John Wojtowicz: The Story of a Bank Robbery to Fund His Lover’s Gender-Conversion Surgery.
The genuine story that inspired the film “Dog Day Afternoon” differs significantly from other bank heists.
John Wojtowicz was born in New York City in 1945 and led a typical life in the late 1960s.
After graduating from high school and serving in Vietnam, John returned to Manhattan to work at Chase Bank, where he began an affair with Carmen Bifulco.
John has kept a secret from his wife, whom he married in 1967. John’s first encounter with a homosexual individual occurred during basic training prior to his deployment to Vietnam.
When John got back to the United States, he tried to hide the fact that he was gay. He also had trouble dealing with the traumatic events of the war, especially the fact that he lived through a rocket attack on his base.
John could no longer afford to be hypocritical after two years of marriage to Carmen. In 1969, he got a divorce from his wife and joined the Gay Activist Alliance while looking for a new partner.
John met Ernie Aron (a male), who identified as a woman and went by the name Elizabeth Eden. In the same year, the pair “married” in a ceremony that was not recognized at the time.
Elizabeth, who acts like a woman in this relationship, wants to undergo gender reassignment surgery, which John opposes. As a result of her suicide attempt, Elizabeth was hospitalized, and John decided to allow Elizabeth to have surgery to treat her depression. In reality, John Wojtowicz himself would rob a bank to finance such an operation.
John formed a team to assist the robbery in order to obtain financing for “his lover’s” gender surgery. According to sources, Elizabeth’s gender surgery funding was not a genuine motive but rather a Mafia-planned operation.
John enlisted the assistance of Bobby Westenberg and Salvatore Naturale, whom he met in a gay bar, for the robbery. However, these three accomplices are not skilled thieves.
They leisurely drove around New York City on August 22, 1972, in search of a bank to loot.