Local Man’s Dad Was Leader of The Stopwatch Gang



Order the book here

These days if you Google the name Paddy Mitchell you will be bombarded with photos of Paddy Mitchell, current young heart throb model, of Abercrombie  & Fitch.  However, the original Patrick (Paddy) Mitchell of Ottawa, was no fashion model, but the leader of a notorious bunch of bank robbers, The Stopwatch Gang .

Paddy died of cancer January 15, 2007 in a U.S. prison hospital at age 64. The news of Mitchell’s death at the Federal Medical Centre in Butner, N.C., while serving a 65-year sentence, was posted on his original blog by his son Kevin Mitchell.

“This brings the end to North America’s most famous, most successful and, especially, most likeable bank robber of our time,” Kevin Mitchell wrote. Who is Kevin Mitchell?


Photo of Kevin at paddymitchell site

Kevin Mitchell is very well known in the Lanark area, and if you have never met him you are missing out.  Kevin doesn’t talk about his father much unless you ask him- but he has recently republished the book his dad wrote, This Bank Robber’s Life.


Photo of Kevin at paddymitchell site

Paddy Mitchell grew up on Ottawa’s Preston Street where everything was happening in those days.  Who knew that those innocent young times would give him the knowledge to become leader of the Stopwatch Gang.  That gang was not like any other, and it earned Paddy a place on the FBI’s most-wanted list . Joined by fellow Canadians: Stephen Reid and Lionel Wright, they stole about $15 million, mainly in the 1970s and 1980s, from more than 140 banks and other sites across Canada and the United States.


They were famous for their speedy heists— including the 1974 robbery of $700,000 in gold bars from the Ottawa airport— and from there took their name from the stopwatch worn by Reid. The three were also know for their gentleman behaviour during their robberies long before Thelma and Louise hit the screens. Well, they were Canadians!



Mitchell ended up serving time in a number of prisons in Canada and the United States for crimes. For the airport gold robbery caper Mitchell pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property, but the gold was never recovered. Like the mystery of Oak Island people still ask to this day if it is buried somewhere.

Paddy escaped from prison three times, and moved to the Philippines for a period of 15 years, where he re-married and had a son who shared his first name. Not content to just retire, he often flew back to the U.S. to “visit” banks.


Finally, in 1994, he was convicted for a solo robbery in Mississippi and put in prison for the last time to serve a 65-year sentence. In the end it wasn’t a stray bullet that killed him, but cancer when Mitchell was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006.  His condition was so serious all he wanted was to be transferred to Kingston Penitentiary to be near one of his sons, Kevin, and his two grandchildren, who lived in the Carleton Place area. He tried everything to get transferred to a Canadian prison before his death, but ended up dying at 64  January 15, 2007 in a U.S. prison hospital. Paddy Mitchell has attained a place as a bandit outlaw in folklore that few do.



Mitchell is survived by his son Kevin from Carleton Place, his son in the Philippines, and two grandsons: Joey and Jacob.

Paddy always said, “There have been many stories told and written, but nobody’s got the story right yet.” This Bank Robber’s Life is Paddy’s version of this incredible story. It’ll have you laughing, crying and always on the edge of your seat. There is also another book called: Paddy’s novel, The Great Plane Robbery.

Order his books here

As an added bonus, the first 50 book orders coming from me will include a personal hand-written note from Paddy with his highly sought-after thumb-print.   While incarcerated in the notorious Leavenworth Penitentiary, Paddy wrote over 200 personal notes on stickers, with his thumb-print, that he wanted to add to each and every book that would be sold (just as a personal touch). I still have some of these personal notes which I will include in each book until I run out.  Definitely a collector’s item!

So, order the book(s) today, and enjoy the incredible tales of a road less traveled – you won’t be disappointed!

Paddy Mitchell’s site

Kindle version available here

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.

10 responses »

  1. Read “The Stopwatch Gang” and thought it was great. Refers to the time well known local businessman Sid Bradley, walked right by Mitchell on a beach in Florida I believe. Mitchell was “on the lam” and America’s Most Wanted list at the time……thought he’d been discovered. Apparently Bradley didn’t recognize him, or chose not to.

    • Jeff– Kevin is a good friend of mine and I was honoured that he let me tell a bit of the story..What a lot of people do not know is our local man Tom Cavanagh helped the family as well…Its a great story.

  2. kevin , met your dad breifly years ago ,they were at my house to see my dad and friends one night. and was told to never tell anybody lol!!! id like to get the book.

  3. Hi Kev, been a while…I can tell you all that I have a copy of the book titled, A Bank Robbers Life. It is very interesting an yes i had a very hard time putting it down. I remember driving with the book in hand and at every red light I read a word or two. Buy the book you will not be sorry…..

  4. Enjoyed the book very much! Would recommend highly! I’m also from Ottawa, But moved away in the 70’s. Nothing further to add. O

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