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This is the documentary, I'm One from Aute in Ireland, and today's documentary is a true story, stranger than Fiction, The Seven Million Dollar Man. Caulkins mobile began ringing on the bedroom table just as the pills he had consumed four hours earlier were starting to lose their Kotsay effectiveness. Sam Miller is the author of 12 books, including this one about a tough Belfast private investigator called Culcairn. He could tell it was early morning because of that particular quietness coming in from nearby streets.
No signs of drunken louts or screaming teenagers spilling out from nearby pubs and clubs in and around Hill Street in Belfast's trendy cathedral quarter.
But Sam is no ordinary author. His own life really is stranger than fiction. It involves the IRA, guns, explosives and years in jail and the notorious blanket protests in the blocks. Just think about it.
You're naked, completely naked, and five or six screws comina, beaten Acropora every day.
And there's also the small matter of a very large armed robbery. There is millions of dollars and millions of dollars at the time, one of the biggest in U.S. history.
Panta morning just starting to stink. The guards were taken down, the rest were bound, and the robbers pulled a van into the garage, closed the door, loaded up the van with seven million dollars, seven million plus.
Here I used to have so many fights, like his fictional character, Carl Kane, the first chapter of Sam Miller's life begins here on the streets of North Belfast.
We're near the middle of Lancaster Street, where Lancaster Street old will have been all the houses of chance. Of course, I used to live in an old Victorian house and all these now been replaced by these red brick modern houses.
Despite his very Protestant name, Samuel Ignatius, Miller was born in 1955 into a staunch Catholic Republican family. The name Miller came from his grandfather, who was a Protestant, a unionist and a member of the Orange Order. His grandfather was disowned by his family when he married Sammeth Catholic grandmother.
The funny thing was like, here we are in this big Republican street. And we had a on the wall, along with the pope's picture and John F. Kennedy's picture silver of screens. And when the couple used to come in and we had our house looking for guns, they synthesise they were a bit confused. They would walk back out again instead of searching. What was it like being a kid around here? I was like, you know, man, you look back now, of course, you're nostalgic.
You realize just how good you really had it. But it could be a tough area because I lived right in the middle of Bloddy Bloody Street and at the top of state there was a gang, the North Korean Street gang, and that the very bottom you had the street gang. And no matter what I was always run the gauntlet of fear to get the crap out of me by one or two gangs. You know who is in the family? We had three brothers, Tony and Joe and Maria, fellas, my sisters, my father and my mother.
In the mid 1960s, Sam's family suffered a huge loss. My mother left when I was about eight years of age. She was depressed. We didn't understand at the time. One morning I just got up and she was no longer there. And I never seen her again the rest of my life. And it really sort of screwed my mind up a bit because I used to think she'd come and pick me up at school every day for years. I'd be watching her come to pick me up, but never came, of course.
And I hated her at the time because she put a lot of pressure on my father, who was a seaman. He didn't want to come home and look after our family, but I didn't realise at the time she was suffering from depression. Those days you didn't talk about such things. Nobody knew about it.
One way Sam coped with his mother.
Leaving was through comic books or comics. I still in love with him. My father was a merchant seaman, used to go to New York, come home about three times a year. His big suitcases full. All these American comic books, Marvel DC, you know, and I fell in love with them. I learned very little. It's good. But the comics educated me and I was lucky enough to have Belfast Public Library right down the bottom of ST.
So that's where I shipped to, you know. I mean, I go into labor. Member contenting Ah. Someday I'll just go pack up the house. It becomes paramount, you know, and I just gonna skip the poverty otherwise living and the fact that my mother left and all was quite tough. So they said musicological. Comic books would play a big part later in Sam's adult life, but for now the reality of Northern Ireland was never far away.
My family were quite politically aware. Brothers were socialists or Republicans. But me, I didn't really have an interest. Not doing anything I was interested in was girls and going to schools and things like that. And my brother Donny was quite disgusted with me. My attitude, like he was trying to explain, like you're living here in your second class citizen the way you're treated here. No jobs despite your education. I was just turned 16 and he decided to take me one day to die.
It was the 30th of January, 1972 that they happened to be Bloody Sunday.
The car was trying to get in towards epoxide. We were stopped by British soldiers all the way in and the RUC kind of got us to us. We wouldn't go back in towards the big march. It was going on at the time.
Just as we were getting and eventually all you could hear was all the gunshots and the gas, I'll never forget the guys coming over, all the roofs coming into the car.
