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Iowa History Daily: April 16 - Bonnie & Clyde Rob Stuart

Iowa History Daily: On April 16, 1934, the notorious bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde held up the First National Bank of Stuart. The robbery allegedly marked the final heist by the infamous outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, ending the Barrow Gang’s crime-spree of small-town banks, gas stations, and restaurants throughout the Midwest and Southwest.

Before dying in a roadblock ambush in Gibsland, Louisiana several weeks later in 1934, the gang robbed banks in Rembrandt, Knierim, Lamoni, and Stuart. The second Iowa crime-wave associated with the notorious Depression Era criminals, authorities almost captured the gang at an abandoned amusement park in Dexter, Iowa (23 miles west of Des Moines) during mid-July 1933. Fleeing a gun battle in Platte City, Missouri, the gang hoped to heal in the vacant park.

Local farmer Henry Nye stumbled upon the hideout, and reported what he saw to Dexter’s Marshall John Love. With assistance from the Dallas County Sheriff Clinton Knee and some fifty officers from Des Moines, the local authorities attempted to apprehend the gang. Instead, a wild firefight ensued, allowing Bonnie and Clyde to escape to the farm of John Vallie Feller where they stole a car and left Dallas County on an unguarded route over the South Raccoon River.

Police did apprehend Buck and Blanche Barrow, signaling the beginning of the end for the notorious Barrow Gang. Sightings of Bonnie and Clyde proliferated after their escape, and by 1934 they returned to Iowa for another crime spree. After the robbery in Stuart, law enforcement closed in on the couple alleged to have committed at least a dozen murders in addition to thier infamous bank robberies. Following their deaths at the hands of authorities several weeks after the Iowa robbery, the legend of the two outlaws continued to grow in the imaginations of Iowans. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar #IowaOTD


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