Warsaw’s March Into History themed First Friday event featured a scene out of history as infamous gangster John Dillinger and his gang of criminals came back to town.
In April 1934, Dillinger – accompanied by Baby Face Nelson and Homer Van Meter among others – overpowered Warsaw Police Officer Judd Pittenger taking him hostage and robbing the police department of weapons and bulletproof jackets. Two months later, Van Meter was shot and killed in a shootout with police after robbing a South Bend bank. One month after that, Dillinger would be shot and killed outside of a theater in Chicago.
Friday night’s re-enactment was made possible by volunteers Jay Jacobs, who portrayed Dillinger; Jacob Dunham, who played the role of Van Meter; Steve Long, as Baby Face Nelson; Michael Alspaugh as Pittenger; and Ben Jacobs and Joe Taylor, who drove the get-away car.
The car used in the re-enactment was supplied by Kerlin Motors of Silver Lake. Ted Kerlin, who was present for the event, said the 1934 Ford sedan was just like one used by Dillinger when he came to Warsaw in April 1934.
Warsaw hosts a First Friday event on the first Friday of each month in downtown Warsaw. Next month’s event will be held April 5 when the theme will be Spring Fever.