this day in crime history: april 13, 1934


On this day in 1934, outlaws John Dillinger and Homer Van Meter went shopping for guns in Warsaw, Indiana. Their shopping expedition began in the early morning hours of April 13th, when they assaulted Warsaw Police Officer Judd Pittenger while he walked his nightly beat. The two outlaws forced Pittenger to accompany them to the police station, where they stole two pistols and some bullet-proof vests. No background check was performed when the two bank robbers acquired their guns. This was due to the fact that in 1934, there was no law requiring criminals to pass a background check before stealing guns. To this day, no such law exists.

Further reading:

FBI – John Dillinger

Dillinger – Robbed Warsaw Police Station

7 thoughts on “this day in crime history: april 13, 1934

  1. He seems to have gone out of his way to thumb his nose at the police. I wonder if he felt this was partly payback for the arrest of his girlfriend four days earlier.


    • That could be part of his motivation. I think Dillinger also took great joy in being seen by the public as outsmarting the police, the sly fox running circles around the dopey hounds,


  2. John D.:
    Amazing that NOBODY has decided to CHANGE that law…
    And, I suppose the P.D. station in Warsaw seemed a lot easier than stopping by a local hardware store OR a REAL gun shop.
    Maybe we should be glad that places like Gander Mountain or Dunham’s weren’t around back then.

    Good story.

    Roll safe out there.


    • The police station was the most likely place they could find bullet proof vests. Dillinger and his crew liked wearing vests while they worked. Wearing a vest probably saved Dillinger’s life when he was shot while robbing an East Chicago, IN bank the previous January.


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