Bank robber-turned-novelist Stephen Reid, aged 68
Canadian Stephen Reid shot to notoriety as a member of the Stopwatch Gang, a trio of robbers who stole millions of dollars from banks across North America in the 1970s and ’80s.
They took their name from the stopwatch Reid wore on the raids and were famous for their meticulous planning, the speed with which they struck – often 90 seconds or less – and the courtesy they showed their victims.
They were also phenomenally professional. One of their most audacious raids was a $750,000 gold heist in 1974 from Ottawa Airport.
However this was overhshadowed by a $283,000 robbery at a Bank of America branch in San Diego in 1980, which set a California record.
The gang – Reid, Paddy Mitchell and Lionel Wright – targeted an estimated 100 banks and got away with around 15 million Canadian dollars.
Reid, who has died aged 68, was convicted of bank robbery twice and served time in more than 20 prisons in Canada and the US, but built a second life for himself when he took up writing behind bars in 1984.
He submitted a manuscript to Susan Musgrave, then writer-in-residence at the University of Waterloo. The pair struck up a correspondence, then a romance and married in 1986. He published his first novel, Jack Rabbit Parole, that year.
His second work, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden: Writing from Prison, won the 2013 Victoria Book Award.
He became addicted to heroin and cocaine and, in June 1999, committed another bank robbery, which earned him 18 years in prison.
He was given day parole on January 28 2008 and died in a hospital near his home on June 12.
Stephen Reid was a member of the Stopwatch Gang robbers.