This content is from a series created in partnership with Museum Services of the City of Toronto and Heritage Toronto. We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
"Take the Money and Run"
On 6 Mar 1952, Toronto Police Detectives Edmund Tong and Roy Perry pulled over a black Mercury at College and Lansdowne. As they approached the car, the driver rolled down the window and opened fire, killing Tong and severely wounding Perry. The men in the black Mercury were Steve Suchan and Lennie Jackson, two members of the Boyd Gang, Toronto's most notorious bank robbers.
For a period of about a year, the Boyd Gang dominated the headlines. Named after one of their members, Edwin Alonzo Boyd, most of the gang first met in the Don Jail in 1951, where they had been locked up for earlier bank heists. Following a daring escape that November, the gang embarked upon a series of bank robberies, including what was then the largest bank robbery in Canadian history.
After four months of robberies, the gang was rounded up and locked up again, but incredibly they managed a second escape from the Don Jail. This time, however, they were caught before they could commit more crimes, and the gang came to an end when Jackson and Suchan were hanged at the Don Jail for Tong's murder.
Boyd had not been involved in the murder but was sentenced to life imprisonment for robbery and escaping prison. He was eventually paroled and returned to private life under a new identity.