The Stopwatch Gang

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The Stopwatch Gang consisted of three naturalized Canadians who made a living robbing banks in the United States and Canada — an estimated 100 banks and $15 million CDN. Consisting of Paddy Mitchell, Lionel Wright and Stephen Reid. The gang's greatest heist took place at a Bank of America branch in San Diego in 1980, when the US$283,000 they stole set a California record. Stephen Reid later became a noted Canadian author after writing Jackrabbit Parole and being paroled. In 1999, Reid re-offended, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and released on day parole on January 28, 2008.

The gang was famous for the brilliant planning of their jobs. They were known for robbing banks in 90 seconds or less and getting away with no trace. The group got nicknamed 'The Stopwatch Gang' by the FBI because the gang leader was seen wearing a stopwatch around his neck while on the job. They carried out a large number of bank robberies in the 1980s along the California coast with large sums of money stolen. Most notably a $750,000 gold heist in 1974 from the Ottawa airport, and the biggest bank robbery in San Diego history of $283,000.


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