William Helmer Q&A #3

Co-author of DILLINGER: THE UNTOLD STORY

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William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby Liz » Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:19 pm

ONBC: One thing really bothered me while reading the book because I read so much about the Barkers and other public enemies. I was curious about the Bremer ransom money. (page 150 of the book).. Really, I have several questions about this one topic:

Why would Dillinger, Van Meter and Hamilton be throwing the ransom money from the Bremer kidnapping out of their car while getting away from Little Bohemia? How did they get it?

On March 22, 1934 George shotgun Zeigler, who had most of the Bremer kidnapping money, was shot by his own gang. If all but Zeigler of the Barker gang were still alive, why wouldn't they have their own ransom money?
Was Dillinger somehow given the money by the mob after Zeigler was shot to give to the Barkers?

I find it funny that they would toss it when it wasn't even from one of their own robberies, or maybe that was why. That Pat Cherrington would see it and return it to them is really uncanny.

Mr. Helmer, do you have any further insights on all of this other than your footnote #38 on pg. 299?


WH: Some of the money was split up at the time, and some evidently went to Nelson (including Van Meter) who had the same contacts as George Zeigler [aka for Fred Goetz] with the Reno gamblers, and they wouldn’t touch it. Some then went to fences (about 25 people were convicted in the Bremer case). Bear in mind that most of the hoods already knew each other via St. Paul, either personally or by reputation. It’s unlikely Zeigler/Goetz had the money (or much of it) in his personal possession, and the Chicago mob already had turned its back on the robbers and kidnappers (with whom they’d formerly been cozy) by the time of Little Bohemia, to the point of ordering Dr. Moran to give no aid to Hamilton when he was badly wounded after that escape, for they were bringing down too much Federal heat on the criminal community.
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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby Theresa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:39 pm

Now I'm a little confused. So does that mean the ransom money was marked? That's why no one would touch it?

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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby Liz » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:21 pm

I don't know. What do y'all think? Another follow-up question for Helmer, after he answers my last 2 questions. :lol: The poor guy is really swamped right now. So it might be a while.
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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby gemini » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:54 pm

One thing that has resulted since I read PE and "Dillinger the untold story", and a few others is an obsession to reading all the Internet related stories which never seem to end. I am still at it. The more I learn about each gang member the more I get interested in the next. Karpis is one that reminded me a lot of Dillinger, not as swaggering but smart. I know they were all connected through knowing the same people in the Chicago mob, who must have helped launder their money as well as set up robberies before things "got too hot". They all took turns being PE #1 and being hunted by Hoover. That's why this money connection is so fascinating to me.

I get that the Bremer money was probably floating around after Zeigler was killed by the mob because I recall reading somewhere that Karpis told Barker " It would be a long time before any of them could spend any of that money". I took it that it had to be laundered probably by the mob.
I guess Mr Helmer probably has answered the connection part, as Nelson and Van Meter had Zeigler and Goetz as contacts in common with the Barker gang.

As for throwing it out, they may have thought the money could be traced back to the kidnapping but I don't think they intended at that point to be arrested alive after a shoot out. The only thing I thought was that they thought to slow the cops down, if they stopped when they saw cash on the highway.
It is certainly another one of those posers we may never know.
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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby deppaura » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:56 pm

VERRRYYY INTERRRESSTING!!

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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:03 pm

gemini, thanks for your continued interest it this. I seem to remember something from PE that the Bremer money was marked. But I have tried to find the reference and so far no luck.
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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby gemini » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:25 pm

I did a little investigating in Public Enemies. Hope Mr. Helmer doesn't mind. I think I found out about the money and the connection.

PE. Pg. 213 it says the $200,000 Bremer ransom had the serial numbers recorded by the FBI before it was paid.

Evidently that didn't stop it from being laundered.

PE pg 329 says Dr Moran of the Chicago mob ( the same one who refused to treat Hamilton when Dillinger brought him there for help when he was shot at about the same time) told Dock Barker he could fence some of the Bremer ransom with the help of Boss McLaughlin. They gave him $10,000 and then another $20,000.

PE pg 331
The FBI finds Bremer money by serial numbers at the Main St Bank and several other institutions. The day John Hamilton died a friend of McLauglin was arrested with $2,200 of the Bremer ransom.

PE pg 422 Van meter is killed by police, one was Tom Brown a crooked cop involved in the Bremer kidnapping. An informant said Van Meter was holding money for Peifer who betrayed him as well as holding money for Fred Barker and Alvin Karpis.
(After hearing of it, Karpis and Barker refused to give Brown his $5000 share of the Bremer money.)

Karpis and Barker gave Cash McDonald $100,000 to take Cuba to fence.
So much for the ransom. I think I may need to go back and reread PE for some of my connection theories.
Last edited by gemini on Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby Theresa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:30 pm

Thanks, gemini! :cool:
That did answer my question...the money was traceable by the FBI.

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Re: William Helmer Q&A #3

Unread postby Liz » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:21 pm

Way to go, gemini! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Thanks for doing all of that research. You've answered a lot of questions. PE really is a great resource.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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