The Barker-Karpis gang comes to St. Paul
An infamous gang came to St Paul in the early 1930s; Barker-Karpis gang. Alvin Karpis met Fred Barker in 1931 as inmates at Kansas State Penitentiary. After being released in 1931, Karpis met up with Fred Barker, his brother Arthur “Doc” Barker, and their mother Kate (known as ‘Ma’), forming the core of the Barker-Karpis gang. Karpis insisted that despite her reputation, Ma Barker knew about but wasn’t involved in any of the gang’s criminal activities. After a Missouri crime spree, fixer Harry Sawyer helped the Barker-Karpis gang (and their Ma) find a home in St. Paul. They lived in the relative safety of the O’Connor system while committing crimes across Minnesota and the Midwest. But it wouldn’t take long for someone to recognize the gang; after all, a popular magazine featured them in a true crime profile.