(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

Fernie SAR rescues injured mountain biker

On Monday evening, Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was tasked by BC… Continue reading

Fernie man builds 10-foot sign thanking fire responders

Ken Rawson built his “thank u” sign on Saturday as helicopters responded to fires in the Elk Valley

SAR volunteers thanked after series of emergencies

Incidents ranged from the search for a missing hiker to delivering evacuation alerts in nearby towns

Update: guard built at Coal Creek Road fire near Fernie

Seventeen firefighters and one helicopter working to contain Coal Creek FSR fire, east of Fernie

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

PHOTOS: Prickly porcupine rescued after hitchhiking down Coquihalla Highway

BC Conservation Officer Service members were able to grab the porcupine and move it to safety

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Appeals court dismissed Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

Convicted murderer still missing after escaping B.C. prison 2 weeks ago

Mission RCMP are continuing to search for escaped inmate John Norman MacKenzie

Smoky skies trap B.C. man inside for days

Air quality warning issued for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley

Surf’s up in California, where it’s now the official sport

Grab a board, catch a wave and find yourself, ‘sittin’ on top of the world’

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is charged with 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death, other charges

REVIEW: MTV VMAs was a shocking event, for the wrong reasons

MTV Video Music Awards lacked star power and felt flat and some of the winners turned heads

4.6 quake detected off coast of Vancouver Island

The small earthquake happened early Tuesday morning

Most Read