During the Great Depression, the “Division of Investigation” or what we know now to be the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was just starting out. A man named J. Edgar Hoover led the FBI during this time period. He directed the FBI for an astonishing 48 years! Under his command, the Bureau brought many criminals to justice. His “right hand man,” Melvin Purvis, was the mastermind behind many of these justices. Hoover left Purvis in charge of the Bureau’s office in Chicago. This meant that he was in charge of bringing some of the most dangerous gangsters and criminals of this era to justice- including a man by the name of John Dillinger. By doing this, Purvis became a very famous man. Soon, Hoover became quite jealous of Purvis’ newly found fame, this led to tension between the two men. In all, the Federal Bureau of Investigation defended the law, J. Edgar Hoover shunned Melvin Purvis, and the American people idolized John Dillinger.
Soon, John Dillinger rose to be one of the most notorious criminals of this time period. Dillinger began committing crimes at a very young age, but his claim to fame did not begin until he created the plan that helped eight inmates escape from Lima County Jail. Less than an month later, three of these convicts, disguised as prison officials from Indiana State Prison, returned to supposedly retrieve Dillinger for parole violation. When the sheriff of Lima County Jail asked to see their credentials, one of the men pulled out a gun, shot the sheriff, and beat him into unconsciousness. Then, the men stole the keys to the prison cells, and freed Dillinger. After the incident, Lima County police requested the FBI’s assistance in bringing the fugitives to justice.
While on the run, Dillinger robbed several banks, and killed many innocent people. The robbery of the First National Bank of East Chicago transformed into one of the most famous heists ever committed by Dillinger. After that robbery, Dillinger and his gang moved to Florida, and eventually, Tuscon, Arizona. While in Arizona, a fire erupted at the hotel that two of Dillinger’s gang members had been staying in. One of the firefighters on the scene recognized the men, and had local police arrest them- along with Dillinger and one other man. The police confiscated three machine guns, five bulletproof vests, and $25,000 in cash- part of which is believed to be from the East Chicago bank robbery.
Local police detained Dillinger in an “escape proof” prison by the name of Crown Point Jail. However, on March 3, 1934, Dillinger forced guards to open his cell by threatening them with a wooden gun he whittled while incarcerated. Before fleeing, Dillinger stole two submachine guns, and locked the guards in his former cell. After exiting the prison, Dillinger stole a police car, and drove across a state line into Illinois. By doing this, he violated the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, which the government created to “Prevent the introduction or reintroduction of stolen...