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Robber and novelist Roger Caron dead at 73

Roger Caron, the bank-robbing author from Cornwall, Ont., has died at 73.

Author and notorious bank robber Roger Caron has died at age 73.

Caron won a Governor General's Award for non-fiction in 1978 for his prison memoir Go Boy!, which detailed the 24 years he spent incarcerated, beginning with his first conviction well over a half-century ago.

Roger Caron, an award-winning writer and convict, is seen during a court appearance in 1992. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)
Caron, who received his first prison sentence as a teenager, seemed on the straight path following the success of his book. But the infamous figure — known for breaking out of prison more than a dozen times — would eventually run into trouble again.

In 1993, he was convicted of seven crimes after being arrested following a robbery at an Ottawa Zellers store. Later that year he also pleaded guilty to charges of hostage-taking and assault at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital.

And in 2004, Caron was sentenced to 20 months for illegally possessing a pistol. He had been arrested at Ottawa's Rideau Centre in October 2001 with a loaded .32-calibre pistol, a wig, a change of clothes, a knife, surgical gloves and duct tape in a gym bag.

Caron, who overcame illiteracy to become a published author, wrote three more books after Go Boy!:

  • Bingo!, an eyewitness account of the 1971 Kingston Penitentiary riot.
  • JoJo, a novel about a plot to kill the prime minister.
  • Dreamcaper, a novel about a U.S. fugitive's desire to commit the ultimate robbery.

Caron was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the early 1980s.

Cornwall Funeral Home confirmed they were handling the funeral arrangements for the writer, who spent the last years of his life at Sandfield Place Nursing Home in Cornwall.

He died in hospital Wednesday morning, one day before his 74th birthday.