Investigation Team: Dave Miller, Holly Miller
Investigation Date: December 12, 2016 Dayton, Ohio
Did you know famous gangster John Dillinger was arrested in Dayton? After Dillinger robbed the New Carlisle Bank, he fled to Indiana and robbed many more banks over the next three months. Dillinger had the hots for the 23 year old sister of a fellow con named Mary Longnaker. Dillinger, age 30, was only 5’7’’ tall but made up for it with charm, confidence and bravado. He first met her in Indiana. Longnaker let it slip to her Dayton landlord Lucille Stricker that Dillinger was her boyfriend and he planned to come visit her. Between tips from Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency and Stricker tipping off the Dayton Police, Stricker helped Dayton PD Detectives Charlie Gross & Russell Pfauhl move into a room below Longnaker’s at her upscale boarding house at 324 W. First Street. The stakeout began. After seven long weeks and no Dillinger, the two detectives returned to their homes for the night to visit their families. Ironically, Dillinger snowed up at just past midnight on Sept. 22, 1933 and sneaked into Longnaker’s room. Stricker had seen him pull up and notified Pfauhl.
Dayton PD surrounded the boarding house. Just after 1:00am, Stricker led Detectives Gross & Pfauhl up to the second floor and knocked on Longnecker’s door asking to speak to her. When Longnecker opened the door the unsuspecting Dillinger was standing in the middle of the room looking at Chicago World’s Fair photos. Gross stormed through the door with his machine gun pointed at Dillinger saying ”Hold them high John”. Pfauhl jammed a sawed off shotgun in Dillinger’s face. Longnecker fell to the floor at Dillinger’s feet. Pfauhl told her to get on her hands and knees and crawl away. Dillinger offered no resistance. “I would have been crazy ,” he told his gang members later, “to have pulled my gun”.
The detectives found a Colt .38 handgun tucked up Dillinger’s sleeve and a .45 automatic was in his pocket. Also found in the room were $2,604 in cash, notes explaining the fastest way to escape from various cities, two more guns, rifle and shotgun shells, and sacks full of carpet tacks. (Tacks were used to throw onto roads to puncture the tires of pursuing police cars). I found in archives several Dayton Daily News front page articles (see photos) from September 1933 and also the Springfield Daily News that tell of the arrest.
THE SITE TODAY
Mrs. Stricker’s boarding house was razed in 1967 for urban renewal. The address site Holly & I stood on is a parking lot with a modern high rise apartment building beside the lot. The old boarding house site is just a couple blocks from Sinclair Community College.