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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Through a review of the Dillinger FBI file for other reasons, I've located several documents in the file revealing Hoover and the FBI literally gave away a "Colt Super .38 Caliber Automatic Pistol" to one Charles C. Pettijohn at his request. Shipment of this gun to Pettijohn is confirmed by a letter from Hoover to him dated November 27, 1937.

As the Director points out in his letter to Pettijohn, the above gun "belonged to Dillinger and was recovered at Little Bohemia Lodge".....after the shootout. Hoover's letter specifically states the serial number has been obliterated.

Charles C. Pettijohn, born 1881 and died in Indiana, 1948, was a veteran of motion picture production, being legal counsel for Motion Picture Producers Asso. in NYC. Obviously he was close to the Director. His obituary shows he listed the Director on an application for a gun permit.

Charles apparently married one Helen Ire Lynch, a star of the silent stage. There were two sons; Charles, Jr. born in 1918 and David Bruce, born in 1919. Both sons are now believed deceased. We are not aware of any children of either, but research into this area has not occurred to any substance.

As of this time, there is no additional info on what happened to the two sons.

I'm attempting to account for the whereabouts of this weapon with regard to FBI history and if anyone has come across it at auctions etc., through the "grapevine," etc. I'd appreciate a note. I am assuming the gun stayed within the Pettijohn family, being passed down. (It very well may still be there today.)

Although this is the only instance found of a "give-away," we are not totally sure if others didn't occur from other cases.

By the way, we've posted some new "stuff" at our 1930s Gman site if you haven't been by lately. Stop by for a visit at:

Many thanks
Larry Wack
Retired SA - FBI

7,272 Posts
Great stuff . Thank you Larry :cool:

On a similar topic , the family that donated the pistol in this link brought it to our store for appraisal before donating it . It's been a few years but I recall it being in excellent condition and wondering how Dillinger aquired it . Someone had engraved it with the chief's name and date . I recall it being a piece of history right there in my hand .
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