Maurice "Blondie" Denning, once an Iowa farmer, found his way onto the wrong side of the law at age 23. While serving a bootlegging sentence, he hooked up with several other men to form a gang.
After numerous robberies across the Great Plains in 1934, the gang hid out in the nearly deserted town of Kinney, Nebraska, in Gage County. Sheriff Thomas Dunn recruited a number of officials to raid the hideout, but Denning wasn't there during the raid.
Denning and fellow gang member Thomas Limerick arrived in Kinney around midnight in a car they had stolen hours earlier. Finding the area guarded by officers, they ignored the order to halt, speeding through a flurry of gunfire and into the night, eluding capture.
Their stolen car was found Dec. 4, 1934, in an abandoned barn near Odell. Bullet holes were visible in the gas tank and above the rear door. There was no sign of Denning or Limerick.
Reports came in over the next several days of possible sightings in Omaha and farther east in Iowa, but nothing was known of their whereabouts until a Jan. 5, 1935, robbery of a bank in Hudson, S.D.
Denning was never seen nor heard from again in Nebraska. On July 20, 1936, FBI Director John Edgar Hoover named Maurice Denning Public Enemy No. 1 after the death of Dillinger associate John "Red" Hamilton. Staying on the FBI's radar until the 1960s, Denning was never apprehended, making him the most successful public enemy.