And even when we finally skipped the seats that they were shooting was still with us inside the car.
It's the first time I ever saw my father cry. But the minute we walked in, he just hugged me and he says, I thought you were dead. And I said, What? What what do you mean? Because you still know so many people be murdered and die. But APAs troopers just changed my whole life forever.
Ten months later, some 17 year old friend, Jim Curre, was working one night as a petrol pump attendant in Belfast.
He got a job as a work in a garage and Lisburn Road.
I got a job in the bloody abattoir and I was sort of ambition and he was sent to work and all. Let me be here a couple of months and I'd get you in here with me working. But a week later, he was murdered.
Shot him like six times in the head, the loyalists for being a Catholic in the Lisbon Road, just opposite. I me finished thinking that this place was normal. Soon after, Sam joined the IRA and in 1973, he was imprisoned for three years for being a member of an illegal organization.
They put me in your case at the time, I saw all the political prisoners war time. We had won recognition for political status and there was like 20 universities working class. I never went to university. There was teachers and professors who had been arrested by the British and they started to teach me what I didn't learn in the street. Two years later, I got out and I started to do things for the Republican movement and I learned a lot different things how to combat against the British, how to combat against a lawless.
And I wasn't shy when I was called upon to do things. And the 18th of January 1977, Sam was convicted once again, this time for possession of guns and explosives. This time he got 10 years in prison. At that stage, political status for IRA prisoners had been taken away and in protest, prisoners like Saddam refused to wear prison clothes. They were naked except for a prison issue blanket. And because of that, they became known as the blanket.
Men can be no question of political status for someone who is serving a sentence for a crime. Crime is a crime is a crime. It is not.
Time was still years away from a life as a writer or a big time armed robber. But since then he has written about his time in the books and his experience under Blanket The Screws in another futile attempt to bricusse at night, boarded up the windows from the outside, blocking O'Doul lightener. The cells seem to have physically shrunk. Squeezed into Boonen tight coffin, tiny demons of panic began dancing in my head, inducing breathlessness, marrying an insufferable heat and stange into one sensory hell.
Yeah, it's quite hard to explain. And I think also somebody. What was Vietnam? They get lost. You lost your legs. Can you tell us all about that? And I mean, you never know unless it happened. Tell you about our first night air raid of a stripped naked American Tarbell, beaten Scruton or Mineralised, and then they failed me by the ankles all the way up to one of the hits blocks. And when I got there, my whole scammer's all ripped open and all they saw was so funny, you know, and then standing up in front of all the governors knowing they wanted me to say, Sir, no one said so.
Of course, I was more beeton's and I never called anybody in my life. I wasn't going to start now, you know. And then they put me on Nygard and his his blocks fluxes quite an intimidating place. You know, it's quite claustrophobic. These small cells all crammed together quite a quite a horrendous place, was one of the first really early blanket on at the start to go on the blink of protest.
We really didn't know what it's going to happen, you know, I mean, two years later, the protest moved on and prisoners started to smear their own excrement on the walls of their cells. The pipes had been turned up full blast to exaggerate the stench of peasant shit. It was an overwhelming, claustrophobic torture, not for the faint hearted made you want to tear your skin and hair, ripping them clean off as the cell became an oven and a coffin getting smaller and hotter.
If somebody had told me I was going to be a fool for eight years, I probably commit a suicide. Really, you know. I mean, I was fucking out of the prison like and I just thought, well, tomorrow is going to change tomorrow.
And then next thing a years gone by now or tomorrow and and started going to morrow tomorrow. You know, it's no end to it. You. Tomorrow came eventually when eight and a half years later, Sam was released from prison with one thing on his mind to go back on active service to once again fight the British.
You know, it's not romantic. I'm tired. I've been in error, you know, but, you know, I lost a lot of friends on a hunger strike. Bobby Sands, Joe McDonald, Bukharin talking to all personal friends of mine. Plus, a lot of volunteers outside the case have died doing operations. So I already had it in my head and I'll give me a couple of days, I don't know at the time, but my father had other plans he had to do, as opposed to try and keep me out of prison or keep me out of the area, do an act of things are.
His father arranged for them to meet a young woman called Bernadette. This was my best sister, which I said, well, I finish at four o'clock to do want to go somewhere.
