Between 1974 and 1980, a group of three mask-wearing Canadian outlaws named Stephen Reid, Patrick (Paddy) Mitchell, and Lionel Wright, in well-planned, precisely timed and carefully executed heists, robbed at least 140 banks and armoured cars in Canada and the United States making off with a total of more than $15 million in cash, gold and other valuables.
On July 6, 2013, in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, an unattended 73-car freight train carrying crude oil rolled down a grade and derailed downtown, multiple tank cars exploded, resulting in a massive fire. More than 30 buildings in the town’s core were destroyed, and, sadly, forty-seven people lost their lives.
To curtail social ills like alcoholism, family violence, and other unsavoury behaviours, religious and puritanical proponents of the Temperance Movement demonized alcohol throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.
After numerous U.S. states had become ‘dry’ outlawing the production and sale of alcohol in the years prior, in 1919, the United States ratified the 18th amendment to their constitution, which banned the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within the country’s borders. As hoarded supplies quickly began to run dry over the next ten years, Americans looked outside their borders to keep the liquor flowing into the country.
Scores of Canadians stepped up, flouting the laws to move alcohol across the 49th parallel. Many were entrepreneurs with a daredevil spirit, a means of transportation and a desire to make a quick buck, but others were psychopathic, dangerous, mob-connected killers. We’ll talk about a couple of them here.
Episode 171 – Rosemary Podgis, 56, and her husband Alfred, 58, were found in a Pennsylvania Ravine. They had been fatally shot in their Loch Arbour, New Jersey home over the Fourth of July weekend in 1982. The apparent perpetrators arrested by police 5 days later were two 18-year-olds: Scott Robert Franz, Rosemary’s son from a previous marriage, and Scott’s Canadian friend Bruce Anthony Curtis, who had been Scott’s classmate at King’s Edgehill private school in Nova Scotia where the pair had just graduated.
The events leading up to the deaths of Rosemary and Alfred Podgis would be extremely important in establishing what led two teens, both with promising futures ahead of them, to kill Scott Franz’s mother and stepfather. Was it cold-blooded murder or, as Bruce would later claim, a tragic accident caused by a faulty firearm?
Episode 170 – In November of 1902, a rancher named Issac Belt from Haynes Creek near Red Deer, Alberta, had gone missing. Investigating officers had gone to Belt’s ranch to question a young man calling himself Bert Ellsworth, who was suspected of horse theft, who had been lending a hand there. That young man and Belt were both missing.
Police discovered the man claiming to be Ellsworth at a camp on the outskirts of Calgary. Some of Belt’s personal belongings were in Cashel’s possession, and Cashel was wearing Issac’s clothes. In reality, his name was Ernest Cashel, a 21-year-old American. He was on the run from U.S. and Canadian authorities for forgery and other crimes, including escaping from custody several times.
Cashel was arrested and charged with theft and later charged with Isaac Belt’s murder, convicted and sentenced to hang. Cashel escaped one last time, only days before he was to be executed, and was on the run for more than a month before being recaptured and sent to see his maker via the hangman.
Episode 169: On the evening of Christmas Day in 2017, upon gaining access to an Oak Bay, British Columbia apartment, police discovered a bloody crime scene. In the suite were the bodies of six-year-old Chloe Berry and her four-year-old sister, Aubrey Berry. They had been murdered in their beds. First responders also discovered Andrew Berry, Chloe and Aubrey’s father, naked, seriously injured and bleeding in the apartment’s bathtub. He had penetrating injuries to his left chest and throat. First responders took Andrew by ambulance to Victoria General Hospital for treatment. He’d eventually have a rather tall tale to tell about what had taken place that day.
Episode 168 – On the evening of July 28, 2010, Nadine Anne Taylor, a 29-year-old woman in Halifax, Nova Scotia, left the Convoy Avenue apartment in Fairview she shared with her boyfriend, Gene. Nadine, who did not have a telephone, told Gene she needed to make a call, left her home and walked a nearby payphone to make a call. She was never seen alive again.
Episode 167: On July 13, 1994, just after 2:00 am, police responded to a 911 call from Sebastian Burns, 18. Sebastian and his friend, Atif Rafay, also 18, claimed they had discovered ‘some kind of break in’ and multiple deaths at Atif’s family home in Bellevue, Washington. A bloody crime scene awaited the first responders. All three of the victims, Tariq and Sultana, Atif’s parents and his sister, Basma, had been bludgeoned to death. Right away, something felt off to the Bellevue Police, who focused their attention on the pair of young men who’d reported the crime. But did they get it right?
In the early morning hours of November 17, 2001, officers from the Vancouver Police were dispatched to the Second Beach area of Stanley Park. Several callers to 911 indicated that there had been some kind of altercation and a group of man had badly beaten another man.
Two VPD constables arrived at the Second Beach parking lot within minutes of being called to find a distraught man frantically providing CPR to a bloodied man on the ground. The man on the ground was naked except for socks and shoes. Police assessed the man’s condition and immediately called for an ambulance. The paramedics from the BC Ambulance Service arrived quickly, but determined that it was too late.
Aaron Zane Donald Webster, 42-year-old and a member of Vancouver’s gay community, was dead. He had been brutally beaten with a blunt instrument and his killers had skittered off into the night leaving Aaron to die. Aaron’s death would be come to be recognized as Canada’s most well-known and notorious cases of ‘gay bashing’.
Guest Host: Mathew Stockton (Steve the dog’s dad)
Episode 165: On the afternoon of July 24, 2015, RCMP were called by the residents of 192 Pleasant Grove Road, outside of Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island. They said that the night before there had been a fight between a man, Joel Lawrence Clow, 46, and a woman, Clow’s 40-year-old on an off again girlfriend and mother of one, Traci Lynn Lynch. Responding officers knew they would be investigating a domestic dispute, they’d dealt with Traci and Joel before. Things became more serious when cops discovered Traci, deceased on Clow’s property.