9. John Dillinger became the first Public Enemy Number One
John Dillinger spent nine years in prison for assault and battery committed while he was robbing a grocery store, and spent his time there being tutored in the art of bank robbery. Released on parole in May, 1933, he robbed his first bank the following month, in New Carlisle, Ohio. In August he robbed another, in Bluffton, Ohio. He was arrested in Dayton, Ohio, transferred to the Allen County Jail, and escaped with the aid of gang members who dressed as Indiana policemen and killed Allen County, Sheriff Jess Sarber. Following his escape from Allen County, Dillinger participated in at least ten additional bank robberies over the course of the next year, was captured again, escaped again, and became a subject of international notoriety.
Although Al Capone had been named Public Enemy Number One by the city of Chicago in 1930, John Dillinger was the first to hold the title as bestowed nationally by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During his criminal career, which was a short and violent one, he was only accused of personally killing one individual, an East Chicago police officer, though his associates killed many more while committing robberies and eluding capture. This led Dillinger to be admired by many who considered the banks – who foreclosed on homes and farms – as the real enemy. Dillinger was killed in Chicago in 1934, and more than 15,000 people waited in line to view his body before his internment in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. Over the years souvenir hunters chipped away pieces from his headstone, leading it to be replaced several times, often coinciding with the release of yet another film about his career.