The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

April 6th, 2011

The Springhill Record, Jan. 20, 1949 – Halifax Robber Captured in Springhill

     John Francis MacDonald alias Roy Moore Cameron, 26, of Halifax and Glace Bay, who shared in the armed robbery of an I.P.C. store in Halifax Friday evening was captured in Springhill Monday evening in a smooth bit of police work by Deputy Chief Leo MacDonald and Constable William Taylor, R.C.M.P.  MacDonald submitted to arrest without a struggle, although Constable Taylor, unknown to the robber kept him covered with a revolver while Deputy Chief MacDonald slapped on the cuffs.

     John Francis MacDonald in company with Harold Bordon is said to have been involved in the armed hold up of an I.P.C. store in Halifax Friday evening.

  The amount stolen was at first reported to be $1004.00 but a revised figure gives the amount as approximately $1074.00.  Each man was said to have $500 on him when they made their escape from Halifax.  Bordon, however, was picked up in Truro on Saturday with almost $500 in his pocket.  MacDonald came to Springhill Saturday as he shopped with a local girl for whom he made a number of purchases.  They were accompanied by her brother.  Incidentally MacDonald was out on bail in Halifax having been charged with breaking and entering and theft.  He was to appear January 26th on this charge.

     The spectacular robbery in Halifax attracted the attention of the local police, but no circular containing the description of the wanted men reached the local police office until after the arrest of MacDonald.

     The tip off to the local police came from local sources from parties who recognized MacDonald, a visitor in Springhill about six years ago.  MacDonald had arrived in town Saturday and was staying with some colored friends.  This attracted attention, Monday the police were informed and early that evening Deputy Chief Leo MacDonald and Constable William Taylor scouted the area where the suspect was said to be.  Securing a description of the man, they phoned Inspector Barker, Chief of the Halifax Detective Bureau for confirmation.  Assured they were on the right track they learned that MacDonald and his friend had gone to the picture show in a taxi.  MacDonald and his friend stayed only a short time and left the theatre.  The police were tipped that the pair had gone up the street.  The police car moved up the Junction Road and apparently passed the wanted man as they turned the car down the hill again he was walking across the road right in front of them.

     The police car pulled to the south side of the street and into the curb.  Officer MacDonald scolded some children who were sliding on the sidewalk and as the wanted man came to him he made the seizure.  Meanwhile Constable Taylor had stopped his car, taken out the keys and as he saw the bandit put his hand in his pocket, he drew his revolver.

     The police had been warned that the bandit was armed but MacDonald withdrew his hand from his pocket and the tense moment passed.

     Interviewed afterwards, Const. Taylor told the Record he had his man covered and would have shot without hesitation as the bandit has a bad record.  He submitted quietly to arrest.

     Taken to the police station the wanted man swore to the police he was Roy Moore Cameron and not the wanted MacDonald, although his local companion told the police that the man was John Francis MacDonald.  That was about 7:30 p.m.

     Searched by the police MacDonald was found to be without firearms.  Questioning him police found he had been released last August from a Quebec Penitentiary where he had served five years.  He had spent all but $100 of the money stolen at Halifax.

     Detective Baker was notified of the arrest and with Detective Cleary left Halifax immediately for Springhill.  They picked up their man about 2 a.m. and returned to Halifax.

Later the police learned that MacDonald had engaged a taxi to meet the late night train going west.  Instead he found himself going east and south in a taxi to what may prove to be another long stretch in the Penitentiary.