Investigation Team: Dave Miller
Investigation Date: December 17, 2016 Dayton, Ohio
After his arrest at the boarding house at 324 W. First Street in Dayton, Dillinger went quietly, without talking. He was taken into custody at the Old Ford Street Jail. When being booked and asked what his occupation was, he smiled and said “I’m a farmer”. This was where the famous mug shot of Public Enemy #1, Dayton prisoner #10587 was taken on September 22, 1933. Dayton Daily News reported that Dillinger was always calm and smiling, answered questions with a shrug and the comment “see my lawyer”. Police throughout the jail were armed with machine guns to ward off a jail break. Dillinger spent two nights at Old Ford Street Jail before being transferred to the County Sheriff’s Jail behind the Old Court House while extradition hearings took place for a few days.
The Central Police Station (called the CPS) built in October 1920 was affectionately known as the Ford Street Station. I went looking for 20 Ford Street and found that today it is a parking lot where people park to attend Dayton Dragon baseball games just west of the Metroparks Second Street Market. Back then the jail was just north of the MERC, the old DP&L steam plant on East Third Street. When the Dayton Safety Building at 335 West Third Street opened in late 1954, it hastened the end of the Ford Street Station which closed in 1956. (Thank you to Steve Grismer of Dayton Police History for providing me with photo’s of the jail and extra historical information).
For several days sheriffs from Indiana and western Ohio paraded bank robbery witnesses to Dayton and showed them Dillinger. One witness was Carl Enoch, cashier of the New Carlisle Bank, who was brought in and identified Dillinger as one of two men that robbed the bank. Dillinger was also identified as a participant in bank robberies in Bluffton, Ohio and in Indianapolis and Dalesville, Indiana. Many jurisdictions in Ohio and in Indiana where Dillinger robbed banks wanted Dillinger brought back to their town to stand trial. Since Dayton had no warrant for Dillinger’s arrest, then-Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Patterson decided to transfer him to Lima where he was wanted for robbing the Citizen’s Bank in nearby Bluffton in Allen County.
The big news on September 26, 1933 was that ten convicts including all of Dillinger’s old pals had escaped from the Indiana State Prison. Dayton PD feared they were coming for Dillinger. Dillinger got an armed escort out of Dayton led by Sheriff Eugene Frick on September 28, 1933 and was turned over to Sheriff Jess Sarber in Lima, Ohio. Little did Sarber know that he had only 14 days to live.