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Public Enemy #1

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Timeline: John Dillinger 1903-1935

1903 - 1933 | 1934 - 1935


%January 1: A former U.S. Army fort on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay becomes a showcase federal prison for the country's most notorious criminals.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police joins the protest against gangster pictures, and calls on the entertainment industry to help fight the war on crime. Within months, Hollywood agrees to enforce Production Code standards, effectively ending the output of gangster films.

January 15: While robbing the First National Bank in East Chicago, Indiana, Dillinger is confronted by Officer William O'Malley, who shoots him several times. Because he is wearing a bulletproof vest, Dillinger is unharmed. In the confusion, O'Malley is shot and killed.

January 25: The Dillinger gang is arrested in Tucson, Arizona. Pierpont, Makley, and Clark are extradited to Ohio for the murder of Sheriff Sarber. Dillinger is extradited to Indiana for the murder of O'Malley.

January 30: Dillinger arrives at the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Indiana, where reporters are captivated by his charisma and sense of humor. Dillinger poses for a photo with Prosecutor Robert Estill, and places his arm on Estill's shoulder. This scandalous photo will eventually ruin Estill's career.

%March 3: Dillinger escapes from Crown Point with the help of a wooden gun he claims to have carved from a washboard -- and cash payments made by his lawyer, Louis Piquett. Herbert Youngblood, an African American prisoner, escapes with him. Dillinger drives to Chicago in Sheriff Lillian Holley's car. By driving across state lines in a stolen vehicle, Dillinger commits a federal crime, which allows the Division of Investigation to pursue him.

March 16: Herbert Youngblood is killed by police in Port Huron, Michigan.

March 24: Pierpont and Makley are sentenced to the electric chair for the murder of Sheriff Jesse Sarber. Clark is sentenced to life in prison.

April 5-8: Dillinger and Frechette visit his family in Mooresville. Division of Investigation special agents observe the family event, but fail to capture Dillinger.

April 9: Frechette is captured by special agents at a Chicago restaurant. Dillinger reluctantly decides that a rescue attempt is impossible.

April 22: The Dillinger gang escapes from a shoot-out with D.O.I. special agents in Little Bohemia, Wisconsin. Baby Face Nelson kills one special agent and wounds two other men. The special agents accidentally kill a tavern customer, and wound two others.

%May 18: President Roosevelt signs a bill giving more power to the federal government to fight crime.

May 23: Frechette is sentenced to two years in federal prison for harboring Dillinger.

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are killed in a police ambush on a country road in Louisiana.

May 27: Dillinger and Homer Van Meter (a close friend and member of the Dillinger gang) undergo plastic surgery in Chicago at the home of bar owner Jimmy Probasco. They spend the next month at his house recovering from the operations.

June 6: President Roosevelt allows the Justice Department to offer reward money for criminals.

June 18: Congress gives D.O.I. agents full arrest powers, and allows them to carry firearms without obtaining special permission.

%June 22: Dillinger is informally named America's first Public Enemy Number One in a speech given by U.S. Attorney General Homer S. Cummings. Dillinger celebrates his 31st birthday by going out with Polly Hamilton, his new girlfriend.

June 23: The U.S. Justice Department offers a $10,000 reward for the arrest of Dillinger, and a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

June 30: The Dillinger gang robs a bank in South Bend, Indiana. They take $30,000.

July 4: Dillinger moves into the apartment of Anna Sage, who owns several brothels.

%July 19: Sage, who is facing deportation back to her native Romania, meets with Melvin Purvis, head of the Chicago D.O.I. office. She promises to turn over Dillinger if she's allowed to stay in the United States. Purvis says he cannot guarantee to stop her deportation proceedings, but agrees to do all he can.

July 22: Dillinger is killed in an ambush by D.O.I. special agents while leaving the Biograph Theatre in Chicago with Sage and Hamilton.

July 25: John Herbert Dillinger is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. After a Christian ceremony, he is laid to rest in the Dillinger family plot.

%August 23: Fifty-two prisoners arrive at Alcatraz. Among them is Al Capone.

October 22: At a farm near Clarkson, Ohio, Pretty Boy Floyd is killed by D.O.I. special agents, with Melvin Purvis leading the group.

November 27: In a gun battle with special agents near Barrington, Illinois, Baby Face Nelson is severely wounded. He dies several hours later at a house in Niles Center, Illinois, now known as Skokie.


%July 1: The Division of Investigation is renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National FBI Academy is established.

In Hollywood, former gangster portrayer James Cagney switches sides and appears in the first Hollywood film to heroize the government's fight against crime, the instant classic G-Men.

1903 - 1933 | 1934 - 1935

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