Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

Robberies at Almonte Station, CPR., Chalk River sub. 1868, 1873, 1882 and 1962

24 February 1868
Almonte Gazette 28 February 1868

THEFT. - A thief visited the station house, in this village on Monday last, and helped himself to $29. The party in charge of the depot at the time, left the room for a few minutes on business, and on returning found the money gone. We would advise the thief to send the money back, privately, as he is known - and may yet be brought to grief.

15 November 1873
Daring Robbery
A most daring robbery was committed on Saturday evening last, about half past five o'clock, when the railway depot was broken into and the drawer containing small change, amounting to about $18, carried off. At that hour the agent, had gone to tea, all the doors of the building having been securely fasened and the lamps left burning. The hour, the place and the fact that the room was well lit up render this robbery the most daring and audacious yet perpetrated in Almonte. Search having been made, the drawer was found among the lumber piles near the station broken open and rifled of its contents, with the exception of some loose change in silver, which the thief, in his hurry had overlooked. We trust that the thief will be found out and sent to keep Monaghan company in the Provincial Penitentiary.

28 September 1882

Almonte Gazette 6 October 1882

Robbery At The Station -Safe Blown Open. -Sometime during the night of Thursday last, or early Friday morning, the station office of the Canada Pacific Railway in this town was entered by parties who went to work to abstract the contents of the safe by drilling a hole in the door and blowing it open with gunpowder. The noise of the explosion woke several of our townsmen, but no suspicion of the cause was created, and thus an opportunity was afforded the burglars to get away with their booty, which amounted to the neighborhood of three thousand dollars, Mr. Hegarty not being able to name the precise sum, as all the express memoranda was carried away with the drawer of the safe containing the money. The thieves were either belonging to the neighborhood or had well posted themselves, as an entrance was made the same night into the house in which Mr. Hegarty resides, evidently in search of the keys, and failing to find them, the blacksmith shop on Water street occupied by Mr. Buffam was broken open and the tools by which the hole was made in the safe door were procured, and left behind in the station office. The outer door of the station was opened by a key, the inner door was then smashed open, and the robbers got to work upon the door of the safe. Miss Hegarty did not leave the station until nearly two in the morning, having waited the arrival of the excursion train from Carleton Place, and the clock, which was stopped by the explosion, pointed to twenty minutes to five o’clock, thus giving its silent evidence as to the time of the occurrence. Considerable surprise was expressed on all hands that the Company took it so coolly, and did not at once send a detective to investigate. There were several strangers in town that morning, but they are all away now, and in all probability the last has been heard of the affair.

10 October 1962

Almonte Gazette 11 January 1962

Thug Slugs CPR Agent Here And Grabs Co. Money

The first armed robbery in the history of most Almonters occurred here Wednesday afternoon around 2.30 when an armed man forced 52 year old station agent, Lawrence M. Dixon, to turn over the cash in the till and the safe. The amount taken was $75.90. The figure would have been a great deal higher had the bandit struck earlier in the afternoon as the agent had made a bank deposit a short time before the incident.
According to Mr. Dixon a man described to be in his early 30’s appeared at the wicket in the station inquiring as to the time of the next train to Ottawa. The agent gave the man the information and then turned back to work at his typewriter with his back to the wicket and the door leading into the office.
The next thing he knew the door into the office opened and before he could turn to see who had entered a gun was stuck in his back. The lone gunman told Mr. Dixon not to turn around and then directed him to get the money out of the till and then the safe, all the time standing directly behind him.
After the money had been pocketed the assailant directed Mr. Dixon to show him where the basement was. It was in the basement that the bandit asked him for a piece of rope. At this moment Mr. Dixon turned around enough to catch a glimpse of the gunman before he was hit on the head with the gun and rendered unconscious.
When he came to a short time later he found his legs tied together with his own belt. He hobbled up the stairs and into his office where he called the freight agent, Mr. Dan O’Neill, who was in another building across the tracks from the station.
The police were notified immediately as was a doctor. In a very short time the OPP from Almonte and Perth had road blocks up around the town but at the time of going to press no arrests have

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Thug Slugs

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been made.
Mr. Dixon was taken to the Almonte General Hospital in Dr. J.K. King’s car, where he was treated for head wounds and then released. It took seven stitches to close the wound.
The station agent gave the investigating police a good description of the man and said he could identify him if he ever saw him or a photo of him.
OPP Constable William Freeth of the Almonte detachment is in charge of the investigation assisted by OPP Constable Roy Dawson of the Criminal Investigation Branch and John Cooper of the Identification Branch from Perth.

