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INDIANAPOLIS — The body of notorious 1930s gangster John Dillinger is expected to be exhumed in September at an Indianapolis cemetery, but it could be a tough job because his grave is encased in concrete.

Digging up the remains more than 85 years after Dillinger was killed by FBI agents also could resolve conspiracy theories that the man some considered a hero during the Great Depression isn’t buried in his marked grave, said Susan Sutton, a historian with the Indiana Historical Society.

The Indiana Health Department approved a permit July 3 sought by Dillinger’s nephew, Michael Thompson, to have the body exhumed from Crown Hill Cemetery and reinterred there.

The permit doesn’t give a reason for the request, and Thompson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Health Department spokesman Jeni O’Malley said that based on the permit, the agency expects Dillinger’s body will be exhumed and reinterred on Sept. 16 — the date listed on the document.

But digging up Dillinger’s grave might prove a difficult task because days after his son’s funeral, Dillinger’s father had the casket reburied under a protective cap of concrete and scrap iron topped by four reinforced-concrete slabs, Sutton said.

The reason for the concrete-encased grave was to thwart would-be vandals, Sutton said, citing Crown Hill: History, Spirit, and Sanctuary a 2013 book the historical society published about the cemetery’s history.

The Indianapolis-born Dillinger was one of America’s most notorious criminals. The FBI says Dillinger’s gang killed 10 people as they pulled off a bloody string of bank robberies across the Midwest in the 1930s.

Print Headline: Relative set to exhume gangster Dillinger’s body

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