We’re back!

September 29, 2015

Hello Everyone!

The first printing of my father’s autobiography, This Bank Robber’s Life: The Life and Fast Times of Patrick “Paddy” Mitchell sold out fast. People keep asking for it, and demand is growing as a result of buzz about the making of a major motion picture about Paddy and the Stopwatch Gang. For these reasons, it gives me great pleasure to announce a second printing of the book, as well as the  first release of an e-book version of it.

Join Paddy on his journey from a regular blue collar family man, as he rises through the ranks of America’s Most Wanted fugitives. From a million dollar gold heist, to dozens of meticulously planned and hugely successful bank robberies, to several daring prison escapes, Paddy was the leader and mastermind of the notorious Stopwatch Gang.  They stole millions of dollars without ever firing a shot, and lived like rock stars. They even earned the grudging respect of journalists and law enforcement officers throughout North America.

Paddy always said, “There have been many stories told and written, but nobody’s got the story right yet.” This Bank Robber’s Life is Paddy’s version of this incredible story. It’ll have you laughing, crying and always on the edge of your seat.  Enjoy the ride!

Before Paddy passed away in 2007, he also penned a novel entitled The Great Plane Robbery
Was it truth or was it fiction? All Paddy would say was “It was in my sights.”

Both This Bank Robber’s Life and The Great Plane Robbery are available in paperback, as well as  e-books.

As an added bonus, the first 50 book orders coming from me will include a personal hand-written note from Paddy with his highly sought-after thumb-print.   While incarcerated in the notorious Leavenworth Penitentiary, Paddy wrote over 200 personal notes on stickers, with his thumb-print, that he wanted to add to each and every book that would be sold (just as a personal touch). I still have some of these personal notes which I will include in each book until I run out.  Definitely a collector’s item!

So, order the book(s) today, and enjoy the incredible tales of a road less travelled – you won’t be disappointed!

Kevin Mitchell


The Puzzle Master

June 10, 2007


 (Jeffrey Bell was a good friend of Paddy’s and a fellow writer at the Butner Medical Centre.)

We still – Paddy’s friends – share stories and anecdotes about him. The other day, I was walking the track with Mike, a buddy of Paddy’s from his days in Leavenworth. Back in the day, Mike was a bank robber in San Diego, where Paddy’s Stop Watch Gang operated for awhile.

Mike’s an easy going guy, very mild-mannered; much like Paddy. One would never take him for a bank robber. Though, like Paddy, Mike has told me that you had to be very threatening and downright mean while robbing a bank, just to ensure things progressed as you planned. You had to be in total control.

Paddy had told me of Mike’s exploits; he robbed thirteen banks before being nabbed. On several of his bank jobs, mike wore shorts, and the newspaper accounts of the robberies included bank employees’ and customers’ descriptions of his ‘skinny, white legs’. Well, the description stuck and Mike became known as ‘Bird Legs’, which prompted, upon his capture, a newspaper headline along the lines of ‘Bird Legs Caged’.

When the two met up in Leavenworth several years later, they became instant friends. Both were avid word puzzlers, and thus began a friendly rivalry. They would listen to NPR on Sunday mornings and compete to see who could solve Will Shortz’s (the New York Times crossword puzzle editor) weekly puzzle challenge first. This went on for years – each week the one to solve the puzzle first could claim to be ‘Puzzle Master’ for the week, while the loser was relegated to ‘Puzzle Student’ status.

The two were eventually reunited here at the Medical Center last year and the competition began again. As Paddy went through his chemo treatments, he lost some of his concentration and puzzle solving abilities, though he was still very sharp playing Jeopardy with me in the evenings. Mike was soon winning the ‘Puzzle Master’ title each week.

One Sunday afternoon, when I went up to see Paddy, he asked me to look at the puzzle to see if I could solve it. After much thought, I was able to come up with the solution – Paddy smiled. “Now if you see Mike, don’t tell him you got this,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes. “I’ll tell him someday.”

