South Bend theater damaged in 1934 Dillinger shootout sold

Friday, January 20, 2012
John Dillinger

SOUTH BEND (AP) -- A downtown South Bend theater that bears bullet holes from a shootout that followed John Dillinger's last bank robbery in 1934 has been sold.

Banko Capital, an investment and management company, recently completed the purchase of the State Theatre. Purchase price was not disclosed.

The company plans to rehabilitate the building and reopen it to the public. Banko Capital officials said the company still must determine the best use for the building.

The State Theatre opened in 1921 as the Blackstone Vaudeville House.

In Dillinger's last known robbery, his gang made off with $29,890 from Merchants National Bank of South Bend on June 30, 1934. The shootout that followed damaged the theater building.

Less than a month later, on July 22, 1934, Dillinger was famously gunned down by FBI agents in an alley adjacent to The Biograph Theater in Chicago.

The Hoosier bank robber's largest heist was orchestrated in Greencastle when he robbed the former Central National Bank on Oct. 23, 1933.

Dillinger and his gang reportedly made off with nearly $75,000 in cash and negotiable bonds from Central Bank on the southwest corner of the courthouse square.

Accompanying the 31-year-old Dillinger that day in Greencastle were gang members Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley and Harry Copeland (although eye witnesses identified Michigan City prison escapee Joseph Burns as the fourth man instead of Copeland).

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  • Johnny D has history misunderstood thee? Were you in such a rush when you robbed Central National Bank in good old Greencastle that you missed your chance to take a stick of Juicy Fruit from the "chewing gum lady"? Do you remember that after your getaway you were taken by a Parke county bootlegger to hide out at Fallen Rock which was west of Keytsville? Old times there are not forgotten.

    -- Posted by don'tletmebemisunderstood on Fri, Jan 20, 2012, at 6:29 PM
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