Dad loved me and my brother but he loved to rob banks & es­cape jail even more

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - WATTS THE GOSS -

Gaile was a mum of four and Tucker a dot­ing grandad. “He adored my kids and they loved him so much,” she says.

“I never got a call from San Quentin. I never got a call from the FBI. I never had any­body knock at my door.”

But po­lice in Texas and Ok­la­homa be­gan re­port­ing a strange se­ries of holdups. A group of old men would go to a store or bank with a gun and de­mand money. Dubbed the Over The Hill Gang, in one year they were sus­pected of at least 60 rob­beries. Tucker was fi­nally caught and re­turned to San Quentin.

He was re­leased aged 73 and set­tled into life with third wife, Jewel, in Florida. But the lure of crime was too much.

Some five years later, dressed all in white, he drove 50 miles to the Repub­lic Se­cu­rity Bank in Jupiter town, pulled out a gun and calmly made off with $5,000.

The 78-year-old, who had un­der­gone a quadru­ple by­pass, thanked the staff on his way out. Chased by po­lice, Tucker crashed his car into a tree.

The ail­ing crook was sent to FMC Fort Worth, Texas. This time he would never leave. Gaile has mixed feel­ings about Tucker as an ab­sent fa­ther.

“As a child, I didn’t un­der­stand. But much later in my life, I re­alised this is just what he loved, the thrill of the chase,” she says.

“I think maybe I re­sented him a lit­tle bit for lov­ing his life­style bet­ter than he loved his chil­dren.”

Tucker was in his 80s when he died in jail in 2004 with­out know­ing that his dream had come true. He had al­ways wanted his life story to be turned into a movie.

The Old Man & the Gun is out in cin­e­mas now. have his ap­pen­dix out. Af­ter the op­er­a­tion, he picked the lock on his shack­les and walked out.

Sent to Al­ca­traz in 1953, Tucker spent years smug­gling tools to dig his way out. But he took his chance to flee dur­ing a trans­fer. Spend­ing the night in county jail be­fore a court ap­peal in 1956, Tucker was taken to hos­pi­tal with kid­ney pains. They had to re­move his leg irons af­ter he stabbed him­self in the an­kle with a pen­cil. As he was wheeled in for an X-ray, Tucker leapt up, over­pow­ered the guards and fled.

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