Paddy was ‘Puzzle Master’ that week, and for the next few weeks, I’d help Paddy with the puzzle and he was once more challenging Mike each week for the title.

As Mike and I walked the track the other day, the subject of puzzles came up, and I reminded him about how I helped Paddy solve those weekly puzzle challenges. That’s the first Mike had heard about my assistance, and he got a good laugh out of the story, we both did. Then we walked in silence for awhile, each of us thinking of Paddy. “He was a good guy,” Mike said. “Yeah,” I agreed, “he was.”


UPDATE! On the Run: The Ballad of Paddy Mitchell

May 14, 2007

You can now listen to ON THE RUN: THE BALLAD OF PADDY MITCHELL on David Britten’s website. The CD is comprised of 14 songs, and David has made Paddy’s song available online to everybody. (Thank you David!)


Pink Flamingos

May 1, 2007

By Jeffrey S. Bell

(Note: Jeffrey Bell was a good friend of Paddy’s  and a fellow writer at Butner Medical Center. Paddy particularly liked this story.)

Stephen Ryder was trekking through time.   His mode of transmigration wasn’t a DeLorean or an H.G. Wells style time sled, but a red Porsche convertible.  And his time portal happened to be the Pennsylvania Turnpike.   As he sped west through the humid summer night – the top down, Dark Side of the Moon cranked up over the rushing air – he traveled back into his life.

Stephen’s time trek began when his sister called to tell him of his father’s death.   Though his father hadn’t been ill, the call wasn’t a surprise, he had lived far longer – being a heavy smoker and drinker – than any of them ever expected. 



Announcement: A song for Paddy

April 29, 2007

David Britten’s CD Cover The Ballad of Paddy Mitchell (tray)The Ballad of Paddy Mitchell (label)

We would like to bring your attention to an absolutely beautiful song entitled “On the Run,” which has just been released and is dedicated to Patrick Mitchell. The song was written by Ottawa musician David Britten.

The CD, which also includes 13 other songs,  is being sold for $15.00 U.S. or $15.00 Cdn.   (Postage and mailing included in the price).

To order, please contact:   info@davidbritten.com or fthillsmusic@yahoo.com

ALSO: David Britten and Jimmy Allen will be on the Gary Michaels show on Monday, April 30 between 12 noon and 1:00 p.m. on CHIN-FM 97.9. You can also tune in at www.chinradio.com. They will be introducing the Paddy Mitchell song “ON THE RUN.”

You don’t want to miss this!!


Final Days

March 15, 2007

by Jeffrey S. Bell

“Not to worry Jeff, your team can still come back and win. It’s not over.” Though Paddy was very sick, his eyes still had that mischievious twinkle, and he still was the eternal optimist – always finding the positive in the situations and people around him.

It was January 8. He had invited me up to watch Ohio State, my alma mater, play Florida in the college football championship game. The Buckeyes were getting stomped badly. Paddy had been back up on the fifth floor for about a week now which meant he once again had a private room with a television. Since I was his palliative care volunteer, I had gotten special permission to stay up in his room past the normal 8:30 recall time.

In the past week, we had readjusted our evening routine. On the fourth floor, we had settled into a pleasant nightly ritual. After dinner each night, I’d head up to visit Paddy. He’d be waiting in the wide hall of his quad, sitting there with an empty chair for me and a table covered with newspapers, coffee, food and his writing tablet. We’d make some coffee, and usually Paddy would have a snack for us; burritos being his favorite. There was food always, Paddy was a gracious host. “God Paddy, you’re worse than my mom! Eat, eat, eat!”

We were sitting in the hall because Paddy’s roomie didn’t like to have visitors in their room. Paddy, being more tolerant than I would have been, came up with the solution of us meeting in the hall.

So there we’d sit, eating and talking while other inmates and staff walked by. It must’ve been similar to when Paddy held court at the Belle Claire Hotel in Ottawa, though he had a much bigger table then and more people around him. But still, the guys walking by would stop and say hi, Paddy would ask how they were doing. Sometimes someone needed a scoop of coffee or perhaps a soup – he’d always help them out.

