Mugshot March: John Dillinger, outlaw

This is the final Mugshot March post of 2022, so it had better be good.

And it gets no better than the original Public Enemy #1, John Herbert Dillinger.

Dillinger, the charismatic bank robber and 1930s outlaw, had a fascinating, but all-too-short life.  He was born on June 22, 1903 in Indiana, to a humble farmer and his wife.

His life of crime, like so many others, was initially the result of a dumb mistake. He got married in 1924, and just four months later, an unsuccessful robbery led to being charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and assault with intent to rob. The judge threw the book at Dillinger, sentencing him to 2-14 years on the conspiracy charge, and 10-20 years on the assault charge. His new wife promptly divorced him.

 1924 mugshot


There was a moment, in May 1933, when he was paroled from prison and he briefly stood at the crossroads. He could have played it straight or he could cross over into infamy. I bet you know what he chose to do!

Dillinger with Colt pistol and submachine


An interesting thing about Dillinger is how different he looks in each picture. While still recognizable, he might look old in some pictures, and a few months later, he was snapped looking like he was about 17. He did have plastic surgery at one point to disguise himself, but it’s more than that.

September 1933 Mugshot from Dayton, Ohio


Dillinger was a real celebrity. People wanted to pose with him for pictures, everyone–even law enforcement–wanted the souvenirs proving they met the famous outlaw.

Some great dynamics in this photo!


He had a distinct Old Hollywood vibe, an outlaw Humphrey Bogart.

Here’s looking at you, kid


In an Indiana courthouse, age 30. If you look closely, you can see the handcuff on his right wrist. from


February 1934. Dillinger looks a little bored. from


John Dillinger stands alone in court in February 1934. He had just five months more to live.


Dillinger was betrayed by the pernicious Anna Sage, the lady in red, who worked with the FBI to set up the famous outlaw. He was shot and killed outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago, one month after his thirty-first birthday.


Enter the Mugshot March 2022 contest here to win a signed paperback copy of my new historical true crime book, Has it Come to This?