Illinois

Suicide of the “father of modern bank robbery”

December 16, 1930
Sidell, Illinois
Herman “Baron” Lamm kills himself after a botched bank robbery

Lamm is considered to be the “father of modern bank robbery” and was so successful other robbers, including the infamous John Dillinger, would study “The Lamm Technique” to improve the own strategies.

After robbing $15,567 (approximately $250,000 in 2016) from a bank in Clinton, IN, one of the getaway drivers noticed a barber armed with a shotgun approaching; unbeknownst to the gang, police had organized local citizens to fight against the increasing number of bank robbers. The driver panicked, hit a curb, and blew out a tire. The group stole another car, unaware the owner had installed a governor (speed regulator) which limited the car’s speed to 35mph, added to keep the owner’s elderly father from driving recklessly. The next vehicle they attempted to steal was quickly abandoned because of low water levels in the radiator, while their fourth attempted getaway vehicle had only one gallon of gas in the tank.

By this time, approximately 200 police and armed citizens had converged on the unlucky gang. After a shootout, one of the members was killed, Lamm and another member shot themselves rather than surrender, and 2 were taken alive and later sentenced to life in prison.

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