01-03-2014, 03:04 AM #1
Canada - Kenora, Ont, Male bank robber killed by own bomb, May'73
The identity of the Kenora Bomber remains a mystery 40 years after he walked into the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on Main Street at approximately 2:30 p.m. May 10, 1973. The events of the following 90 or so minutes are a matter of local legend.
Armed with a pistol, a rifle and dynamite strapped to his chest, he demanded a bag full of money and a pickup truck to make good his escape.
He didn’t get far. Following his hostage, a Kenora Police constable out the front door, the balaclava clad bank robber was struck by a police marksman’s bullet, the bomb detonated blowing the man to smithereens in front hundreds of spectators to the robbery in progress; being broadcast live by radio station reporters across the street.
Former Kenora resident and author Joe Ralko was one of the witnesses. He was a 19-year-old Lakewood High School senior and part time reporter for the long defunct The Calendar on his way from school to his home on First Street S. when he came upon the unfolding drama. Standing on the front steps of Pitt’s Clothing Store (now Donny B’s) Ralko had a proverbial front row seat.
“People were lined up four to five deep from one end of the block to the other,” Ralko recalled in an interview. “There was virtually no crowd control.”
Two police cars blocked intersection and Ralko watched as a hunting rifle was delivered to a police officer who took up a position, rolling down one of the cruiser’s window.
“ ‘This is not good, I thought,” Ralko recalled.
He credits his army militia training for hitting the pavement at the first crack of the rifle shot, immediately followed by an explosion.
Rattled but uninjured, he looked up.
“Smoke was covering downtown, there was a smell of burnt flesh and hair, money was floating in the air and people were crying and screaming,” Ralko related. “There was debris everywhere and windows were blown out.”
Constable Milliard, who led the masked bandit from the bank survived the blast, although he sustained hearing loss the duffle bag full of loot slung over his shoulder may have saved his life.
Ralko continues to research the mystery of the Kenora Bomber for his upcoming book entitled The Red Headed Stranger.
The colour of the man’s hair is one of the few things that is known about the Kenora Bomber, from forensic evidence recovered from the scene.
Hair colour and the man’s short, stocky build as he was photographed leaving the bank was enough to spark recollections by people who recalled seeing a ‘Red Headed Stranger’ in the days and weeks leading up the explosive event.
Ralko has interviewed about 50 people for his book. Waitresses at the restaurant next door to the bank recall the man would also sit at table with his back to the window rather than looking out the window at the street as most people who dine alone do.
He referred to press reports published in the Toronto Star following the incident which provided further details of the stranger’s activities in Kenora.
“The day he arrived in Kenora he registered at the Kenricia Hotel as Paul Higgins of 435 Glen Drive, Toronto, and the name P. Higgins was painted on his new yellow trunk from Eaton’s,” Ralko related.
However, there was no such address in Toronto and police checks of similar addresses failed to turn up anyone answering the man’s description.
In 2003, Kenora Police Service disqualified their main suspect; a man reported missing from his home in B.C. who abandoned his truck in the Winnipeg area. However, DNA samples from the man’s brother did not match those taken from the crime scene. The missing man was later found living in the south of France.
“To this day, it’s technically a cold case file,” Ralko concluded.~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Unhinged Busybody Extraordinaire
11-16-2014, 10:37 PM #2
11-17-2014, 09:16 AM #3Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
Ive never heard of this, reminds me of the case a while back.. was there a video of this?Love is a wild animal
It breathes you it looks for you
It nests upon broken hearts.
11-17-2014, 05:30 PM #4<This space for rent>
- Join Date
- Feb 2012
I wonder if they ever looked into the IRA for this. 1973 represented a dramatic shift in the IRA's structure. Of course, there are other organizations that could have been in need of such an influx of cash, but somehow, I doubt the Red Headed Stranger was a Black Panther.Unless I've provided a link, most of what I say is my own opinion. Sometimes, I'm thinking out loud and may explore avenues I don't necessarily think are true, but I'm always aware I could be wrong, so I check other stuff out.
11-18-2014, 10:11 AM #5
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