Dillinger museum opens Wednesday in Crown Point

File - Not clear which police department took this undated photo of John Dillinger, but it was submitted to the FBI for use in producing fugitive flyers in 1933 or 1934. Dillinger's Ohio escapades aren't part of the new movie "Public Enemies," which tells of his life on the run after an escape from an Indiana prison and of his death in Chicago. But his rise from small-town bank robber to America's most wanted man can be traced to a string of holdups during the summer of 1933 and the daring escape that left the Ohio lawman dead.(AP Photo/FBI, File)

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — A three-day celebration is planned this week to mark the opening of the new John Dillinger Museum in Crown Point’s Old Lake County Courthouse.

The museum’s grand opening is Wednesday — the 81st anniversary of Dillinger’s death — but Tuesday afternoon a wall will be unveiled honoring police officers from Lake County who have died in the line of duty since 1910.

“We wanted to continue to emphasize the message of the museum is about crime and crime fighting, and we use Dillinger to tell that story,” Speros Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, told the (Munster) Times.

On Thursday, the 2009 film “Public Enemies” featuring Johnny Depp as Dillinger will be shown on the courthouse lawn.

Dillinger was born in Indianapolis and led a gang that robbed several banks and police arsenals in Indiana during the 1930s. He broke out of the Lake County Jail in Crown Point while awaiting trial in the killing of an East Chicago policeman in 1934 and was later fatally shot by federal agents outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater.

Previously the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond had material available about Dillinger. The new museum contains some of that material, but Batistatos says it is presented in a new way.

“The museum tells the story of Dillinger and his gang with a strong ‘crime doesn’t pay’ message,” Batistatos said. “We present people with the historic facts and allow them to determine who he was.”

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