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The 'Boyd Gang' becomes infamous

It's the early 1950s, and banks are popping up all over "Toronto the Good." So too is a daring group of villains (or heroes, depending on who you ask): the bank-robbing, jail-busting "Boyd Gang." Warring newspapers and budding television stations race to break any news of Toronto's most infamous gangsters, and capture the imagination of the public.

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Busting out of the Don Jail thrusts Boyd and his cohorts into the headlines, and Toronto Daily Star crime reporter Jocko Thomas labels them the "Boyd Gang." Lennie Jackson is actually the gang's leader, but Boyd has "matinee idol good looks" and a name that better fits the headlines. They hit several more banks and quiet, conservative Toronto is enthralled. But as this Life & Times clip shows, everything changes when a policeman is killed.
• After their escape the Boyd Gang hit four more banks in four months, making off with $75,000.
• Sergeant of Detectives Edmund Tong was working the Boyd case and had put Lennie Jackson in jail before Jackson met Boyd.
• The car Tong pulled over fit the description of a vehicle used in a recent bank heist. It is unlikely Tong suspected Suchan and Jackson were inside, or he would have drawn his revolver.

• Edmund Tong died in hospital three days after the shooting, but he identified Suchan as the shooter. The charges against Suchan and Jackson were upgraded to capital murder, a hanging offence. Tong was given a hero's funeral.

• Detective Sergeant Roy Perry was driving the police cruiser Tong rode in. Perry was shot in the arm.
Medium: Television
Program: Life & Times
Broadcast Date: Oct. 14, 1998
Guest(s): Edwin Boyd, Mike Filey, Jocko Thomas, Jack Webster
Narrator: Gordon Pinsent
Duration: 7:20

Last updated: May 14, 2012

Page consulted on October 16, 2014

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