John Dillinger, a famous American bank robber and Public Enemy No. 1, buried $200,000 in the Wisconsin woods three months before his death. Ken Krippene, author of Buried Treasure, heard the story from Patricia Charrington (or Cherrington), girlfriend of a member of Dillinger’s gang.
Small, pug-nosed Dillinger parked himself in the Little Bohemia roadhouse, 8 miles southeast of Mercer, for a weekend with six of his gang, including “Baby Face” Nelson and “Three-Fingered Jack” Hamilton, in late April, 1934.
On Sunday, at 7:45 p.m., FBI men in bulletproof vests surrounded the place and waited until three men came out. Unfortunately, the three were not gang members, but two CCC workers and a gas station attendant. The FBI killed one of them and wounded the other two.
In the confusion, Dillinger and his gang escaped out a back window. The FBI waited until the next morning, when they teargassed a building devoid of criminals.
Once out of the roadhouse, Dillinger ran 500 yards north into the woods, dug a hole near two pines and an oak, and buried in it a suitcase containing $200,000 in small bills obtained from the sale of $1 million in stolen securities.
Back in Chicago, Dillinger reputedly underwent plastic surgery to change his appearance so that he could escape unrecognized to South America and safely retire.
However, on July 22, 1934, he was shot and killed outside the Biograph Theater by the Feds, who had been tipped off by Dillinger’s girlfriend’s landlady, afterwards known as “the woman in red.”
Bear in mind, though, that some people do not believe Dillinger ever buried the suitcase in the woods that night, but well needed the cash to make their getaway. The legend may or may not have stemmed from the ammunition that he hid behind the lodge two days before the shootout.
Want to try and find it? Mercer, Wisconsin, is a small town on Route 51 near the Michigan border. Once there, ask how to get to the Little Bohemia roadhouse.
Happy English learning!!