Maybe they won't go a picture. And I said, no, I don't want to go for a walk or something. I mean, that's where I was. And next thing you know, the two of those just fallen over to her. And that was the start of me easing away from my love for public. It was always love. But now I have found a different love for first time in my life.
And it was slowly taken over. Like so many young Irish in the 1980s, Simon Bernadette decided to move to America. And though it wouldn't be easy, the Republican movement had friends in the U.S. who could help make it all happen. One of those friends was a man named Tom O'Connor.
Tom retired as a cop and was one of hundreds of people in Rochester very active in Noraid.
This is Rochester journalist Gary Craig Noraid. It was an organization set up to help the families of imprisoned IRA volunteers. So Tom agreed to go over and meet Sam and the aftermath of Sam's leaving long cash. And when Sam was hoping to come to the United States and they met and and hatched a plot.
So Tom posted a letter to Sam. So how does a lot of that up town? One hundred dollar bills. I didn't have to pay in a pocket, you know, and I sent a note from a friend of Sam, look. So get yourself Bernie over here. You know what you went through. Enjoy yourself. New York State, heroic St. Patrick's Day, whatever you want. But we ended up got the tickets and I told my father the Monday and I said, I'd like that.
I'll be back on Friday. He was so delighted you thought he had won the pools, but there was a problem how to get smuggled in. And he was OK. She was legal. She went the legal way to JFK, whereas I had to go through Canada on a whole rigmarole, a definitely islands to get into the country. Sam came into Toronto, Canada on a flight and then Tom smuggle Sam into the U.S. into Rochester from there.
For a while, Simon Barney lived quietly near their friend Tom O'Connor, among the tight knit Irish community in Rochester in upstate New York. But Sam had bigger ideas.
Eventually, Sam and Bernadette and a child they had at the time he left Rochester, moved to New York City. Once I went to New York, I just couldn't believe this. I started to taste freedom for first time in my life in this country, America and a city, New York. I just fell in love and I read about as a kid and all comic books. And I hear I was actually loving.
I was just I was like an idiot. Walking around New York, the Internet, everything I'm the most I thought was really rehearsal.
Genwal Sam had an honest job and a lesson on his job. He'd worked as Gary Craig, again, an elevator operator, you know, the job of with a normal pay, et cetera.
But he was also one of a number of Irish folks who worked in some illegal casinos across Manhattan and in the boroughs of New York City.
And the fellow who established those casinos was Irish heritage himself and often used folks who had come into the country illegally and folks perhaps with IRA background to the work, the casinos. And he just had a particular trust for them. And I think he just he understood them. And Sam was one of those people who worked at those casinos.
There were lots of undocumented Irish in New York in the 1980s, and many of them would have known Father Patrick Maloney before. Father Patrick Maloney, are you there? What's your name? Michael. Mr. Monk, I remember. Follow my dreams. Yeah, you should be expecting me. He's a priest from Limerick who has been living in the East Village in Manhattan since 1957 from a staunch Republican family. He was an active supporter of the Irish cause.
One day he was introduced to Sam, I was introduced to Sam, and then Sam used to be a blanket man. OK, maybe you can help him up the road.
I met him. Emetic is one of them.
I baptize all the kids thereafter and he's here with his wife and family.
Yeah, right. He'd come in, she'd gotten a green card and he'd come and she was where he was a green card. After I got at the end and she came to families of his her, he'd come through the border and so I took and he was working.
He said, well, now I work on the name of Frankie, OK, uptown and you have happy to see me every so often. I'd give him things for the kids about any way I could help him.
I help him out. I live in Jackson Heights at a time that's on the new Robuchon.
Things couldn't have been going better for them. He had an exciting job, he loved plenty of money. A young family and the troubled streets of 1980s Belfast were just a distant memory. But there was something playing on Tom's mind. His friend, Tom O'Connor, the ex cop who smuggled Sam into the US, brought him to see the Brinks cash depot in Rochester, where Tom now worked while the armored cars used to come.
All the money and all used to be deposited upon us from Rochester. This was our main drop off point. So he worked hard and he used to bring me in all the time, like Thanksgiving Day, all for drinks, pizzas, you know, I mean, typical Americans who don't really give a shit. And when I went and I couldn't believe it, you know how all these shifts from all the war massive and all the money to do what?
And I thought, what the hell's going on?
So obviously I kept coming back to me. And the more I thought about, of course, it was I got sick. You're just asking for it.
