Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Stopwatch Gang

Paddy Mitchell, Lionel Wright and Stephen Reid moved to California to get rich. The trio of thieves earned their nickname by robbing banks — about 100 of them during the 1970s and 1980s — while one of them donned a prominent stopwatch all the while, ensuring that each heist took under two minutes to complete. Over the course of their crime spree, they amassed more than $15 million in stolen cash.
The FBI finally caught up with Reid in 1980 and he was sentenced to serve time in the “Marion Pen” in Illinois until his extradition to Canada. After serving some time in Canada, he was paroled in 1987. In 1999, while high on cocaine and heroin and struggling with addiction he again attempted to rob another bank but was caught very quickly. This time Reid was sentenced to 18 years in a British Columbia jail.
June 9, 1999 – Succumbing to his heroin addiction, Reid soon accumulates a debt of $90,000 and in a desperate attempt to pay it off is involved in a botched kidnap attempt. He next plans an armed robbery of the Royal Bank branch in Victoria. After he leaves the bank with $93,924 in cash, police chase him and a shoot-out ensues. It's the first time in his bank-robbing career that Stephen Reid fires a shot. Reid escapes from the car and flees into an apartment complex. He makes his way into an elderly couple's unit. The ordeal ends after five hours when the police eventually locate the apartment and arrest him.

December 21, 1999 – Reid is sentenced to 18 years for armed robbery, unlawful confinement, discharging a firearm with intent to prevent an arrest and dangerous use of a firearm. He is eligible for parole in six years.

2005 – Reid's request for parole is turned down.

January 29, 2008 – Reid is allowed out on day-parole. As a condition of his parole he must spend nights at a halfway house, abstain from any alcohol or drugs and stay away from anyone involved in criminal activity. He also has to continue to attend substance abuse programs and counseling.

2009 – Stephen Reid undergoes heart surgery. During his recovery, he is given morphine, the drug that sparked his addiction at age 11. The drug rekindles his addiction. He soon begins using Oxycontin as his new drug of choice along with heroin. He eventually gets caught breaking his parole for a minor offence. He is sent back to prison for period of three months.

November 5, 2010 – Stephen Reid is stopped by a police road check. They find thousands of contra-band cigarettes in the trunk of his car. They also find a bottle of Valium along with a sample of someone else's urine; presumably to be used for an upcoming urine test. Reid is sent back to Williams Head Institution.

February 2011 – Reid waves his right for a parole hearing. He currently has six years remaining on his 1999 18-year sentence.