February 25, 1940|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
September 19, 1967 (aged 27)|
Montreal-Nord, Quebec, Canada
Monica Proietti (February 25, 1940 – September 19, 1967) was a Montreal bank robber and folk hero better known as "Machine Gun Molly" (in French: Monica la Mitraille).
Monica came from a poor Montreal family, many of whom were involved in crime in some way; her grandmother served time in jail for receiving stolen goods, and reportedly ran a school for crime for the neighbourhood children. In 1956, at the age of 17, Monica married Anthony Smith, a Scottish gangster (he was 33). The couple had two children. Smith was deported from Canada in 1962. She then became romantically involved with Viateur Tessier, but he was jailed in 1966 for armed robbery.
When she was 19 four of her seven siblings perished in a fire in downtown Montreal. The area had been purchased by the City of Montreal for future demolition for the Jeanne Mance public housing projects.
The members of her crew included Gérald Lelièvre and his brother Robert, who made headlines in 1984 when he and three others were killed when a bomb was detonated in a downtown Montreal apartment building. The victims had been suspected in the murder of West End Gang kingpin Frank "Dunie" Ryan.
Monica and her accomplices held up more than 20 banks, stealing over an estimated $100,000. On September 19, 1967 Monica died after crashing into a bus and being shot twice by an undercover police officer following a high-speed chase through the north-end of the city. Reportedly, this was to have been her last bank robbery, intended to fund a new life in Florida.
- Georges-Hébert Germain. Souvenirs de Monica, 1997.
- Alan Hustak. "Machine Gun Molly: twenty-five years before Thelma and Louise, Montreal had its own real-life female gangster." Montreal Gazette, September 1, 1991.
- Betty Nygaard King. "Hell Hath No Fury: Famous Women in Crime." Borealis Press, Ottawa, 2001
- Mort Kunstler (2017-10-13). "Vintage Illustration Auction - October 13, 2017".