The Noose Tightens
By late July 1934, Dillinger was dead, shot by FBI agents outside the Biograph theater in Indiana. The FBI set its sights on the notorious criminals taking advantage of the St. Paul safe haven. Van Meter and the Barker-Karpis gang became the next targets. As the net tightened, the Barkers saw the winds of change. They left to find their fate elsewhere. But the gangsters were just a means to an end; they wanted to end corruption in the St. Paul police force. The FBI wanted to give St. Paul the actual clean bill of health the Ramsey County grand jury tried to give it on the day of Dillinger’s shootout. While the other gangsters laid exceptionally low, Van Meter lived openly in St. Paul. The underworld was growing concerned about Van Meter’s gallivanting. His handlers warned him about the FBI crackdowns, but Van Meter ignored warnings.