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Dillinger bank robbery re-enactments held Saturday

MASON CITY – The Great River City Festival continued Saturday, with three re-enactments of the John Dillinger gang robbery of the First National Bank.

Even with the chill in the air, dedicated Dillinger fans came out to experience the infamous, 1934 bank robbery in Mason City, Iowa.

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In the past, the re-enactment was done by a group a paid actors, that went around putting on their show. This year, the Downtown Association’s Marty Walsh said, “It’s about half and half. Half the people are from Mason City. If anyone wants to participate, they can come to the Downtown Association Office and sign up.” Marty was also telling the story of John Dillinger, giving out some facts of what happened on that day in 1934.

On March 13, 1934, a well-armed gang, including John Dillinger, robbed the First National Bank in Mason City, Iowa. Witnesses agreed that the robbers had a dark blue Buick Sedan and that there were seven of them. The gang escaped with approximately fifty-two thousand dollars, leaving their get-away car four miles south of Mason City, where it was said, they had two other cars waiting.

Witness identifications and gangster confessions later determined that the other participants were John “Red” Hamilton, Baby Face Nelson, Eugene “Eddie” Green, Tommy Carroll, Homer Van Meter and either Joseph Burns or Red Forsythe. The seventh identification caused a problem because in one account, as reported by the Des Moines Tribune on March 14, 1934, there were six men and one woman.


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