Authorities in Arizona and a small Indiana town are locked in a logistical feud over a Tommy gun taken from notorious gangster John Dillinger during his arrest more than 80 years ago.
The Arizona Daily Star reported Monday that officials in Peru, Ind. want the Colt Thompson submachine gun that Tucson police confiscated when they took Dillinger into custody in 1934 turned over. Tucson police currently display the firearm at its headquarters.
Last week, Peru authorities told the Kokomo Tribune that they believe the weapon was stolen from police there in 1933, when Dillinger and one of his accomplices posed as an insurance agent and asked police to lay out their guns so he could give them a quote.
Peru City Attorney Pat Roberts, whose father was one of the officers on duty, said Dillinger, Harry Pierpoint and others returned to the station that night, held up the officers at gunpoint and stole several items, including the gun.
Peru officials claim the gun’s serial number can prove their claim. The number also matches records that were gathered by Gordon Herigstad, who published a book called “Colt Thompson Submachine Gun Serial Numbers & Histories,” according to The Daily Star. The book goes through the histories of the 15,000 submachine guns that were manufactured outside of wartime production.
"We understand it's a big part of their history," Tucson police Sgt. Pete Dugan said of the request for the gun. "But it's also a big part of Tucson's history."
Dugan told The Daily Star that several guns were taken from Dillinger and his accomplices and that tracing the origin of each weapon can be a difficult task.
Dillinger and his accomplices had several weapons when they were arrested, and it can be difficult to determine the origin of each, Dugan said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.