Sunday, January 4, 2009

Indiana's "Gangster" Treasures

Gangsters, Guns, and Buried Loot

Like its neighbor Illinois, the Hoosier State became a haven of sorts for quite a few gangsters of the Prohibition Era. It goes without saying that the presence of mobsters like Al Capone's gang in Chicago helped Indiana along this path of notoriety.

Illegal trafficking in booze, guns, women, and whatever else the "underground" market demanded became commonplace, particularly in the northern part of Indiana as gangsters slipped back and forth across state lines. In many instances the bootleggers and their criminal associates were on the run from John Law and were forced to hide or bury all or part of their loot.

Treasure Hunting

So here are a few gangster-related treasure troves in Indiana that may prove interesting:

1. An anonymous Prohibition gangster is said to have buried a very large sum of cash between the communities of Berne and Geneva in Adams County, Indiana. What form this "cash" is in is anyone's guess, but if it preliminary research indicates the lost loot is paper currency, forget it. (If you don't understand why I say this, e-mail me and I will explain myself.)

2. Members of Al Capone's gang stashed over 2,000 cases of illegal whiskey in a cave along the shoreline of Lake Michigan near Michigan City, Indiana. They then sealed up the cave and camouflaged the site, failing to return to recover the hidden booze. What 2,000 cases of Prohibition-era whiskey would be worth today I couldn't venture to guess. However, rest assured that the Feds (IRS and ATF) would be hot on the finder's trail.

Al Capone and His Gang (Famous Dead People)

3. Jim Colosimo, a well-known gangster of the 1920s, supposedly buried a cache of diamonds worth millions near Crown Point, Indiana in Lake County. Colosimo was an actual person and his nefarious activities are fairly well documented, so further research is warranted. One thing is for certain in all this. A trove of diamonds worth millions in the 1920s would make the finder a very, very wealthy man (or woman) today.

4. The infamous criminal and bank robber, John Dillinger is said to have buried $25,000 somewhere on his dad's farm near Mooresville, Indiana. Again, if this trove is in paper currency I doubt whether it would be worth tracking down, especially since I suspect the old Dillinger Farm is someone else's property today.

Morgan County, Indiana: Martinsville, Indiana, Bethany, Indiana, Mooresville, Indiana, Morgantown, Indiana, Monrovia, Indiana, Brooklyn

5. During the 1920s a bank employee with embezzlement on his mind buried nearly $100,000 in paper currency somewhere along State Road 42 outside Terre Haute, Indiana. When confronted with evidence of the theft, the embezzler committed suicide, thereby ensuring this lost treasure trove would remain unfound.

Look for Researchable Details

Undoubtedly, many other caches were buried or hidden in Indiana during the Prohibition Era. I believe treasure hunters in Indiana should focus on some of the smaller, less well-known treasure tales involving gangsters and buried loot. I would pay particular attention to those stories that provide researchable details and involve gold or silver coins and bullion, or jewels as opposed to paper currency.

Good hunting to you either way.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Ohio's Lost French Gold Hoard"

(c) J.R. 2009

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