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.
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!