- NAME: John Dillinger
- OCCUPATION: Thief, Organized Crime Boss
- BIRTH DATE: June 22, 1903
- DEATH DATE: July 22, 1934
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Indianapolis, Indiana
- PLACE OF DEATH: Chicago, Illinois
- Full Name: John Herbert Dillinger
- Nickname: "Public Enemy No. 1"
- AKA: John Dillinger
- AKA: Johnnie Dillinger
- Nickname: "Jackrabbit"
- AKA: Jimmy Lawrence
Best Known For
John Dillinger was an infamous gangster and bank robber during the Great Depression, and was know as "Jackrabbit" and "Public Enemy No. 1."
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John Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903, in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a boy, he committed petty theft. In 1924, he robbed a grocery store, and was caught and jailed. He escaped, and he and his gang headed to Chicago to put together one of the most organized and deadly bank robbing gangs in the country. The group continued on a crime spree until they were arrested. This criminal pattern continued for Dillinger until he was shot by the FBI in Chicago, Illinois, in 1934.
John Herbert Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903, in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a child, he went by "Johnnie." As an adult, he was known as "Jackrabbit" for his graceful moves and quick getaways from the police. As a legend, he was known as "Public Enemy No. 1." His exploits during the Great Depression made him a headline news celebrity, as well as one of the most feared gangsters of the 20th century.
As a boy, John Dillinger was constantly getting into trouble. He would commit small time pranks and petty theft with his neighborhood gang, called "the Dirty Dozen." Most of his neighbors would later say he was generally a cheerful, likable kid who didn't get in to any more mischief than other boys. But there were also accounts of severe juvenile delinquency and malicious behavior as a teenager. To a degree, both of these perceptions are correct and were evident in his adult life. Like any celebrity, accounts describing his early life were shadowed by his later exploits and added either positively or negatively to his reputation.
John Dillinger was the youngest of two children born to John Wilson Dillinger and Mary Ellen "Molly" Lancaster. The elder Dillinger was a somber, church-going small businessman who owned a neighborhood grocery store and some rental houses. He was simultaneously a harsh disciplinarian who would beat John for his insubordination, and then turn around and give him money for candy. Later, when John was in his teens, his father would alternate between locking him in the house all day and—typically later in the week—letting him roam the neighborhood for most of the night.
John Dillinger's mother, Molly, died of a stroke when he was only 3 years old. His sister, Audrey, who was 15 years his senior, raised him until his father remarried in 1912. Dillinger quit school at age 16, not due to any trouble, but because he was bored and wanted to make money on his own. He was said to be good employee, with a talent for working with his hands. His father, however, wasn't pleased with his career choice and tried to talk him out of it. John showed his obstinacy, refusing to go back to school.
In 1920, hoping a change of venue would provide a more wholesome influence on his son, John Dillinger Sr. sold his grocery store and property to retire to a farm in Mooresville, Indiana. Ever defiant, John Jr. kept his job at the Indianapolis machine shop and commuted the 18 miles on his motorcycle. His wild and rebellious behavior continued with nightly escapades that included drinking, fighting and visiting prostitutes.
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