Eventually, we’d get around to talking about writing. “So, did you write today?” he’d ask. Paddy loved to write; he wrote like he spoke, very directly and from the heart. I’d let him read what I’d written and he’d comment and offer suggestions. But, mostly he’d encourage me – he really got me into the habit of writing regularly, and to pursue getting something published.

I’d stay for an hour usually cause I had another patient to visit. But, that hour was my most enjoyable hour of the day, as it was for Paddy.

Now he was back on the fifth floor. They had moved him when his health took a turn for the worse. Paddy had breezed through two rounds of chemo with no adverse affects. In fact, on the days he had a treatment, he’d walk a few laps around the track in the evening. During a recent checkup though, it was determined that the cancer that had moved into this lymph nodes was still spreading – they wanted to try a stronger drug for a couple rounds.

The new chemo drug was difficult for Paddy. After the first treatment, he felt fine for a day, was up and around walking the stairs. But, the second day after his treatment, it hit him hard. He was in bed most of the day, experiencing quite a bit of pain and he had no energy. This lasted two days, then he improved and was ready for the next treatment. “I think it’s helping,” he said.

The next round hit him harder. He had more pain and had trouble with his memory. He began sleeping more, but couldn’t shake his fatigue. Finally, they moved him up to the fifth floor where he’d have 24 hour medical care.

Almy O’Neal, Paddy’s friend from Leavenworth, helped him move, packing up Paddy’s property and lugging it up to the fifth floor. We adjusted quickly. Now, we’d have our coffee and watch the world news, then Jeopardy. Paddy was a whiz at Jeopardy. While my expertise centered around sports, music and TV, Paddy’s knowledge extended to a broad array of categories. And, though sick, he was amazingly quick on the buzzer.

Well, the Buckeyes lost the game that Monday night. Paddy fell asleep before I had to leave at 11:00. I quietly turned off the TV and shut the door.

He still didn’t feel well and was experiencing more problems with his memory and putting thoughts together. I truly think that by this time Paddy knew he would die soon. A few days earlier, as we were talking, he suddenly said, “I’m dying Jeff. It feels different this time. I’m not gonna beat it this time.” We talked about his dying – he was spiritually ready, had accepted the inevitable months before. And after Paddy died, Almy told me that as they loaded up his stuff to move upstairs, Paddy had said, “I’m only gonna be up there a couple of weeks before I die.”

I visited Paddy both Tuesday and Thursday evenings. He was too weak to get out of bed. I made him coffee and we talked and watched Jeopardy of course. He was still a bit confused mentally, but talked about getting well enough to try another round of chemo, though I think he knew it wouldn’t happen.

Friday evening when I went up, Paddy was much weaker and in more pain. He asked for some coffee, but didn’t drink any. We just talked. He had received a letter from his friend Jimmy Allen, so I read that to him. He always enjoyed hearing from Jimmy. Then Almy and another friend, Ron Fishman, stopped in to see how he was doing. Paddy tried to tell us about his ordeal that day when they had attempted to put a ‘pic line’ in for further chemo treatments. The procedure took most of the day because the vein kept collapsing. Paddy had difficulty relating the story though, often having to start over because he’d forget what he was saying.

At 8:30, I had to leave for recall. I asked him if he needed anything before I left. He wanted to sit and eat a banana, so I helped him get up. “I’ll be up in the morning to see you Paddy,” I said. He smiled and said, “Okay Jeff, see you then.”

The next morning, Saturday, I was on my way to yoga class when my roomie, another Jeff, came running up behind me. Jeff works as an ICP, Inmate Companion Program. ICPs are similar to nurse’s aides, they do amazing work for 40 cents an hour. Jeff said that when he checked on Paddy, he found him on oxygen and a morphine pump. He asked the nurse about Paddy’s condition. “He’s dying,” had been her response.

