(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Proposed Sidney cannabis store wins favour with public, businesses

Of 348 received submissions, 311 favour cannabis store proposed for 2400-block of Beacon Avenue

Victoria police make arrest in Centennial Square stabbing

One man was left with non-life-threatening injuries Saturday morning

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

Saanich School District set to review its boundaries

Goal is to correct imbalances in school populations

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

SOOKE HISTORY: Alleged bootlegger has day in court

Blackberry wine confiscated at home

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sooke’s Sheringham Distillery wins gold award

Local business wins Product of Year at B.C. Food and Beverage Awards

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Most Read