Although it sounds like the fiction he would go on to create. Some has never spoken on tape about the robbery before, although he does write about it in his memoir, Chapter 37 Beers, Hot Dogs and Money.
Lots of money. Did I mention money, lots of it. August 1986. Be careful what you wish for, Chinese proverb, I had already visited the Brinks depot, Tom had taken me over for a tour when the other guards had gone for the day.
I've been amazed at the lack of serious security in the place. And this was highlighted by stories of how a pizza delivery man had simply walked straight into the police one day without being stopped.
It found a security door wide open and to his amazement, piles of money sat unguarded in corners, waiting to be placed in the massive vaults. But the most glaring lapse happened whenever a guard ran out to the local store, leaving the doors ajar, held with nothing sturdier than a pencil, millions of dollars guarded by a pencil. There was no doubt in my mind all this money was there for the taking Tom's reaction to tell me what I wanted to know.
It was no way Tom would go along with my mad idea.
That's why I quickly put it out of my head. Furneaux. But Sam didn't put it out of his head for long and he needed help with this plan. It would come first in the form of a colorful character by the name of Ronnie Gibbons, Ronnie Gibson.
You couldn't invent Ronnie Ronnie Rawlings, a guy. If he doesn't exist, you'd have to create them in a book. He was just philanthropists. Philosopher Jack of All Trades was just one of these guys that colorful, lit up, typical New Yorker, except he was a New Yorker. He was from Liverpool, from our family. He was a boxer, well-known boxer, one of quite a few good fights.
Ronnie had worked the illegal casinos with Sam and some others. And Sam had originally approached Ronnie about doing the robbery here in Rochester.
When I started to think, who the hell could I go along with? Who would be crazy enough? And of course, Ronnie's name came into my mind and I was 100 percent about him. But at the same time, you know, he had a bit of a reputation, you know, a boxer and all this here. So in a scenario prior to the casinos, I went to him. I told his plan. He was all for it.
So he went up, got the two vans, and in Harlem is a snowy winter and never forgot.
We have winter storm warnings.
Put a snow warning still in play here, which look nervous going up because when the snow falls, when the market falls, you know, it's not like hair falls for two days and then everybody panics and several flakes here or you're talking about thirty four feet of snow in kind of push. These trucks that we've got on the the three where we had it up starts about mid hour drive from New York City to Rochester. It's a long, long drive and it's quick.
And I had to stop off maybe four times to fill it up for petrol. We're getting close to Rochester, might about two hours away. And next thing I look in the rearview mirror and I see the truck behind me with drowning's driving just slipping off and decide and going a different direction altogether. And I knew there and then it was never going to do it.
It chickened out of it. So with the failed attempt at the robbery behind him, Sam went back to working in the casinos, but he just couldn't stop thinking about all that cash he had seen lying around the depot in Rochester just asking to be taken.
But four days later, I started thinking I him. But all this money and I thought, that's no, no, no, I have to do something here because it's not an insult. I mean, they're just they're just tantrumming are challenging me all this money. Sam says his next recruit was another man from the casinos called Marco Margon Marine, and they become good friends over the years. He was the right man for the job. But a year and a half after Ronnie's escapade went ahead and told me the right side of the robbery is fairly close to the highway here.
Right on the outside, this is journalist Gary Craig.
Again, he's taking a trip back to the scene of the crime, one of the biggest cash heists in U.S. history.
It's no longer a Brinks depot. It's now an auto repair shop. Very few people had any clue beyond the folks that work here that this was a Brink's depot, it's just very nondescript building and, you know, there were millions upon millions cycling through there every night, January 5th, 1993, a little similar to today here in Rochester, which is windy and cold with snow and snow blowing around after taking it all.
And one who was going to be on the top had to be certain people would be on.
I'm not going to know all the detail about it, but if you went on, there was several guards on site and were counting up the millions upon millions of dollars and dividing them into separate bags for this branches, ATMs that banks, ATMs, the store, that store and dividing it all up to deliver the next day. And everybody is a little tired of getting past six o'clock or so. It's been a long day. Three guards total.
His friend Tom O'Connor was already outside the depot when Tom and Marco arrived. So they tied him up and carried on.
Tom O'Connor had left the area inside where they were counting all the money and said, I'm going to go get some bags outside for more cash. And after he had stepped out, that's when the two guards, Dick Popowicz and Milt Deal, were overtaken by the robbers, according to some himself.
