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 • Cypress Lawn Memorial Park
 • Colma
 • San Mateo County
 • California
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Joseph Paul Cretzer
Birth: Apr. 17, 1911
Death: May 4, 1946

Criminal. As a Bay Area bank robber, he was the most feared bank robber on the West Coast during the Depression, earning the distinction of Public Enemy No. 5. After his imprisonment, he was caught trying to escape from McNeil Island Prison, so he was sent to Alcatraz. In May 1941 he and three others attempted to escape The Rock, but they failed. After spending 5 years in solitary, he threw into another escape plan with Bernard Coy, Marvin Hubbard, Buddy Thompson, Sam Shockley, and Clarence Carnes. The resulting breakout attempt, known as the "Battle of Alcatraz", began on May 2, 1946. In a spectacular plan, the plotters gained access to the gun gallery and took nine guards hostage, but the plan failed due to a misplaced key. Furious that all hope of escape was gone, Joseph Cretzer shot down each of the hostages, killing one. Carnes, Thompson, and Shockley returned to their cells while the remaining three shot it out with prison personnel and US Marines. The fantastic siege lasted for 41 hours, with hundreds of grenades and SHAPE bombs dropped into the cell house to dislodge the escapees. Cretzer and his two partners, Coy and Hubbard, were found dead on the morning of May 4. His body was cremated by his wife at the Cypress Lawn Memorial Cemetery. (bio by: Dennis Rice) 
 
Burial:
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park *
Colma
San Mateo County
California, USA
*Former burial location
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Dennis Rice
Record added: Dec 13, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 7010617
Joseph Paul Cretzer
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Joseph Paul Cretzer
Added by: William Sweeney
 
Joseph Paul Cretzer
Added by: William Sweeney
 
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