Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Johnny D's Furry Felon

There are a surprising number of famous folks from my hometown.  The most notorious is John Dillinger, bank robber during the early 1930s, whose family moved to Mooresville when he was a child (technically, just north of town, on a farm along Old State Road 67).  The Dillingers were well-liked.  John was a friendly fellow.  The Dillingers shopped at the West End Grocery, owned by Frank Morgan, at 135 West High Street in town.  It was probably quite a shock when Johnny and a friend, Ed Singleton, attempted to rob Mr. Morgan on Saturday, September 6, 1924, just a block from my library.  Scowl-Face made a local history video about it.



John Dillinger's Hometown Holdup
(Mooresville Moments #7)
by Mooresville Public Library


You can read Scowl-Face's blog post (if you can stand it) for more details.  For moi, I was curious if the Dillinger gang had any felines.  Apparently so, but that wasn't the biggest surprise.  One of my distant relatives worked for the F.B.I. as an undercover feline on the Dillinger case.


Special Feline Agent Sylvester Rhodes
F.B.I. (Furry Bureau of Investigation)

In 1933, Sylvester Rhodes, who lived near Camby, Indiana, became a special feline agent for the F.B.I. (Furry Bureau of Investigation).  Sylvester's director, Jedgar Whover, assigned Sylvester to the Mooresville area to monitor the movements of any cats that John Dillinger might bring along during visits home.  Along with two human F.B.I. agents, Sylvester was stationed on the Hensley farm to observe the Dillinger farm across the road to see if they could catch Dillinger (and his cat).  But nothing came of this stakeout.

Later, Sylvester was with the law enforcement team that arrested Dillinger (and his gang's cat) in Tucson, Arizona (January 25, 1934).  Sylvester took furry felon "Kitty Face" Nelson into custody without incident.


"Kitty Face" Nelson incarcerated
(Officer McRuff guarding jail cell)

In 1937 Sylvester retired from the Furry Bureau of Investigation will full pension (canned tuna-in-oil for life) and honors.



Your Roving Reporter On The Go,


Cauli Le Chat


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