- Sep 7, 2006
December 27, 2002
BY MICHAEL PUENTE AND LUCIO GUERRERO
A Tommy gun stolen by John Dillinger after a brazen 1934 jail escape in Indiana could soon be molten steel.
Newly elected Lake County, Ind., Sheriff Roy Dominguez--no fan of Dillinger because he killed a cop--is thinking about throwing the infamous Colt Thompson submachine gun into a furnace at one of the county's steel mills. History experts say the gun could be worth $1 million.
"I see no sense in glorifying him or that gun...[the Tommy gun] was used in the commission of a felony," Dominguez said. "I would consider melting it down or find another way to properly dispose of it.
"By giving it notoriety continues the glorification of John Dillinger, which I think is wrong," said Dominguez, who takes office next Wednesday.
Dillinger made off with two Tommy guns after he broke out of Lake County Jail on March 3, 1934. One of them belonged to Lake County; the other was on loan from neighboring Porter County.
The guns were thought to be lost until a gun-tracking expert found both of them in FBI storage in Washington, D.C. Porter County got its gun back last year and Lake County a few months later.
Lake County's gun hasn't been on display much; it was only last month that outgoing Lake County Sheriff John Buncich publicly displayed it for the first time.
Tony Stewart, an expert on early American crimes and author of Dillinger, The Hidden Truth , points to the historical significance of the Indiana outlaw.
"Dillinger was a very important factor to the FBI's existence in the '30s. It's true, with Congress breathing down the bureau's neck, the FBI was in trouble. [Director J. Edgar] Hoover needed a big catch to save the bureau," Stewart said.
But Dominguez and other Lake County officials said they see no reason to preserve the gun.
"I don't think [having the gun melted] would destroy history," said Dominguez.
It has not been proved that Lake County's gun was used to kill anyone, but it is believed to have been used by Dillinger and his cohorts in the holdup of three or four banks following their Crown Point jailbreak. History buffs say the gun could fetch as much as $1 million at auction, but Lake County officials said they can't sell the gun.
Lake County sheriff's spokesman Loy Roberson said there is no documentation for the gun ownership and that selling it would violate the federal firearms act.
"You cannot get it titled. It doesn't have paperwork," Roberson said. "You can't sell something if you don't have paper on it. It belongs to the Lake County Sheriff's Department, but we don't have title paper on it."
The other gun stolen with the Lake County weapon is on display at the Porter County sheriff's office. The only catch: It's in the department's training room, which is not open to the public.
I found this on another site while looking for something else, I cannot find out if this in fact was carried out.
This Sheriff is a stupid asshole IMO. :2c: