Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A reluctant leaper, cop fratricide, failed tunnel heist and a gas leak mystery - four Montreal stories from 1964

   Shirley Deschamps, 20, had been placed in the Foyer Sainte Claire d'Assise to stay with the Franciscans de Marie at 80 Laurier East in early April 1964.
   Young Shirley was suddenly hit by some sense of torment one Tuesday afternoon and decided to leap from her window. at the top of the third floor.
   Police were unable to break into her room and attempted to coax her back inside from neighbouring windows. Firemen raised a ladder and eventually one of them talked her down after about half an hour of meaningless dramatics.


    Adrien Breton and Arthur Breton, 35, both worked for city of Dorval for many years, Arthur as a carpenter foreman and Adrien as a police officer.
   The duo were not just brothers and colleagues, but they were also hunting and fishing buddies.
    One day Adrien was called to rush to Lachine to help some workers overcome with gas fumes, as two dozen workers at Smith and Nephew had succumbed to the effects of a leaky pipe.
   Adrien was speeding along in his cop cruiser, which doubled as an ambulance but another vehicle failed to see his car, perhaps due to high hedges growing at the intersection of St. Louis and Surrey. Arthur Breton might have failed to hear the siren due to a low-flying plane overhead.
   The two vehicles collided and Arthur Breton was killed instantly and his vehicle exploded.
  Officer Adrien Breton exited his cop cruiser to the horrific realization that he had killed his own brother Arthur on Tuesday June 9, 1964.

Morrison the jeweler shows map

A trio of bank robbers attempted to access the safe at the National Bank of Canada at the corner of Ste. Catherine East and Dufresne in May 1964 but their aim was off.
   Raymond Beaupré  and his brother Jean Paul Beaupré along with Marcel Savard spent 10 days digging a narrow tunnel from a dilapidated apartment building (now demolished) from May 8. 
   Their aim was to dig a 70-foot tunnel under building that separated the two structures to get to the bank at the corner at 2395 St. Catherine E.
   That effort required digging underneath J.H. Morrison Jewelers, which turned out to be a problem for the thieves because Morrison had equipped his business with sophisticated alarms after being robbed three times of between $25,000 and $30,000. 
   Police descended on the group as they were deep in the tunnel. They tried to escape by digging upwards to freedom and only ended up making a hole in the jewelry store basement floor, well short of their intended target. 


   Two adults and a toddler lay dead for a week at 3776 Evelyn, a third-floor apartment in a sixplex in northeastern Verdun in April 1964.
   The trio, Michael McAffrey, 37, Sandra Evans, 4, and Mrs. James Arkinson (given name unknown), 41, were apparently killed by natural gas poisoning.
   Gas-heated water tanks came with a hose in those days that would let out poisonous gas if disconnected.
   A neighbour suspected that the deaths might have been a result of a murder-suicide, as that individual reported hearing the couple arguing intensely prior to their permanent radio silence.
   The bodies were not entirely fresh when found. 
   The Petit Journal newspaper told the story with the classy headline "I washed with bleach but it still smelled."


  1. Much like this blog, I have enjoyed your 375 Montreal tale book. Even though I have never been to Canada, I appreciate your writing style especially with the crime material. Keep up the good work.

  2. i look up Coolopolis everyday and love it!
    You've added on so much more; seems like every couple of days you've got another one to read which is great!
    I let others, especially former Montrealers, know about your very interesting site.
    Thanks again!


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