Conspiracy theorists watch out: Body of world-famous bank robber John Dillinger to be exhumed

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The remains of the infamous 1930s bank robber John Dillinger are due to be exhumed and reburied in September, 85 years after he was shot dead by the FBI. Conspiracy theories persist that he was not actually buried in his grave.

The Indiana State Department of Health approved a permit July 3 at the request of Dillinger’s nephew Michael C. Thompson. No reason was given for the request, though it may be connected to an upcoming documentary on the infamous fugitive for the History Channel. 

Dillinger’s remains are expected to be exhumed and reinterred at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis on September 16. The gangster is seen by many as a hero of the Great Depression for robbing from banks that were screwing the people. “He was also known by some people to be very polite even while he was stealing. It’s an odd combination,” Susan Sutton, a historian with the Indiana Historical Society, explained. 

Dillinger’s father had his son’s casket reburied under a protective layer of concrete and scrap iron, which was then covered by an additional four reinforced-concrete slabs. There are countless conspiracy theories that the infamous robber was not actually buried in the marked grave, with one theory suggesting Dillinger’s family tricked the FBI into shooting the wrong man.

The notorious robber was the leader of the so-called ‘Dillinger Gang’ or ‘The Terror Gang’, which was accused of robbing 24 banks and four police stations in a string of robberies in the mid 1930s during the height of the Great Depression. He famously escaped from jail twice and evaded police in four states for almost a year before he was shot and killed by federal agents. During his time on the run, he underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance and allegedly used acid to remove his fingerprints. 

Dillinger’s gang is believed to have killed 10 people, according to the then-newly minted FBI, and Dillinger was charged with the murder of a police officer with whom he had a shootout but was not convicted. Despite his notoriety, it was Dillinger’s only homicide charge throughout his prolific criminal career.

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