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This was a key bank robbery that gave Dillinger national attention that eventually would land him in jail. The murder of a officer during this robbery would give the justice system the motivation that would later end the criminal career of Dillinger.


In January of 1934 John Dillinger and two members of the Dillinger Gang robbed the First National Bank in East Chicago, Indiana. They managed to escape the bank with over $20,000 dollars. According to a East Chicago Tribune article Dillinger and John Hamilton entered the bank with their machine guns hidden in music cases, while the other assailant waited in the get away vehicle. As the confident criminal that Dillinger was, the article quotes him saying, "There's been an alarm and the police are outside. But don't hurry. Gat all that dough. We'll kill these coppers and get away", after a bank worker sounded the alarm alerting the local authorities. John Dillinger was speaking to his partner Hamilton when he said "don't hurry", and the two took a bank worker, Walter Spencer, hostage to help escape the police waiting outside. Dillinger used Spencer to shield them from the police and after police officer, William P. O'Malley, hesitated after seeing Spencer Dillinger fired and killed O'Malley outside the bank. The two robbers managed to make their way back to the said to be blue Plymouth that was equipped with bulletproof glass as a officer was quoted in the tribune article. The officers quoted in the article that the two must have been wearing bulletproof vest as well from the armory that was robbed just before the bank robbery. This bank robbery and murder of a police officer may have been the crime that can be blamed for the eventual murder and end of Dillinger's criminal career. 

Dillinger robs bank, kills policeman: Gang shoots its way out with $20,000 DILLINGER GANG ROBS BANK AND KILLS POLICEMAN $20,000 stolen at east chicago. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963). Jan 16 1934:1. Available from: https://proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/login?qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.proquest.com%2Fdocview%2F181450497%3Faccountid%3D11620.