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Stephen Douglas Reid was born in Massey, Ontario on 12 March 1950, the second of nine children born to Douglas Reid and Sylvia Shiels. At the age of sixteen, Reid turned to criminal activities, and he was jailed in 1971 for his part in the theft of gold bars in Ottawa. Escaping from prison, Reid, along with Patrick Mitchell and Lionel Wright, formed The Stopwatch Gang, robbing over 100 banks in Canada and the United States from their home in Arizona in the late 1970s. The FBI apprehended Reid in 1980, and he served time in Marion Penitentiary in Illinois until his extradition to Canada.
In 1984, while incarcerated at Millhaven Institution in Ontario, he began to write. The manuscript of his first novel, Jackrabbit Parole, attracted the attention of Susan Musgrave, who agreed to edit the manuscript. The book was published in 1986, the same year that Reid and Musgrave were married. He was released on parole in 1987. They then lived with their daughters Charlotte Musgrave and Sophie Musgrave Reid on Vancouver Island, and Reid joined in the activities of the literary community in British Columbia. His works include short stories, poetry, plays, articles, many of which have been published by Canada's leading newspapers and magazines. Much of Reid's writing and other work has involved issues relating to prison.
In 1999, as a result of a relapse into addiction, Reid participated in one more bank robbery, for which he is now serving an 18-year sentence at William Head Institution in British Columbia. In January 2008 he was granted day parole. Late in 2010 he was back in prison for violating parole. Reid had been living at his home in Massett, BC when in June 2018, he was admitted to hospital and died five days later of pulmonary edema and a heart blockage.
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2015-06-02; 2019-03-28, revised.
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A. Wilson; B. Whittle