John Dillinger is one of the most notorious gangsters from the Depression era. Noted as one of the “wildest” men you could ever meet, Dillinger led an eventful life for the 31 years he was alive.
Born in 1903 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dillinger was the youngest child of his father’s first marriage. It seemed that almost from the time he could walk he was getting himself into trouble. His mother died when he was only 4, and most of his younger years were spent living with his older sister.
Dillinger tried to live within the law, but found it impossible. He quit school at an early age and found employment as a machinist. This did not last long, and he soon found himself arrested for car theft. After his arrest he enlisted in the Navy, only to go AWOL four months later and be dishonorably discharged. Dillinger tried his hand at marriage, but was divorced within a couple of years.
By age 24 Dillinger was sentenced for 10-20 years for theft. The sentence, quite harsh for the small crime, convinced Dillinger to become the “best criminal he could become” while he was in jail. His father fought to reduce his sentence and Dillinger was released after 4 and a half years.
However it was too late for redemption. While in prison Dillinger learned all the bank robbing techniques he needed to become one of the most famous bank robbers of all times. For the next 4 years, until he was killed by the Bureau of Investigations, Dillinger robbed 8 banks and committed countless other crimes throughout the Chicago and Indianapolis area.