Jeff and I both knew from our experience of working on the fifth floor that when patients go on oxygen and a morphine pump they are close to death. I went right up to Paddy’s room, and I stayed there until the next morning.

Paddy was unconscious, his breathing very irregular. “Hi Paddy. I’m here with you okay.” I know, though unconscious, patients can hear you at these times. He looked peaceful and wasn’t in any pain it appeared.

Throughout the day, the nurses would check on him regularly, take his vitals and make sure he was comfortable. Inmates here always talk bad about the staff, but my experience has been that for the most part, they do a remarkable job under the conditions.

As word spread through the facility that Paddy was dying, people started stopping in to see him. All day long, a succession of inmates, staff, nurses and doctors came around to see Paddy. He was so liked by everyone. At one point that evening, there were five of Paddy’s friends in the room sharing stories about him. There was lots of laughter and good memories. I know Paddy could hear us, and I know he was pleased that his friends were remembering him with laughter.

Almy spent as much time as he could with Paddy that evening. At one point, Almy prayed over Paddy, then leaned over to whisper in his ear, “Jesus loves you Paddy.” Paddy’s face twitched slightly – the only movement he made those last hours.

I sat with Paddy throughout the night. I’d talk to him often so he’d know I was still there with him. His breathing gradually diminished until he stopped breathing around 8:30 Sunday morning. He died very peacefully.

I asked Paddy once why, after robbing all of those banks and after all of these years, were people interested in his story and how he was doing. Paddy just looked at me with a perplexed look and shook his head, “I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

I think those of us who have in some way been touched by Paddy know the answer. Paddy was kind, generous, caring, funny and gracious. And he loved life – so completely. Paddy had that quality that few have – charisma.

His son Kevin, talking of his father’s death, called him complex. Paddy was complex, that’s so true. He was the epitome of complex! Yeah, he was kind, compassionate, generous, caring…and he was a world-class bank robber. You just accepted that duality if you were his friend; he made it very easy.

Maybe what I admired most about Paddy Mitchell was how comfortable he was in his skin. He was a bank robber through and through. He didn’t try to deny it, didn’t try to be anything else. So often, we’d be talking about some subject – politics, psychology, medicine, etc. – and he’d make a statement, then quickly add, “But, what do I know. I’m just a bank robber.” Yeah, Paddy, just a bank robber. One of the best, and so much more.

The night of his death, as I sat down to write in my journal about the day’s events, it struck me: Paddy had done it again. He had escaped from the clutches of the law. While they dilly dallied around, trying to decide whether or not to transfer him back to Canada, Paddy quietly escaped over the fences once again.

He was finally free. Good-bye Paddy. God Bless.


Noble Vigilance

March 8, 2007

 by Jeffrey S. Bell

If we remain present in our experience, we’ll discover teachings all around us. I’m an inmate volunteer in the hospice program at a federal medical center. Our mission is to provide comfort and aid to the terminally ill patients incarcerated here.

My most recent patient, Paddy, suffered from lung and brain cancer. Paddy was a very gracious man who though terminally ill, maintained a remarkably high quality of life.

One evening as we sat drinking our coffee and chatting – our ritual every evening – Paddy told me of a letter he had received from a friend whom was struggling with finding enjoyment in life as his health diminished. Paddy and I talked about growing old, becoming ill and dying.

“You know,” Paddy said, his eyes clear and alive though his body was ravaged by cancer, “There’s so much I still enjoy in life everyday: taking a walk on a bright, clear day; reading a good book; going to mass; sitting here talking to you and having a cup of coffee; taking a bite out of a crisp, juicy apple. There’s just so much.”

Paddy died very peacefully a couple weeks later. I hold that image of him biting into a crisp, juicy apple – fully present in the moment – fondly in my thoughts. Here was a man destined to die in prison, far from loved ones, finding bits of bliss all around. If only we could be so present in our lives.

Thank you so much Paddy for teaching me how to be nobly vigilant in life and in death.


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