The Ashton Carleton Place Car Theft Ring




In the fall of 1959 there was a massive car theft ring occurring all around the Ashton-Carleton Place area. A suspect, attended by two lawyers and members of the press, finally surrendered to the police in a center town Ottawa hotel in early 1960. Grant Bradley was charged immediately with being in possession of a stolen automobile motor and transmission.

In September of 1959 a three force raid on a barn near Carleton Place revealed a stockpile of equipment equal to that of any large commercial wrecking yard. This was in addition to the supply found in the Ashton raid. The ring, in less than a year of operation, processed at least 50 cars with a value of $150,000 or more. The Ashton-Carleton Place Car Theft case was the biggest in the Ottawa area’s history.

In the end Grant Bradley and Ross Manning were the only two suspects arrested with the connection car theft ring. At least two other men were still being sought by police who held warrants for their arrest. They had eluded capture, and were have said to been last seen in the North Bay area.

In the meantime, police still couldn’t agree on the whereabouts of all the evidence as 5 car frames were removed after a search warrant was issued. Police admitted they wouldn’t find everything after weeks of trying to match up motors, body panels and other parts found in workshops in Carleton Place and Ashton.



Were the locals happy the police were on the job trying the break the cycle of stolen stripped down cars? Instead of being grateful everyone was caught, one witness on the stand had a few complaints. Farmer George Purdy,  neighbour of the farm where the ring was alleged to have remodeled stolen cars gave the court a piece of his mind. Purdy complained police never shut the gates in the district leaving livestock free to wander around the country side. No report if someone in the court told Mr. Purdy:

“Don’t Have a Cow Man!”



About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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