On June 22nd 1903 John Herbert Dillinger was born to John and Mollie Dillinger . His parents ran and owned a grocery store in Indianapolis, Indiana, and at the age of three his mother died . John Dillinger’s father described his son as a “restless and aggressive” child . Beginning from a young age, the dark side of Dillinger became evident, as he created and led a gang called ‘The Dirty Dozen’ . The worst criminal act the ‘Dirty Dozen’ participated in consisted of stealing coal from the nearby railroad . As Dillinger grew older, so did the intensity of his crimes. In his teenage years Dillinger stole a car to impress a girl, and when caught he fled to the navy. According to John he was “discharged” from the navy, but records say he escaped.
Dillinger committed his first major criminal act in September of 1924 with Ed Singleton. The two robbed a local grocery store assaulting the grocer in the process. The court later convicted Dillinger of assault and robbery from this robbery, giving him ten to twenty years in jail . Singleton received fourteen years in jail, though he had a criminal background and previous jail time. Dillinger believed that this unfair sentence caused his resentment leading to future robberies . In a letter to his father, Dillinger expressed that “I went in a carefree boy, [and] I came out bitter toward everything in general... if I had gotten off more leniently when I made my first mistake this would never have happened” .
As the bars of prison opened, John Dillinger took his few steps of freedom. With each step filled with resentment and anger from eight and a half years in jail, he lead his way to a future filled with crime, leading to a legacy he will leave behind for future generations . Dillinger did not exaggerate to his father when he said grew to be a hostile man, other accounts state that Dillinger came out “a bitter, [and] angry creature…” . Jail did not alter only Dillinger, but also altered other criminals who he bonded with throughout his stay. Together they started to create an escape plan. These men later mentored him in the form of robbing banks. Harry Pierpont, Eddie Green, Homer Van Meter, Charles Makley, Walter Dietrich, John Hamilton, and Russell Clark all influenced Dillinger, and after their escape from jail they joined his gang . Dillinger’s completed gang included these men and also John “Red” Hamilton, Tommy Carroll, “Baby Face” Nelson, Pat Reilly, Russell “Boobie” Clark, Ed Shouse, Harry Copeland, William Shaw, and Noble Claycomb . One of the men, Harry Pierpoint, especially became a major influence on John. The two became close throughout their stay in jail, and worked together in later crimes .
After his parole in May of 1933, Dillinger entered into a broken country and he soon capitalized on the situation by allegedly freeing his gang from jail, and soon after he robbed his first bank in Ohio stealing $10,600 . Over the course of the next four months Dillinger robbed five Ohio and Indiana...