And Marco used replica guns to disarm the two guards inside.
And a big mistake we made was we couldn't get a truck. We had this little van, you know, but I thought, I'm not going anywhere until I know for sure. Hell, if it can be full of ammo. But we were listening to lexigram and it was like the adrenaline was just lifting these bags in on me and they pumped it up and we're trying to get out.
We couldn't because all the black smoke was coming at us too much. We don't see how they got back up and pull it all back out again.
An old man. How much money do you reckon was all we knew? How much money was 20 million at the time. But when he got away with it, because we couldn't take it anymore, what we left behind like 20. And the robbers closed the door and drove away, and nobody in law enforcement had any clue right away that night where they'd gone, they did take Tom O'Connor hostage and Tom was dropped off on the west side of Rochester by the robbers and made his way to a restaurant, which is where he then called 911, one in the police.
My name is Paul Hawkins. I'm retired from the FBI back in January 5th and 93, I was the case agent on a rather large robbery in Rochester, New York. The police department got the call from the two guards that got tied up. And we found out that the third guard had been, I'll put this in quotes, kidnapped by the perpetrators and that seven point four million had been taken out of the Brinks warehouse facility in downtown Rochester.
So it seems the right from the start, the FBI seemed to have a pretty good inkling as to who might be responsible. Well, we had discussed who the individuals were that were employed there.
And once we found out that Tom O'Connor was one of the guards and was the guard that was kidnapped, we knew exactly who had perpetrated the robbery because Tom had a very bad reputation.
He was retired from the city police department, was a suspect in several homicides, was never charged with any of them. We felt that he probably was involved and had some help. We knew through previous investigations that probably his help was Sam Miller because Tom had smuggled him from Canada across into the United States.
So I'm headed back down to New York City, but he soon realized he had a problem where to store all that cash. Father Pat Maloney had the solution, he ran a series of safe houses where he would shelter people who needed to keep a low profile, including members of the Republican movement from Northern Ireland.
Had one in the West Village and one in midtown at one stage and down what it would be like subleases.
You're going away for a year that I mean, a priest meets a lot of people again. So this friend Charlie was going away for a year to Jamaica, to his brother down there, and the apartment was very low rent, a very big apartment in the bedroom and big everything. Big living room. You could have two people comfortably living there individually. So I took over the apartment.
Sam and his wife Bernie knew Father Pat well at this stage. And Father Pat, let's put the money in. His friend Charlie McCormick's apartment got talk.
And I was saying I got got money. I got a lot of money. He must have thought at the time probably that this is casino money. So he was thinking this just as he polished off twenty thousand pounds from the old man. And I must be a bit more and more not turned on him. It's a case a few million. I didn't know what was thinking. So I'm not going to say any more. But the priest, you know, he's not here to defend himself because honestly, that's up to him.
What he wants to say about what he was looking after the money.
Meanwhile, in their new home in Queens, Sam opens the comic book store, a dream he'd harboured since he was a child. He called it Kacie Comics after Simon Burnie's three children, and he had no shortage of funds to purchase stock. I know the FBI are well on the case of some of the stolen cash. We did find them in Queens. We got the New York office interested in surveilling him as Sam had a pretty regular routine that they knew from surveillance.
But one day that changes and he goes into Manhattan to an apartment building, you know, comes out. And in the days after he does this more and more and he's carrying bags and duffel bags, which the FBI says they believe clearly contain cash just based on the impression sort of the way the bags were shaped and looked like bundles of cash that he was carrying into this apartment.
We decided to put a surveillance camera on the hallway outside the stash house.
And lo and behold, there was a small elderly priest accessing the money with Sam.
And one time without Sam, his name had come to them, some because Father Pat, it turned out it actually bought the car, the Ford Explorer, that Sam was driving. But it wasn't necessarily that they thought just because of that he was suspicious. They said, well, maybe he's somebody that knows Sam and it's helped him as Father Pat had. But it wasn't necessarily in the beginning thought this guy's involved. But then they start seeing Father Pat show up at the Manhattan apartment and they say Father Pat sometimes is carrying cash and counting it outside of the Manhattan apartment as he's leaving, something Father Pat completely denies.
But an FBI agent and a New York police person testify to that.
The money stayed in the apartment for a couple of weeks. Father Maloney brought in counting machine and started running the counting machine. And we had a surveillance agent go up to the door and listen.
