Wednesday, October 3, 2012


10/3/1933 - Flexing the robbery muscles that sent them to jail years before, the recent Michigan City escapees (out and on the loose for only eight days) hit the First National Bank of St Mary's, Ohio.  Seeking a kitty from which they can begin their crime spree through the Midwest, outlaw Charles Makley suggests the new gang hit the bank of his former hometown, St. Mary's, unaware that the establishment is suppose to be closed for a mandatory bank holiday called by FDR to try and stabilize the economy.

For the job, the gang takes two cars, one, John Dillinger's fast black Terraplane 8, and the other, a new Oldsmobile purchased by bandit Harry Copeland who begs out of the raid due to an illness, in his place, Harry Pierpont's new girlfriend, Mary Kinder, agrees to drive the backup Olds for a cut of the take (while the robbery is in progress she will wait with the vehicle in a cornfield just outside of town).


Arriving at the bank just before its 3:00 in the afternoon usual closing time, the gang finds the business open for courtesy traffic and goes on the attack.  Assignments agreed to before arrival, Makley, Pierpont, and Russell Clark enter the bank, John Hamilton controls the entrance, and former race car driver Eddie Shouse remains behind the wheel of the Terraplane.

                                                Dillinger, Pierpont, Makley, Clark

The robbery begins when a teller waits on the next customer, and when that customer lowers the road map he has been looking at, discovers a grinning Pierpont brandishing a .45 automatic.  "Just stand still!"  Customers and employees brought under control by the threat of being shot, the bandits discover they have timed their endeavor perfectly, for only seconds after entering the bank, the time lock on the safe clicks off, and with a pistol poking in his side, bank conservator W. O. Smith is convinced to open the heavy steel box ... while additionally, police officers (including the town's Chief of Police, Gilbert Gerstner) and citizens that might have disrupted the operation, stand across the street outside a poolroom, listening on the radio to a World Series game pitting the Washington Senators against the New York Giants (the crowd is so absorbed in the pitching performance of Giants Hall-of-Famer Carl Hubbell that even after an alarm is finally tripped in the bank, no one hears it from just across the street). 

Finishing up, the men herd nine hostages into the vault and partially close its door, then exit the bank with two bulging sacks containing over $15,000 in currency.  In and out in minutes, the next day the local newspaper, the St. Mary's Evening Leader, will say of the crime, "Officials believe the bandits were all professional.  They worked quickly and with a nonchalance which amazed their victims."  Back in their hideout in Hamilton, Ohio, the gang finds the only small burr in the day's events ... the money stolen will draw attention because it is brand new, so for the next two days, Mary Kinder, crumbles, bakes, sprinkles with water, and irons over and over the bills until the money looks used and worn.  A good beginning, the gang's next mission will be to free their friend, John Dillinger, from his Allen County, Ohio jail cell.

                                                       john dillinger

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