Bennie (Born Topeka, Kansas, died April 6, 1939) and (Estelle?) Stella Dickson (née
Redenbaugh) (August 25 Topeka, Kansas, 1922 – 1995 in Missouri) were
Depression-era outlaws and bank robbers in the United States.
They successfully stole over US $
50,000 in an eight-month period from August 1938 to
and wife team in the style of Bonnie
and Clyde, Bennie Dickson and his newlywed wife "Sure Shot"
Stella began their criminal career on Stella's 16th birthday by
robbing a bank in Elkton, South Dakota of $2,174 on August 25,
1938. Two months later, they stole $47,233 in
cash and bonds from a bank in Brookings, South Dakota on October
tracked by police to a tourist campground in Topeka, Kansas, the Dicksons were able to escape after a brief
gunfight when officers attempted to arrest them on November 24.
Separated during the escape,
Bennie drove his car to South
, and after stealing another car, doubled back to
Topeka to meet Stella at a rendezvous on November 25
. Traveling to Michigan, several
attempts over the next few days were made by authorities to capture
them, including one incident in which Stella shot the tires out on
a pursuing patrol car (earning her the moniker "Sure Shot" Stella).
After taking three men hostage, Bennie and Stella were able to
steal getaway cars in Michigan and Indiana, later eluding police on
the countryside backroads.
after arriving in St. Louis, Bennie was shot and killed by arresting FBI agents
while at a hamburger stand on April 6,
1939, with Stella being arrested in Kansas City
the following day.
Taken back to South Dakota to stand
trial, Stella was convicted of two federal counts of bank robbery
and sentenced to ten years
Stella Dickson remained behind bars until she was 26. She later
lived in Raytown, Missouri., where she worked as a grocery store
clerk and was married several times. She died of emphysema at age
72, in 1995.
- Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Robbers, Heists, and
Capers. New York: Facts On File Inc., 2002.
- Tim Hrenchir, The Topeka Capitol-Journal.