John Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He joined the United States Navy in 1923, but he hated it and deserted after a few months. He was dishonorably discharged and moved back to Indiana, where he married a woman named Beryl Hovious. Unfortunately, he found it difficult to work every day and was fired repeatedly. His private life also suffered and his wife left him.
On one night in 1924, he was drunk with a friend and they physically assaulted a local grocer, Frank Morgan. They were subsequently identified as the suspects and arrested. Being unable to afford a decent attorney, Dillinger was left at the mercy of the court and sentenced to a full ten years in prison.
Dillinger made the most of his time in prison by studying the art of bank robbery with seasoned veterans. He also met Harry Pierpont, a man who would later form a gang with Dillinger. He was released in 1933 on parole, but arrested only four months later after robbing several banks.
Shortly after, he was broken out of prison by several members of his gang. The group continued to rob more banks and hide from the police until Dillinger was recaptured at the end of 1933 in Tucson, Arizona. He was sent back to Crown Point, Indiana, where he stood trial for the murder of a police officer during a bank robbery.
He was once again sentenced to prison, this time in Crown Point, Indiana's jail. The jail was dubbed "escape-proof", but failed to live up to its reputation when Dillinger managed to escape. Once out of his cell, he ordered the guards into a closet, then escaped in a police patrol car after disabling the others parked at the jail.
Unfortunately, Dillinger then made the mistake of crossing the state line in a stolen vehicle and violated a federal law. This violation brought him under the jurisdiction of the FBI, who began a nationwide hunt for him. After he robbed several banks, he was declared "Public Enemy Number One" by the FBI and a $10,000 reward was offered for his capture.
In April of 1934, Dillinger hid out with his gang in the town of Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin. They took over a small house owned by Emil Wanatka and assured him and his family that no harm would come to them if they did not talk to the police. However, Emil's wife managed to escape from the watchful eye of Baby Face Nelson and sent a letter to the US Attorney in Chicago, who notified the FBI.
Several days later, a large group of federal agents surrounded the hideout in secrecy. When three innocent civilians left the house, the FBI accidentally gunned them down, alerting the Dillinger gang to their presence. After a short gunfight, the entire gang managed to slip out the back and get away.
The gang fled to Chicago, Illinois to hide from the FBI. On July 22, 1934, Dillinger attended a film entitled "Manhattan Melodrama" at the Biograph Theater with his girlfriend and a brothel owner named Ana Cumpanas. Cumpanas had previously worked out a deal with the FBI to set up an ambush for Dillinger and as they exited the theater, agents were waiting for them. Dillinger was shot in the back and died soon after.
Conspiracy theorists have developed a theory that Dillinger was not actually killed that night, rather it was a small time crook named Jimmy Lawrence who looked similar to Dillinger. Dillinger's father reportedly exclaimed "That's not my boy!" upon seeing his son's supposed body, fueling the speculation. In spite of that information, his sister correctly identified him based on a scar on his leg from childhood.
It is also worthy to note that his autopsy photo gave the public the idea that he had a massive penis since the sheet covering his body displayed a prominent "tent pole". However, these rumors were unfounded as it was merely caused by his hand's outstretched position from rigor mortis.