Wednesday, June 15, 2011


On this date in 1933, William Hamm Jr., heir to the Hamm's Brewery, was kidnapped by the Barker-Karpis gang in St. Paul, MN. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of $100,000, which they received. After the ransom was paid, Hamm was released near Wyoming, MN.

The Barker-Karpis gang's crime spree would continue as the government arrested and unsuccessfully prosecuted Chicago bootlegger Roger Touhy and members of his gang (thanks to informants working for Touhy's rival, Al Capone). The true culprits were eventually located and prosecuted thanks, in large part to the emerging forensic science of latent fingerprint examination.

Further reading:

truTV - Alvin Karpis: Pursuit of the Last Public Enemy

FBI - Latent Prints in the 1933 Hamm Kidnapping

Placeography - Hamm Brewery, Saint Paul, Minnesota


Bob G. said...

John D:
Amazing...kidnappers that actually followed through and DID release their captive after getting the money.

Guess even such vermin like this had a bit more civility in those days, eh?
Good post.

Stay safe.

John D. said...

This particular crew wanted to do business in good faith. As it turned out, they had it in mind to do some more kidnapping. They knew ransom money would be hard to come by if they had a rep for killing their hostages. Fortunately, the feds caught up with them after they traced the fingerprints on a gas can to one of the Barker brothers.