Pictured —Gail Williams , Pat Lloyd and Kay Ford in our back yard at 81 Bell St. Hydro apartment building in the background was home to the Deschamps , Fergusons , and Tombs . Barn beyond that was the one set ablaze as a diversion for the CIBC bank robbery .
Please note this bank robbery was in 1983.. and the only bank robbery up until this time.
A Richmond-area man identified by a hold-up artist as “the wheelman” in a 1983 Carleton Place bank heist was acquitted of arson, robbery, and using a firearm while committing an offense. Steven Corrigan, age 38, was charged with robbing the Bank of Commerce at the Carleton Place Mews in August of 1983.
It was quite the mastermind plan, as they first set fire to a storage barn on the other end of town as a diversion to occupy police and the fire dept. Police said the fire that destroyed the Canadian Tire storage building kept police occupied as robbers pulled off the town’s first bank robbery. The main bridge on Bridge Street was also out of commission and under repair, so the only bridge in use was the one on MacArthur Island.
The gunmen robbed the Bank of Commerce at 4:30 pm while the town’s two on duty police officers were on the scene of the 4 pm fire. It then took Chief McIsaac 5 to 7 minutes to reach the bank which was 4 blocks from the police station.
Carleton Place’s Chief Cornell’s night stick- Courtesy- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
The bandits wearing polka dot handkerchiefs and sunglasses were armed with a shotgun and a handgun. There were 10 employees and about 10 customers in the bank and no one was injured. The bandits escaped in a Oldmosbile 98 and were last seen heading towards Lansdowne towards Highway 7. McIsaac noted that the bank robbery was a first for the town of 5,200 which had three banks. They had a few corner store robberies but never a bank.
Corrigan ended up being fingered by George Lindsay, a former member of a U.S. bank-robbing gang and self confessed thug and stool pigeon. David Bruce Bower of Kanata was also a partner in crime. Lindsay had admitted to two attempted murders, drug importing, 140 robberies and 58 bank holdups. He received 12 years in jail for the Carleton Place robbery. The three hour fire caused an estimated $60,000 of damage to the Canadian Tire barn.
Carleton Place Police Trivia
Who do these heavy (and I mean heavy) police boots belong too? They are part of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum Collection
No other than former Carleton Place Police Inspector Wayne Drummond
This story is dedicated to Jayne Henry who told me a little of the history so I could research it in the archives. Thanks Jayne! Photos from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Wendy LeBlanc– OK, everyone! I just have to weigh in on this story. If this bank robbery/fire hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be living in our house on Bell Street! Our home is on the exact footprint of the old barn that was burnt down.
When we bought the property, Frank saved all the stones from the foundation (all that was left of the place) and placed them in neat piles down by the river. After we moved into our house on July 5, 1988, he started to work at squaring up those stones with mason’s tools and created a gorgeous stone wall at the back of the house.
That was just the start – even though all the foundation stones were used up, for the next ten years he hauled rocks from every construction site in town and created beautiful walls and patios. I guess we’d be living somewhere else in town if it wasn’t for those robbers.