International Pursuit of a Felon

Written by Harold McNeill on March 16th, 2011. Posted in Police Notebook


oak bay star photo

  Photo  (Oak Bay Star):  Detective Sergeant Al Campbell (left) and FBI Agent, Bob Hanis from South Bend, Indiana.
January 15, 2012:For a recent similar case in Canada involving an estimated one billion in marihuana, read the National Post article: A Great Movie Script

A Soft Landing in Canada

Do not get on the FBI Most Wanted list, then have your mugshot broadcast around the world on television as that could be the beginning of the end. Such was the case of one young man who dared try to hide behind the Tweed Curtain in Oak Bay. For Constable Al Campbell it was an exciting time as he chased one of the FBI’s Most Wanted through the streets of Oak Bay. The story began many months before in Indiana…

Unsolved Mysteries – Joins the Chase

In 1987 Robert Stack began hosting a new TV Series, Unsolved Mysteries, that soon became a perennial favourite. In addition to two or three feature articles each week, the hour long Robert Stackproduction profiled persons on the “FBI Most Wanted” list.  On January 9, 1991, the program included two international drug traffickers – Thomas Paul Hickey and William James McCarthy, both men then in their early thirties.

Photo: Robert Stack, who was a periodic regular host of the show through the 1980s and 90s, was better known as the hansome, no-nonsense Elliot Ness in the TV and movie series the ‘The Untouchables’.

In late 1986 Indiana State Police indicted Hickey McCartney on 43 counts including drug trafficking, participating in a continuing criminal enterprise, possession and conspiracy to distribute marihuana, obstruction of justice, interstate transportation in aid of racketeering and, for good measure, a charge that was the undoing of many mobsters in the ‘Untouchables’, income tax evasion.

The broad ranging criminal enterprise built by Hickey and McCarthy from early 1979 through 1986 was spurred on by a high demand for marihuana that had developed during the ’60’s and ’70’s “hippie years” on College and University campuses across North America. In the 1980s the taste for that exotic weed spread to the business and professional community as College and University students graduated but did not leave behind all the perquisites of campus life. While Mary Jane was bulky to transport and distribute, Hickey and McCarthy overcame the challenge by contracting a fleet of semi-trailers to move the parcels to dozens of cities across United States.

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To Catch a Thief

Written by Harold McNeill on January 21st, 2011. Posted in Police Notebook


Find out how an old friend managed to nail the thieves who were stealing gas from the company fuel storage tank.

Stealing Gas From Tank

The following incident happened in the early 2000’s and was written in 2005 and posted in 2011 when the blog was first opened.  The man who was the centre of the story and about 75 years old at the time, Jack Start, worked hard all his life. Short in the stature, but stocky in build, his deep, gravely voice commanded attention.

For over 50 years, he earned a good living blasting and building roads to mines and logging facilities over the length and breadth of Vancouver Island. He was honest as the day is long and would give his last dollar to someone in need but, steal or try to steal something from him and he would get his back up in a hurry.  The story took place at his somewhat remote 30-acre piece of property on the Malahat Drive just north of Victoria, B.C. (February 10, 2018 (Post Count 2632))

To Catch a Thief 

At 4:00 am it was overcast and pitch-black at the home of Jack and Ruth Start when the driveway alarm Jack had linked to their doorbell shook him from his slumber.  He jumped from the bed and slipped on his boots while telling Ruth to just stay put, that he would be back shortly. Jack grabbed his shotgun and while still in his pyjamas opened the door knowing no one would be standing there.

Jack was almost certain tonight was the night he would catch himself a thief. He wasn’t angry, hell, he wasn’t even nervous as he walked to his truck and climbed in, he was just a man on a mission. Even though he was approaching his seventies, he was no longer willing to let those thieving bastards continue to drive Start Homeaway with his gas. If the RCMP could not catch them, come hell or high water, Jack would do the job for them. He started the engine, jammed the truck in gear and hit out along the winding driveway towards his shop area. (2016 – 585)

The Start home (photo left) was situated on an isolated acreage overlooking Brentwood Bay, a half kilometre below the Malahat Drive section of the Trans Canada about three kilometres northwest of Goldstream Park. Nestled in a grove of tall evergreens and surrounded by manicured lawns, the home was perched on the edge of a cliff that dropped 150 meters to the dark, cold waters of Brentwood  Bay.

Photo (personal files):  Looking down the winding driveway towards the Start home.  The fuel storage area and workshop was located in a secluded area about 100 meters further up the slope.

When looking out their living room window at night, the glow of light filtering into the clouds and mist above Greater Victoria, some 20 kilometres to the south, added to the sense peacefulness with the silence only interrupted by the occasional sounds of traffic moving along the Malahat.

In the 1960’s Jack and Ruth selected this 30-acre property to build their dream home as much for the spectacular view as for the abundant wildlife that Jack and Ruth nurtured with loving care. On any given day when travelling down the long winding driveway, it was evident the deer and all manner of other animals and birds loved this location as Jack made twice-weekly trips to Victoria to pick discarded vegetables and fruit at Thrifty Foods in Broadmead. However, life on the property was not always as peaceful as Jack and Ruth had hoped. Over the years and particularly in the last several months, thieves had been making regular night time visits to Jack’s workshop and fuel area.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold

  • Terrance

    January 5, 2019 |

    A VERY COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS. ALL POLITICIANS SHOULD READ THIS.

  • Harold McNeill

    December 23, 2018 |

    Thanks Sis. I will be uploading as Hi-Def so the photos can be viewed full screen. Brother