She goes there counting the money, and so we said, well, if they're counting it, they're probably getting ready to move it, so we probably have to hit it with a search warrant.
One day in November 1993, 10 months after the robbery, the FBI decided they had enough evidence to make arrests. Well, I got caught.
I was going to the post office in Queens. It's quite a busy place, you know, Chinese first and all to monitor Korean food stores.
And, you know, so one of the reasons Sam is whispering, by the way, is because he's telling me all this in the Linehaul Library in Belfast, went on to the post office to get him.
And I walked out. I knew something was wrong. The whole state was suddenly there wasn't a sound. It was like a zombie movie, know? And I walked out and I stopped and I fucking knew there. And then it's over. My van was parked up. So I walked normally from the post office. We hit an animal and we grabbed you know, I went up to my Van Hollen, my van and mandated that I just came in and I started screaming, I can't measure Congress gone.
I never had a gun. No, never had to go to New York. Boehner and McConnell, well, they obviously had this thing in there. I was going to be a on a scale and they said some weird FBI have been arrested. I should have sent word there were just collapses. You know, Father Patrick Maloney was at home in Manhattan. It was a Friday evening.
I never forget his dying day. It was the twelfth of November.
I am walking out the door with him and I look around the whole place, surrounded the trucks, the snipers on the roof here, and their guns are trained on me.
What's happening? I thought it was a drug raid gone bad. They were on the corner.
There were everywhere.
They really thought they had another cell of IRP or something. And the money was here. I mean, they were so badly informed.
The story made national and international headlines.
Patrick Maloney is a priest and now is also an accused felon charged in connection with one of the largest armored car robberies in US history. Federal authorities say Father Maloney had in his possession money from a Brinks robbery that occurred last January in Rochester, New York, in which seven point four million dollars were stolen.
Two other suspects, including a former Rochester police officer who worked for Brinks, were also arrested myself Father Pat Maloney, Charlie McCormick and Tom, my best friend Cop Regathered, charged with a Brinks robbery. There was no sign of Sam's accomplice, the mysterious Marco, or the other five million dollars in stolen cash. Like all good crime fiction, there was some unfinished business with the heist, and the reality of it would have serious consequences for Ronnie Givens, Sam's friend who pulled out of the robbery at the first attempt during the search of his house, the FBI found just under two hundred thousand dollars hidden in flowerpots bedroom money, which Sam says he told Father Pat to give to Ronnie Givens.
Ronnie knew who did the heist, and this money was to keep him quiet.
So Pat agreed to give it to him, you know, and that's what I thought during the court case, defending all these tips that they've I've been watching. You know, I've been watching it 24 hours a day. I feel silly. You thought you knew at all. But they've actually been watching it for weeks, for months. And the first thing on Earth that guy said to me was well worded, Maloney, get all this money. I never said that.
I thought I thought about all the millions that we had in the apartment that money had under his bed. I never said such a nice sum of money isn't 200000 dollars. And I knew then that he hadn't given Ronnie the money he was put together. So it was quite angry. You know, Pat hadn't follow simple instructions. And I mean, you know, think about we got millions and millions of dollars sitting here. What's a couple hundred thousand snatched a few crumbs off.
Aluf, you know, the trial takes place in Rochester in late 1994.
Tom O'Connor is actually the only one accused of the robbery. He's accused of being the inside guy, Gary Craig. Again, Sam Miller, Charlie MacCormick, Father Patrick Maloney are all accused of basically the illegal possession of this stolen cash and the conspiracy to have the stolen cash.
In reality, there was very little evidence other than the stolen money. Here's the problem. We had Paul Hawkins, retired FBI agent.
Again, the prosecutors weren't comfortable charging anybody with the robbery itself. So the judge basically throughout most of our case, and it goes for four weeks and weeks and weeks on end.
And then Tom O'Connor testified on his behalf and admitted that he had smuggled Sam to the country. And you know what everybody expected years before he told that story? The best lawyers here in Rochester, best defense lawyers were representing the accused. And in the end, it ended up with kind of a mixed verdict. You had Sam was convicted of conspiracy to possess the cash. Father Pat was killed. Of the conspiracy to possess the cash to go on a hunger strike.
Absolutely right. Very good. Just don't touch it.
Tom O'Connor was acquitted of all charges and Charlie McCormack was acquitted of all charges.
What kind of an ordeal has this been for you? There's definitely no real joy in being found innocent when you were innocent. And this is the voice of Charlie McCormac, the innocent owner of the apartment where the money was stored.
