Dillinger robbery 80 years later


MASON CITY, Iowa –  Today marks 80 years since one of the most memorable bank robberies in the Midwest.

Back in 1934, a group including notorious bank robber, John Dillinger broke into the First National Bank of Mason City and escaped with approximately $52,000.

A camera captured video just hours after the robbery that historians say helps us to relive what happened that March day.

Something movies and pictures can only hope to capture.

“We all have a different perspective and so if you can get that perspective of all those different people where they were and what they were doing at the moment it happened you can kind of start pulling together a picture of the whole event and that’s what we’ve tried to do here,” said Terry Harrison, Archivist with the Mason City Public Library.

The $52,000 they stole would amount to nearly one million dollars today.

At the time, it was the largest bank robbery in the state.

“Margaret Johnson said later the next day you could hear a pin drop in the bank it was so quiet because everybody was so stressed and tense from the whole affair. That’s another thing you find out the bank didn’t close,” said Harrison.

Through research combined with contemporary accounts, the other participants in the robbery were John “Red” Hamilton (leader), Baby Face Nelson, Eugene “Eddie” Green, Tommy Carroll, Homer Van Meter and either Joseph Burns or Red Forsythe.

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