The Number Of Murders John Dillinger Was Charged With May Surprise You

John Dillinger is one of the most infamous criminals in American history. Along with the likes of Bonnie and Clyde and Al Capone, though, he has achieved a sort of romantic notoriety, a place in popular culture that at once demands he should be forgotten forever and ensures that he won't be.

For all the lives Capone directly and indirectly ended as the head of the Chicago Outfit, he was eventually jailed for nothing more deadly than tax avoidance (as Forbes reports). Dillinger's criminal record was also highly surprising, particularly the number of murders that were attributed to him. With the sheer number of people who were drawn into conflict with him and his gang, his tragic "body count" may seem almost impossible.

From his formative years, it was clear that Dillinger would not be living a long, law-abiding life. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 22 1903, Britannica reports, and found himself in almost constant trouble. An unsettled family life and unceremonious departure from the navy just months into his service (aboard the USS Utah) seemed to set him up for his less-than-ideal chosen vocation: robbing banks.

The Dillinger Gang's beginnings (and end)

He started with an attempt to hold up a humble grocer in 1924. He bungled it and was handed a one-to-two-decade sentence. However, his time in Indiana State Prison proved to be the making of him (in a glass-half-full sort of way). While in jail, Britannica reports, he learned the ins-and-outs of bank robbery from experts.

This would not be Dillinger's only sojourn in prison, but while behind bars, he solidified relationships with the likes of Walter Dietrich and Harry Pierpont. Alongside others, they would form the Dillinger Gang, a wily band of thieves who ended their run with a total take worth $7 million today, according to History.

In January 1934, in a sloppy raid on the First National Bank of Gary, Indiana, Dillinger and his accomplices were caught in a desperate struggle to escape. In the chaotic shootout, Dillinger himself shot and killed a police officer, William Patrick O'Malley. As History reports, the Tucson police were able to round up the gang and charged Dillinger with O'Malley's murder. Though he was never officially found guilty of the crime (and was shot and killed himself by police on July 22, 1934, at the age of just 31), this was the only killing he was ever charged with.