Advertisement
Features

23 May 1934: Bonnie & Clyde killed in ambush

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow became infamous in the 1930s for robbing banks. But their notoriety ultimately proved their undoing.

14-5-22-bonnie-clyde
The most infamous bank robbers of all

The 1920s and 1930s saw a sharp rise in the number of bank robberies in the US. The growing number of bank branches presented an opportunity, while the widespread availability of cars offered a quick getaway, helped by the fact that state police forces still struggled to co-operate on cross-border crimes with each other.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Great Depression had left many people feeling more sympathy for robbers than bankers, and many became celebrities.

But thanks to photos of them posing with stolen weapons discovered by police Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow became the most infamous of all.

Their gang embarked on a crime spree between 1932 and 1934. After targeting stores and gas stations, they graduated to banks. It's generally agreed that they robbed at least a dozen. But their notoriety proved their undoing.

The rapidly-growing Federal Bureau of Investigation got involved in the police hunt after the couple stole a car, increasing the resources dedicated to tracking them down. And the alleged cold-blooded execution of two police officers on Easter Sunday (they killed 13 people in total) turned national opinion against them.

The authorities offered a reward of $2,000 ($35,310 at 2014 prices) for their death or capture, and shortly after, they were killed in an ambush.

The number of bank robberies grew after World War II, peaking at around 9,000 a year in the mid-1990s.

However, new anti-theft technology, tougher sentences and the rise of online banking cut this to 5,000 by 2011. In Britain, bank raids slid from 847 in 1992 to just 66 in 2011. Cybercrime is now the big worry hackers steal an estimated $1bn a year.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519858/how-long-can-the-good-times-roll
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Visit/economy/601346/are-we-back-on-the-road-to-serfdom
Economy

Are we back on the road to serfdom?

The coronavirus crisis has led to levels of state intervention unprecedented in peace time. The Austrian School reminds us of the challenges, say Dan …
22 May 2020
Visit/economy/601380/moneyweeks-quiz-of-the-week-16-22-may
Economy

MoneyWeek's quiz of the week, 16-22 May

Test your recollection of the events of the last seven days with MoneyWeek's quiz of the week
22 May 2020
Visit/economy/uk-economy/601344/what-are-negative-interest-rates-and-could-they-happen-here
UK Economy

What are negative interest rates and could they happen here?

Negative interest rates – where banks pay you to borrow money – now exist in many parts of the world. John Stepek explains why they are a terrible ide…
18 May 2020

Most Popular

Visit/economy/uk-economy/601427/covid-bounce-back-loans-and-inflation
UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/601433/commodities-possibly-the-biggest-opportunity-in-todays-markets
Commodities

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/gold/601444/these-seven-charts-show-exactly-why-you-must-own-gold-today
Gold

These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020