Kidnapping of Edward Bremer

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On January 16, 1934 Edward Bremer was kidnapped from the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota. Bremer was 34, and was president of Commercial State Bank. His father, Adolph Bremer, was also a banker and the owner of the Schmidt beer brewery.[1]

Bremer was held captive in Bensenville, Illinois by members of the Barker-Karpis gang[2] He was released on February 7, 1934 in return for $200,000 ransom. The FBI launched an intensive investigation that resulted in the arrest of Arthur "Doc" Barker on January 8, 1935. Eight days later, his brother Fred Barker and mother Kate "Ma" Barker were killed in a shootout with the FBI at Lake Weir, Florida.[3]

Alvin Karpis, who was co-leader of the gang along with Fred Barker, was arrested by the FBI in May, 1936. Karpis pleaded guilty to kidnapping and Doc Barker was convicted after a trial. Both men were sent to Alcatraz. Karpis was paroled after decades in prison and Barker was shot while trying to escape from Alcatraz in 1939.[4]

St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Brown was implicated as a conspirator in the kidnapping after an investigation by the FBI and a hearing before the city Civil Service Board. Brown was fired from the police force, but the federal government declined further prosecution.[5]


  1. ^ Newton, Michael. 2002. Infobase Publishing. 
  2. ^ Burrough, Bryan (2009). Public Enemies. Penguin. p. 195. 
  3. ^ Burrough, Bryan (2009). Public Enemies. Penguin. p. 502. 
  4. ^ Burrough, Bryan (2009). Public Enemies. Penguin. p. 547. 
  5. ^ Mahoney, Tim (2013). Secret Partners. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 244.