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J Edgar Hoover arrests last of Ma Barker's 'boys' Alvin Karpis

A stock photo of police handcuffs


Karpis wasn’t actually one of Ma Barker’s four sons but it was after he met her youngest, Fred, that the family gang became a federal concern. Karpis suggested the kidnap of a banker but he was the son of a friend of President Roosevelt.

This made them Public Enemy No1 to director and founder of the FBI, J Edgar Hoover. Karpis wrote to Hoover promising to kill him.

Instead, months later, he was stopped and surrounded by a dozen agents so that Hoover himself could walk up and make the arrest...