Dillinger relative considers moving gangster’s home

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A relative of 1930s gangster John Dillinger might move a central Indiana farmhouse that was owned by his family, saying local officials haven't shown any interest in his plans to turn it into a tourist attraction.

Jeff Scalf, a great nephew of Dillinger who owns Dillinger LLC, said he's "had enough waiting around" for Morgan County officials and has started looking elsewhere for a home for his collection of Dillinger heirlooms and possibly even the farmhouse now in Dillinger's hometown of Mooresville.

"I've offered the house and my ideas numerous times to Mooresville, but they haven't taken the chance to approve it," Scalf told The Reporter-Times. "I had to look at moving it out of Morgan County."

Scalf said he has talked with people in two out-of-state locations and in Greencastle, the Putnam County city that was the site of a Dillinger bank robbery in 1933.

In addition to presenting Mooresville with the Dillinger museum offer, Scalf said he prepared a Morgan County tourism plan that included a John Wooden-themed festival for Martinsville, a racing museum in Paragon and other events.

Morgan County Councilman Jeff Quyle said Scalf prepared a good set of ideas but no formal plan has ever been presented to the county.

"This has the potential to offer some advantages, but Jeff has damaged his credibility in the community," Quyle said.

Dillinger and his gang attracted a lot of publicity during a yearlong crime spree that started in 1933 that included bank robberies, shootouts, jail breaks and, according to authorities, the killing of 10 people. Dillinger's relatives maintain he didn't kill anyone himself.

Dillinger broke out of the Lake County Jail in Crown Point while awaiting trial in the killing of an East Chicago policeman in 1934. He was 31 when FBI agents fatally shot him four months later outside Chicago's Biograph Theater.

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