Ottawa Citizen 11 October 1962

Station agent at Almonte slugged, robbed by bandit

ALMONTE - A smiling bandit robbed the Canadian Pacific station agent here Wednesday afternoon, then slugged him with a gun and escaped.
The bold daylight attempt, in the centre of this valley town of 3,300 people, netted only $75. The day’s receipts of about $700 had just been banked.
The robber, about 30 and of slight build, is believed to have escaped on foot. Although several persons were within a stone’s throw of the station at the time, none saw him come or go.
"He was a cool customer and a quick thinker," said station agent Lawrence Dixon. "He was smiling whenever I looked at him."
Mr. Dixon, 52, and with a heart condition, suffered a two-inch gash on the back of his head. The bandit forced him into the cellar, stunned him and tied his legs with his belt before fleeing.
The agent had just returned from the bank at 2.30 p.m. and was typing a letter in his office. A smiling, thin-faced man, about five foot eight and 150 pounds, wearing a fawn jacket, came to the wicket. He asked when the next train left for Ottawa. The agent told him.
Gun in ribs
The man turned toward the door and Mr. Dixon turned back to his letter. The next thing he knew there was a gun in his ribs. The man had turned quickly and entered the inner office.
"I’m no judge of guns but it had a fairly long barrel and it seemed flat," the agent said. Police judged it was probably an automatic pistol.
"Look straight ahead," the bandit ordered. "Don’t look at me."
He forced Mr. Dixon to give him the money from the cash register and then told him to get the money from the safe. The agent brought him the cash and the man took the bills and some coin.
Although he manouevred so the agent was in front of him, anytime Mr. Dixon caught a glimpse of his face it still wore the smile.
Then the bandit told Mr. Dixon to go to the basement. The agent hesitated.
"Then I thought ’This is a real gun and I better get going’," he recalled later.
Asked for rope
They went downstairs and the gunman asked for rope.
"I told him there was no rope and as I said it I automatically turned to look at him. Just as I got to ‘no rope’ he hit me behind the right ear."
The gunman ripped off Mr. Dixon’s belt and bound his legs, tieing the knot at the back.
"Stay here for five minutes," he told the agent. Then he took the 10 basement stairs in about two bounds and disappeared.
Mr. Dixon listened a minute, tried unsuccessfully to untie himself, then hobbled up the stairs. He hailed Danny O’Neill, the assistant agent, just across the tracks and Mr. O’Neill called police.
Set up road blocks
Road blocks had been set up within 10 minutes of the robbery and police do not think the bandit could have escaped by car.
Besides Mr. O’Neill, a man sitting in a car was just across the street. Five persons from a section gang were not far aways. None saw the robber.
Mr. Dixon spent Wednesday evening going through police picture files but the bandit’s perpetual smile threw him off. Photographs in police files seldom show a smile.
"I wonder what that man would look like smiling?" he asked a police officer as he scanned pictures.
The investigating team included Const. William Freeth of Almonte and Provincial Police Constables John Cooper and Roy Dawson of Perth.

Ottawa Journal 11 October 1962

At Almonte
CPR Station Agent Clubbed, Robbed
ALMONTE (Special) - In the first armed robbery in Almonte in recent years, a lone gunman made off with $75.90 after holding up the CPR station agent Wednesday afternoon.
The armed man forced Lawrence Dixon, 52, to hand over the money in the till and safe and then took the agent into the basement. The bandit slugged Mr. Dixon on the head with the gun after Mr. Dixon had turned and caught a glimpse of his face.
The station agent was tied with a rope and his belt but managed to crawl up the stairs and call for help.
Mr. Dixon said the armed man was about 30, and had been in the station asking about trains going to Ottawa.
Ontario Provincial Police from Perth and Almonte had road blocks set up around the town minutes after the robbery but did not make any arrests.
Constable William Freeth of Almonte OPP is heading the investigation.

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Updated 3 February 2024