From the series: Government Publications, 1861 - 1992
Possibly the most notorious of America’s Depression-era gangsters, John Dillinger led a string of violent robberies during his short yet infamous criminal career. A cunning and sophisticated bank robber, it was ultimately an auto theft that proved to be his undoing.
During a crime spree from September 1933 until January 1934, Dillinger and his fellow outlaws managed to evade law enforcement. And while Americans struggled during the height of the Great Depression, the gang stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Midwestern banks.
After a robbery of the First National Bank of East Chicago turned violent, national publicity intensified. The gang then fled to Arizona, where they were caught by local police on January 23.
Dillinger was extradited to Indiana to await trial for the murder of a police officer. But while he was sequestered in what officials called an “escape proof” jail, Dillinger deceived two guards and broke out.
Then the infamous bank robber made a crucial mistake.
Dillinger fled the jail in a stolen car and drove from Indiana to Illinois. That placed him in violation of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, which made it a Federal offense to transport a stolen motor vehicle across state lines.
The Federal charge (see the Federal warrant, issued two weeks prior to this poster) enabled the FBI to lead the nationwide manhunt. Director J. Edgar Hoover made Dillinger’s capture the FBI’s top priority.