The Crimes of the Century

On July 26 the Federal Bureau of Investigation will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To commemorate, the bureau has put together a history series, "FBI 100," that details some of the most significant and high-profile cases of the last 100 years.

The bureau originated with the passage of a 1907 law prohibiting Secret Service operatives from conducting federal criminal investigations. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte, under President Theodore Roosevelt, assembled 10 former Secret Service agents to become special agents within the Department of Justice.

Bonaparte's successor, Attorney General George Wickersham, later named the force the Bureau of Investigation.

Considered the birth of the FBI, the small group of 10 later grew into the agency that now employs more than 30,000 people.


Since its creation in 1908, the FBI has been involved in some of the most celebrated criminal cases of the century.

Here are some of the nation's most sensational crimes, challenging investigations and compelling criminals:

(For more information, click here for the FBI Web site.)

Bonnie and Clyde

Hunt for the Missing

Immortalized on the silver screen, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were the most notorious crime couple in American history.

They were said to fall in love instantly when they met in January 1930. Just a few days later 19-year-old Bonnie helped Clyde — at 21 already a multiple felon — escape from jail.

After that, they were forever partners in crime.

From the summer of 1932 to the spring of 1934, the Dallas couple crossed the country in stolen cars, robbing gas stations, grocery stores and sometimes banks. Though Bonnie never fired a gun, Clyde murdered at least a 12 people, including policemen and bystanders.

After joining the chase for the infamous couple in 1933, the FBI discovered ties to the Methvin family in Louisiana and ultimately persuaded them to help. In May 1934 the unsuspecting couple slowed to help Ivy Methvin on the side of the road with an apparently broken down truck. Hiding in bushes, the FBI ambushed the duo and killed the lawless lovers.

The Odd Couple Bank Robbers

Deemed the Odd Couple of Crime, Albert Nussbaum and Bobby Wilcoxson were complete opposites. All they shared, it seemed, was a lust for crime, and together they robbed banks across the nation.

Nussbaum, believed to be the brains of the pair, was a student of crime, constantly perusing books on explosives, electronics, criminal investigations and firearms. Wilcoxson brought the brawn to the team, carrying heavy weaponry and intimidating bankers with his intimidating size and booming voice.

The unlikely pair met in an Ohio prison and reconnected after release, robbing their first bank in Buffalo in 1960. But by June 1961, they made their first mistake: the FBI lifted Nussbaum's fingerprint from a homemade bomb, meant to distract police from the bank robbery, that failed to detonate.

Their fifth bank robbery, in which they recruited accomplice Peter Curry, landed them on the FBI's "Top Ten" fugitive list after it went terribly wrong. A customer fled to alert police while Wilcoxson killed a guard, and the three barely escaped.

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