The michigan city prison escape
The escape occurred on September 26, 1933. After months of robbing banks, John Dillinger had finally accumulated enough money to finance the prison break. The safe houses had been arranged and the employee of the thread company had been bribed; the guns were hidden within the barrel of thread and marked with an "x".
The weapons were received inside of the prison around September 24, 1933. Walter Dietrich was the receiving clerk for the shirt factory and had removed the three automatic pistols from the barrel of thread. Dietrich told the rest of the Gang that the weapons had arrived.
The other Gang members included Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley, Ed Shouse, John Hamilton, Russell Clark, Joseph Fox, Joseph Burns, James Clark, and Jim Jenkins. Earl Northern, Mary Kinder's brother, had also planned to join the escape, but was unable to do so because he was sick.
Harry Pierpont and Russell Clark approached the superintendent of the shirt factory, G.H. Stevens, and told him he was wanted in the basement of the shirt factory. As Stevens headed down the stairs, Pierpont and Hamilton each pulled a pistol and the other inmates grabbed him.
Meanwhile, Walter Dietrich lured Assistant Warden Albert Evans into the shirt factory basement by telling him that he had found a bottle of homemade wine, or hooch, and did not want to get in trouble for it. As he entered the basement, Evans was also taken hostage.
The prisoners and their captives casually strolled across the prison yard. Stevens and Evans led the way while the prisoners followed, their guns hidden underneath stacks of shirts from the factory. No prison guards were suspicious due to the fact that Stevens and Evans were leading the procession.
At the first of the three gates they would have to pass, Evans instructed the guard, Frank Swanson, "They have guns. Open the gate or they will kill us." Swanson opened the gate and was instructed to join the procession. The guard at the next gate, Guy Burklow, also opened his gate as instructed and joined the ever growing group of hostages. The guard at the final gate, Fred Wellnitz attempted to grab his weapon when he realized what was happening, but was beaten unconscious by the inmates. The inmates used Wellnitz's keys to open the final gate and enter the prison's Administrative Building.
In the Administrative Building the inmates rounded up eight clerks and the prison Warden. One clerk, Finley Carson, was shot during the escape.
The inmates exited the Administrative Building to the free world. It was raining hard when the inmates exited the building. At the prison entrance the inmates encountered Harrison County Sheriff Charles Neel who was at the prison delivering a prisoner. Dietrich, James Clark, Burns, and Fox forced Neel back into his car and drove off.
The other inmates ran to the Standard Oil
gas station across the street and flagged down a passing vehicle driven
by Herbert Van Valkenberg. Once stopped, the inmates ordered
Herbert, his wife, and an elderly relative from the vehicle. The
inmates piled into the car and sped away as the prison sirens began to
Michigan City, Indiana Officials take the fall for the
Indiana State Prison, Michigan City, Indiana
Officials take the fall for the prison break