was paroled from Indiana State Prison in May 1933 after serving eight years for assault and battery and attempted robbery and launched a Midwest Crime Wave
from June 1933 to June 1934.Dillinger
by his prison sentence. His accomplice "pleaded not guilty, stood trial, and was sentenced to two years." Dillinger "confessed, was convicted of assault and battery with intent to rob, and conspiracy to commit a felony, and received joint sentences of 2 to 14 years and 10 to 20 years."
June 10, 1933: Dillinger robbed his first bank, in New Carlisle, Ohio
September 22, 1933: After Dillinger robbed a bank in Bluffton, Ohio, Dayton police captured
Dillinger at a girlfriend's apartment. He was sent to the county jail in Lima, Ohio. When he was frisked police found plans for a prison break. Footage
of Dillinger yucking it up with prosecutor Robert Estill ended Estill's career.
September 26, 1933: Harry Pierpont
, Charles Makley
, and eight other inmates escaped from the Indiana State Penitentiary following Dillinger's escape plan and using guns he'd smuggled into the prison.
October 12, 1933: Pierpont, Makley, and two accomplices broke Dillinger out of the Lima, Ohio jail, killing Sheriff Jesse Sarber in front of his wife and his deputy. ("Charles Makley Was Framed!"
January 25, 1934: Dillinger and his gang were captured
in Tuscon, AZ, after a fire in their hotel
when firemen recognized them from their mugshots.
March 3, 1934: Dillinger broke out
of the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Indiana, according to legend
using a fake gun
he carved out of wood and painted with shoe polish. He stole a car during the escape and crossed state lines
, sparking an FBI manhunt led
by Melvin Purvis
April 23, 1934: FBI agents accidentally killed a local resident and two innocent Civilian Conservation Corps workers and "Baby Face" Nelson
killed Agent Carter Baum during a bungled capture attempt
at the Little Bohemia Lodge
("Dillinger only left because he had to!!!") in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin
July 22, 1934: Dillinger
in an ambush
outside the Biograph Theater
. The movie was Manhattan Melodrama
("A human document, picturing every exciting phase of life in the world's greatest metropolis!"). Newspaper illustration: "How death was dealt to death-dealing John Dillinger."
The killing made the FBI famous
and movies about G-Men
superseded the gangster movies
popular in the early 1930s.
Dillinger went to the movies with Polly Hamilton
and Anna Sage
), the "Woman in Red"
(she actually wore an orange skirt and white blouse). Sage
had set up
Dillinger in exchange for a cash reward and a promise to help prevent her deportation. She was deported anyway.
More info: Dillinger learned about robbing banks from a fellow inmate
who worked for for Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. "What I Knew About John Dillinger"
by longtime girlfriend Evelyn Frechette
. Polly Hamilton reminisces
about "Jimmy Lawrence." Vintage newsreels.
(scroll down). Another timeline. Lists
of gang members and their fates, and banks robbed by Dillinger and his associates.
Theories that the real Dillinger wasn't killed at the Biograph persist, but a 2006 documentary concluded that it was the real deal (The Straight Dope agrees). A post-mortem photograph sparked stories that Dillinger was especially well-endowed and other myths, but it's really his arm in rigor mortis.