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Bank robber Stephen Reid reflects on life of crime and punishment Stephen Reid tears a Nicorette gum in half and pops it in his mouth as he stirs a small cup of espresso in the interview location of his choice, a downtown coffee shop called Habit.
The mop of hair and moustache are the same, but he's a little heavier and, he hopes, a whole lot wiser than he was June 9, 1999. That was the day he went on a drug fuelled tear around Victoria, robbing a Cook Street bank at gunpoint, firing a gun at pursuing police and barging into the home of an elderly James Bay couple, taking refuge in their hideabed. On the table in front of him lay his reading glasses, iPhone and copy of his latest book, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden, which earned him the Victoria Book Prize. The $5,000 prize money is going toward his 25 year old daughter Sophie's drug treatment and Reid readily admits his past behaviour likely contributed to her troubles. Now 63, Reid is discovering how much he and Victoria have changed during the 15 years he has been incarcerated for the bank robbery and attempted murder of a Victoria police officer. He says he isn't keen on the media attention that pandora jewelry rings seems to accompany notoriety, preferring to quietly live out six months or more of day parole at a downtown halfway house. But Reid understands that his actions that day terrified the people in his path and shook those who thought Victoria was safe. "A woman was going to paint a house and this bullet travelled through her van and hit her paint can," Reid says. "I was hanging out the window [of the getaway car] in those little narrow streets. I had the gun and I looked at her. There was something about her face she was right there." He remembers more "glimpses of fear we put in people" as the ill fated robbery and chase progressed. This heist was a far cry from the 100 or so precisely planned robberies Reid had taken part in as a member of the Stopwatch Gang, which netted $15 million during the 1970s. Those were heady days for Reid and partners Patrick Mitchell and Lionel Wright: "I lived like a rock star we had millions of dollars, airplanes and Mercedes Benzes," he says. "I thought it was a great life. We were on the run, went all over the world. I loved it." But even then, Reid had some idea of the fear they caused. One time toward the end of the their crime spree, Reid heard a noise behind a bank desk and saw a terrified woman huddled with a baby. and Canada. He was released on full parole in 1987. He now meditates and follows Buddhist practices. He understands that some people are interested in him and many wish he'd drop out of sight where can i buy pandora charms forever. "I've grown up a lot. I've been in prison for 15 years so I'm not looking for anyone's forgiveness. My contrition isn't in saying I'm sorry, it's in doing I'm sorry," Reid says. "I spent a lot of years thinking about the woman [with the paint can] and the other people I wholesale pandora bracelets terrorized that day, and my own family, who I deserted. My children were devastated. My birth family was very angry. "I caused damage, and I tore a hole in the fabric of this community." Victoria police officer Bill Trudeau pursued the getaway car on his pandora discount charms motorcycle, sliding his bike down as the bullets flew past. "Exchanging gunfire with someone who is trying to kill you is a cop's worst nightmare and some of those guys are still bearing the psychological scars of that terrible incident to this day," says John Ducker, who recently retired as deputy chief of Victoria police. "In those long hours during that afternoon manhunt in James Bay, Reid and his accomplice took an entire neighbourhood hostage. I thank God no one was killed." Reid pleaded guilty to armed robbery and unlawful confinement of an elderly couple in their James Bay apartment where he sought refuge after the chase, and was convicted of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, where he resumed his writing career. "If they want me to stop writing, that's not going to happen." Ducker says he hopes prison has helped Reid change his ways. "If he can control the demons of drugs and alcohol, he has a chance, but if he can't control them, he becomes an extremely dangerous man," Ducker says.
Reid started writing in 1985, when he was in his mid 30s and serving a 21 year prison sentence for bank robbery. He married his writing mentor, the poet Susan Musgrave in 1986, while he was in still in prison. His book, Jackrabbit Parole, was published that same year.
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