Shades of Billy Miner: Train allegedly robbed in Kamloops, B.C.

WATCH: It may be B.C.'s first train robbery in more than 115 years. Kamloops Mounties confirm they are helping CN Police after an armed man held up a train earlier this week.

Ready to brush up on some B.C. crime history?

First, though, some modern news.

On Monday morning, just before 7 a.m., a stopped train was reportedly robbed in the Southern Interior, near Kamloops, B.C.

That’s reportedly, because Kamloops RCMP say they were called in to assist CN Police.

“The robbery occurred at a railway crossing located at Tranquille and Ord roads in Kamloops,” the RCMP told Global News.

“An armed suspect fled the scene in a white car. He is described as a Caucasian male, 5-foot-8, and between 30 and 40 years old.”

Police added that the suspect was wearing a balaclava, a black hat with a Puma logo in white, a black hoodie and black jeans.

The RCMP press release didn’t have any information on what type of train was robbed; passenger or freight?

Global News then reached out to CN Police, which offered no new information, as they parroted the exact same information the RCMP issued.

Was it a robbery where someone was held up, or was it a snatch-and-grab theft, a crime of opportunity?

It also didn’t say how much, if anything, the purported thief got away with.

So, in this vacuum of no information, we have this: A stopped train was robbed in Kamloops by someone. If you have any information, you’re asked to contact CN Police.

We also have this: It’s possible that this is the first train robbery in B.C. since 1906. Possible, because it’s nearly impossible to track train robbery statistics.

Coincidentally, that 1906 robbery also happened near Kamloops.

The mastermind behind that train robbery was the famed American outlaw Billy Miner, also known as the Gentleman Bandit and the Grey Fox.

On a sidenote, a pub in Williams Lake was once known as the Billy Miner Saloon. And in Maple Ridge, there’s a pub called the Billy Miner Alehouse.

On the alehouse’s website, it says this:

“Billy Miner is often considered the last of the ‘old time outlaws,’ yet he became known as something of a Robin Hood figure around the turn of the century. Dubbed ‘The Gentleman Bandit,’ Miner made it a point never to rob the small folk, instead targeting large companies like the hugely unpopular Canadian Pacific Railway.

“Despite the audacity of his train heists, he always comported himself in a genteel and polite manner while avoiding unnecessary violence. In fact, upon his arrest in Kamloops, the townsfolk protested that such a man of character could ever be an infamous criminal.”

Plenty of words have been written about Miner, including three good links below.

The Canadian Encyclopedia says Miner was the first to rob the Canadian Pacific Railway and was also credited with being the outlaw who coined the phrase ‘hands up!’

A museum in Mission, B.C., also has a webpage dedicated to Miner.

The news site Infotel also has a very good read on the Grey Fox.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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