(Facebook/Denise Bukowski)

Former bank robber, author Stephen Reid has died

Notorious member of the Stopwatch Gang passed away Tuesday

Stephen Reid, a notorious bank robber turned best-selling author, died Tuesday.

Reid was 68. He was admitted Friday to the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital in Masset with a lung infection and heart failure.

According to a statement by his wife, the poet Susan Musgrave, an air ambulance was called late Monday night but darkness and bad weather delayed its arrival until Tuesday morning. By that time, she said Reid was in a third-stage heart block.

“Despite the best attempts by Masset medical staff and Vancouver paramedics to save him, he is gone,” Musgrave said.

“The day he was admitted to the hospital, seven killer whales came in to the inlet,” she said. “The Haida First Nations belief is that when a killer whale is seen in the inlet it means someone is going to die.”

“On Friday there were seven.”

Reid spent decades in Canadian and U.S. prisons for his role in the Stopwatch Gang — a trio of quick, precise bank robbers so-called by the FBI for a stopwatch that Reid used during heists. They are believed to have taken part in over 100 bank robberies in the 1970s and 1980s, including the theft of over $700,000 in gold bars from the Ottawa airport in 1974.

Reid began writing while serving a 20-year prison sentence. He sent the manuscript for Jackrabbit Parole, a semi-autobiographical novel, to Musgrave while behind bars.

“She read the manuscript, fell in love with the protagonist and married the author on October 12, 1986, while he was still in prison,” Musgrave wrote on her website.

In 2013, Reid won the City of Victoria’s Butler Book Prize for A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden, a collection of essays about growing old in prison.

Reid also taught creative writing, counselled other prisoners on drug abuse, and served on boards for the John Howard Society, the Prison Arts Foundation, PEN Canada, Spirit of the People, and the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons.

Reid is survived by his wife Susan Musgrave, his daughters Charlotte Musgrave and Sophie Reid Jenkins, and his granddaughters Beatrice and Lucca Musgrave.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Parksville club members medal at taekwondo nationals

Easthom wins national title, will represent Canada at world championships

Coldest Night of the Year walk scheduled for Feb. 23

Parksville Qualicum Beach residents are encouraged to bundle up and support those in need

Book exchange box destroyed by fire in Parksville Community Park

Second time in less than a year box has been vandalized

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

Trees rerouting and cancelling flights to Comox

Transport Canada steps in due to trees intruding into the obstacle safety margin at YQQ

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Most Read