On July 22, 1934, famed American bank robber John Dillinger was shot and killed outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago by FBI agents. Dillinger had spent the past nine months on the run following a rash of bank robberies, prison escapes and shootouts with police which cemented his place as one of the most wanted men in America.

John Dillinger's rise to criminal fame began in 1933 following his release from prison for assault and battery with the intent to rob and conspiracy to commit a felony stemming from an armed robbery of a grocery store for $120. After his release, Dillinger entered society during the heart of the Great Depression, leaving his chances at finding honest work next to none. Dillinger robbed a bank in Bluffton, Ohio but was captured and jailed subsequently. Shortly after his capture, Dillinger was busted out of prison by three of his criminal accomplices. Dillinger and his gang immediately became the most wanted criminals in the country. (To learn more about this time in history, read What Caused The Great Depression?)

It is believed that over the coarse of a year Dillinger and his gang robbed dozens of banks, stealing approximately $300,000. To get an idea of how much that is, inflation calculations would put that $300,000 stolen in 1933-1934 equivalent to nearly $5 million today. Some of his larger heists included: Merchants National Bank in South Bend, Indiana ($29,890), Securities National Bank and Trust Co. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota ($49,500), First National Bank in Mason City, Iowa ($52,000) and the Central National Bank and Trust Co. in Greencastle, Indiana ($76,000). Many stories surround the robberies by Dillinger's gang that only built their legendary status. Among his more brash schemes included reportedly impersonating a bank alarm system salesman to gain access to bank vaults and determine banks which were relatively easy targets, and masquerading as a film director who was shooting a bank robbery scene as bank customers stood by and smiled. Over time, these sorts of stories have led John Dillinger to become a Robin Hood-esque character, holding almost urban legend status.

Dillinger's run came to an end when police and the FBI in Chicago were tipped off that Dillinger would be in a movie theater on July 22, watching a film. During the movie, federal agents surrounded the building and waited for Dillinger to come out of the theater where a brief shootout ensued. John Dillinger was shot three times and died on the scene. (For a look at criminals of a different kind, check out Tales From Wall Street's Crypt and The Ghouls And Monsters Of Wall Street.)

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    A Look at Greece’s Messy Fiscal Policy

    Investigate the muddy fiscal policy, tax problems, and inability to institute austerity that created the Greek crises in 2010 and 2015.
  2. Economics

    How Do Asset Bubbles Cause Recessions?

    Understand how asset bubbles often lead to deep, protracted recessions. Read about historical examples of recessions preceded by asset bubbles.
  3. Stock Analysis

    How Rollins Inc. Transformed from Radio to Pest Control

    Discover how Rollins, Inc. grew and expanded, making numerous acquisitions, transitioning from the radio industry to the pest control industry.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    Mark Cuban Success Story: Net Worth, Education & Top Quotes

    Learn more about America's favorite billionaire: Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of the hit show "Shark Tank."
  5. Investing News

    What Shook the U.S. Stock Market Today?

    What was looking as a decent year for US Stock market has suddenly gone off track as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 531 points in the week ending August 23, 2015.
  6. Investing News

    How 'Honesty' Could Pay off for Jessica Alba

    Is it possible that Jessica Alba is one of the savviest businesswomen on the planet?
  7. Professionals

    Why Investors Should Consider Cash Right Now

    With so many market watchers thinking that the current stock rally is getting long in the tooth, investors might considering upping their cash holdings.
  8. Stock Analysis

    How GM Keeps on Truckin'

    Following a giant bailout and a giant IPO, the new GM is carried by sales of its giant trucks. But is it profitable?
  9. Investing News

    Acquisition of Zulily Inc

    On August 17, 2015, Zulily Inc (ZU), an e-commerce company that caters mothers and children, announced that it will be strategically acquired by QVC, a part of Liberty Media Corporation (LMCA), ...
  10. Investing News

    Famous Celebrities Who Love Investing

    Celebrities have a bit of a bad reputation these days. These five celebrities, though, have used their fame and their money to invest successfully instead of spending it on looking good.
  1. Black Money

    Money earned through any illegal activity controlled by country ...
  2. The New Deal

    A series of domestic programs designed to help the United States ...
  3. Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

    An intergovernmental organization that designs and promotes policies ...
  4. Lean Enterprise

    A production and management philosophy that considers any part ...
  5. Banker Trojan

    A malicious computer program designed to gain access to confidential ...
  6. Global Recession

    An extended period of economic decline around the world. The ...
  1. What are some high-profile examples of wash trading schemes?

    In 2012, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was accused of a complex wash trading scheme to profit from a Canadian tax provision, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does the risk of investing in the industrial sector compare to the broader market?

    There is increased risk when investing in the industrial sector compared to the broader market due to high debt loads and ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How can I hedge my portfolio to protect from a decline in the retail sector?

    The retail sector provides growth investors with a great opportunity for better-than-average gains during periods of market ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the correlation between term structure of interest rates and recessions?

    There is no question that interest rates have enormous macroeconomic importance. Many economists and analysts believe the ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why should an investor in the retail sector consider the Consumer Confidence Index?

    Investors in the retail sector should consider the Consumer Confidence Index, or CCI, because it measures how consumers feel ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which type of retailers tend to perform best during weak periods in the economy?

    Retail is a broad investment sector comprising many different market segments, such as automotive, building supply, grocery ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!