh sentence--10 to 20 years in jail. Dillinger spent the next nine lonely years in prison, half at Indiana's Pendleton Reformatory and half at the State Prison in Michigan City--Indiana's "Big House". Here Dillinger was imprisoned with hardened and professional criminals. He became good frineds with bank robbers in particular, and they taught him everything they knew. Also during this time, his wife divorced him. The day he was finally released, the step-mother whom he had come to love died. John Dillinger was now nearly 30-years-old and embittered. Just weeks after his release from prison in May of 1933, and in the middle of the Depression, Dillinger began one of the most well-known bankrobbing sprees of all time. His well-planned getaways, ability to outrun and consistently embarrass the police and FBI, combined with his charisma and good looks made Dillinger the mythical figure he still is today. He was arrested twice and escaped prison in daring and improbable fashion--once even bluffing his way out of jail with a piece of wood carved to look like a gun. When he wasn't bluffing his way out of jail, he was shooting his way out of traps set by the cops. There were several such incidents. These escapades cemented his place in the headlines. Dillinger was great copy and sold tremendous numbers of newspapers. He became Amermoreless
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