Notorious Robbers and Gangs

Episode 3

Ma Barker: Crime Family Values

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Ma Barker: Crime Family Values
The legend of Kate "Ma" Barker began not with her birth - but her death. It's a story of a plump, matronly woman, thought to be the leader of one of the most notorious gangs of the 1930s - the Barker-Karpis gang. J. Edgar Hoover called Ma Barker "one of the most vicious, dangerous and resourceful criminal brains" of his era. The FBI chief claimed that Ma was instrumental in teaching her four sons a life of crime: from stealing - to kidnapping - to murder. Though her boys went on to be violent criminals, making the FBI's most wanted list - there was never any evidence that Ma committed any crimes herself, or planned the crimes that her sons went to prison for. Many historians believe it was Hoover who launched the legend of Ma Barker, after, they say, the elderly woman was mistakenly killed by FBI agents in a bloody gun battle.moreless
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