Monday, January 9, 2012

Edwin Alonzo Boyd

Edwin Alonzo Boyd and his gang burst onto the front pages of Toronto newspapers in the early 1950s due to a series of well executed bank robberies and two breakouts from Toronto's infamous Don Jail.
Boyd robbed his first bank in September of 1949. He plastered his face with makeup and stuffed his cheeks with cotton to disguise his appearance. He escaped with the loot even though the bank manager emptied his revolver at the fleeing robber. Boyd decided to see just how well his disguise had worked, so a day or two later, bold as brass, he walked into the same bank and changed a twenty dollar bill with the teller he'd robbed. He wasn't recognized, so he decided to become a full time bank robber.
Between September 1949 and October 1951, Boyd pulled at least six bank heists.

While imprisioned at Don Jail in Toronto, Boyd met Lennie Jackson who had lost a foot in a railway accident and had a wooden foot in which he had stored several hacksaw blades. On November 4, 1951, Boyd and the Jacksons hacksawed the bars and went over the wall and escaped.

Eddie Boyd was tracked down and caught in bed beside an attaché case full of money, and five loaded pistols. Eddie was put in a jail cell with his two buddies. They became friendly with one of the older guards. As the pretence of a joke, one of the gang members grabbed the guard's key ring and gripped it tightly while joking with the guard. When he let go of the key, an impression was left in his hand and in short order they fashioned a key for the cell door and slipped out briefly.
When the guards were not around they hack-sawed a window in preparation for escape. To be able to fit out the small opening, they all went on a diet. On Sept 8, 1952 they escaped the Don for a second time. The biggest manhunt in Canadian history ensued, with a large reward for information leading to their capture.
Boyd was eventually captured without incident and was sent to Kingston penitentiary where he was paroled in 1962 after serving 10 years.

Edwin Alonzo Boyd died on May 17, 2002 at age 88.