Public Enemy


They were a group of friends from Fort Dodge, Iowa and in Des Moines, the state’s capital, and on the brink of mischief. The four friends, between 14 and 17 years old, concluded it would be fun to stage a mob rub-out.

They had balloons filled with red-dye, ketchup and water and guns loaded with blanks. Each dressed in a suit and tie, borrowed from their father’s wardrobe and were driving a car, much like one Scar-face Al Capone rode in.

When the time came, one boy got out of the car and walked to a designated street corner. At an appointed time, the car came down the busy street and pulled up in front of the target on the corner.

There a gun fight ensued, with two of the so-called thugs getting out of the car and shooting the boy. As for the target, he returned fire on the two thugs, missing them.

The boy leaned against a brick building, slid to the sidewalk and played dead. By this time people were ducking for cover and women were screaming in fear.

That’s when the two thugs grabbed the boy and dragged him into the car, and the vehicle sped off. Road blocks catch the get-a-way car and gangsters went up, but to no avail.

There were reports on the radio that evening and in the papers the following day. The quartet became scared when they heard the FBI had become involved in the case.

To my knowledge Dad only told this story once. I remember hanging on every word, thinking, “How cool!”

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find one newspaper article written about this event. So it’s safe to say, it never happened, but sure made a great story.

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