How Henry Ford Helped "America's Most Wanted Man"


New transportation creates a new form of crime.

When Henry Ford promised to produce cars any regular Joe could afford, car theft sky rocketed. The mass production of vehicles and their availability in the US made them easy prey. But, this mass production not only made car theft a possibility. Once cars were in abundance - crime took another turn as cars became a means of fast escape from crime scenes. The most famous of these new fast crime criminals was none other than John Dillinger.

After a few years as a failed mechanic, Dillinger finally lost his job (like so many others in the Great Depression). So he decided to turn to a different business: the bank robbing business. During his one year of operation (1933-1934), he and his gang terrorized the entire south west: murdering ten people, robbing hundreds of thousands of dollars and peforming four daring prison escapes. In March 1934, America's "most wanted man", John Dillinger, escaped jail for the fourth and last time with a gun he carved from wood and the sheriff's new Ford V8. He was so impressed with the new model that he sent a thank-you letter to Henry Ford for producing such a reliable car to out-run the cops with.

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However, while making his escape, Dillinger made his ultimate mistake: Crossing state lines from Indiana to Illinois. He was now on the FBI radar. Using information from a woman who knew his whereabouts the FBI located "America’s most wanted man" outside a movie theater on July 22.

When the scouting agent spotted Dillinger coming out from the movie theater he lit a cigarette as a signal to the rest of his team. Dillinger quickly realized he had been spotted and reached for his gun. But before he could get to it, he was shot three times in the face and body. He died instantly.

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