US & Canada

John Dillinger: US gangster's body set to be exhumed

John Dillinger. Photo: 1934 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption John Dillinger was described as "Public Enemy No.1" in the 1930s

A request to exhume the remains of infamous US gangster John Dillinger has been approved by officials in Indiana.

Dillinger's relatives have been pressing for the permit, saying an imposter is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

The FBI says its agents shot dead the gangster in Chicago in 1934, and he was then buried in Indiana's state capital.

The disinterment is now planned for 31 December 2019 - but the cemetery is fighting the decision in court.

Dillinger's nephew Michael Thompson and another family member say they believe that the FBI "killed the wrong man" at Chicago's Biograph Theater in 1934.

They say they have evidence that the imposter in the grave has different eye colour and fingerprints.

The FBI has dismissed such arguments as "a conspiracy theory".

In a tweet in August, the FBI said it had "a wealth of information" proving that Dillinger was indeed shot dead in Chicago.

Who was John Dillinger?

Dillinger, who escaped from jail twice, was described as "Public Enemy No.1" in the 1930s - the Great Depression era in the US.

A $10,000 bounty was placed on his head.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jonny Depp played John Dillinger in the 2009 Public Enemies film

He led the Dillinger Gang, which was accused of carrying out a string of bank robberies.

In 2009, Public Enemies, a biographical crime drama film directed by Michael Mann, was released.

It details the final years of Dillinger (played by Jonny Depp), and the birth of the modern-day FBI.

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Media captionThe FBI has over 7,000 guns in its library

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