Your family has been harassed and you've been persecuted with no evidence whatsoever. I think it's a real shame that this actually ever occurred.
The jury felt that there wasn't enough evidence against O'Connor and McCormick. You know, I judgment as to whether it's weak or not, you know, I leave that to the jury.
Father Patrick Maloney and Sam Miller are sentenced in early 1995. Father Pat is sentenced to four years and three months in prison while Sam gets five years.
Well, when you're known as a political prisoner, no matter how horrendous of those who have been tortured, beat up, one thing you have behind is your comrades. And that is a thing that can't be destroyed and not just thing, keeps you strong, keeps your faith going. Your comrades, you know, in America, it's extremely violent. I mean, your people are just being killed everywhere, left, right and center.
And I was lucky because when I went into the system and the penitentiaries, no matter where I went, I was always taken care of by various American gangsters are the Hells Angels. I don't know why the Hells Angels like me so much. I think it just because they're against the system so much. But any place, any prison I just got moved to and I moved to lots and lots of prisons. They were trying to break me down and I always had people waiting for me to protect me.
And I was like, you know, so close off I would have been on my own. I want them.
They had me all over. They gave me circuit therapy in the beginning, which that's the disorientation. I started out in Rochester. I went to Otisville, I was in Lewisburg.
I was in Oklahoma. So they gave me what they call a management variable.
So it took my classification from a low level conspiracy case all the way up to the top.
And they're still in my paperwork. I was the irate general. I was the terrorist.
I was the mastermind of the robbery, even though never charged with the robbery and acquitted of everything other than this whole conspiracy to hold the money. And even that was shady.
I never heard about the robbery until the day I was arrested. I mean, I hate to say this time was a thieving scoundrel. And now to the present day, he admitted he was the robber. He knows that I had nothing to do with it.
He could have exonerated me. Many say even in the book, you could have come along and clearly said, bottom line, you know nothing from B before or after you knew nothing, didn't even know the money was going into that apartment until it got there. He never did that. I don't know why.
Now, locked in maximum security penitentiary, Father Pat and Sam get on with serving their sentences. Then one day, some inmates approach some of my parolees.
Hells Angels guys came over to me to have some, you know, a guy called Ronnie Gibbons and was right in the front page of the New York paper, just as a boxer disappears, suspected to be murdered. Had links to the brink robbery, of course, then that's when I realized that probably was dead and I still in my heart, I didn't believe it because I thought, you know, this is this is one of Ronnie's tricks because he's a man of many tricks is like a magician, you know, I says, no, he's disappeared.
He's taken himself out of the road, got some money, landlord chances, and died today because he was always doing things like this here. So it doesn't really believe it. You know, despite everything, Ronnie was still a friend of mine, you know, regardless of anything at all. I mean, and I was hoping beyond hope that it was all lies that he was alive and he was heading down Las Vegas. So remember the boxing community?
His boxing career was over.
Paula Hawkins again, he was a friend of Sam's. He was working in the gambling joints, too.
And when he saw Sam got his share and he didn't get it, you know, you think it's hey, you know, I'm just scraping by in this guy's living the high life selling comic books and didn't think it was very fair, but I guess he felt like he was part of the planning stages.
So he I don't know, they kicked him out or he backed out or whatever, but he felt like it was unfair that he got cut out of the proceeds and he borrowed a car from a fireman down in New York City and drove up here and went to a meet at a restaurant and thought he could come up. And I don't know what to ask for his share and not get killed for years and years and years.
Ronnie's whereabouts were a mystery journalist. Gary Craig 2011 medical examiner realized that these body parts that had floated ashore in this area called the Thousand Islands in the late 90s, a foot and separately a torso had the same DNA and checked the DNA with some matches that they got from Ronnie's family. And lo and behold, it was Ronnie. To this day, there's never been a real answer as to who killed Ronnie.
All of them, no, is going to find out about it shattered. And I was really sickened and sad for him, sad for his family. And I mean, this is a hard life and it's, you know, because at the end of day, still a good guy, you know, I mean, he was a character, but not to end up, like, out there was horrible. Ronnie's dad and Sam and father are in prison.
Nobody else is arrested or charged in connection with the robbery. Five million dollars of the stolen money was never recovered. Then in 1997, Sam got some good news. He's been released and deported back to Northern Ireland.
I got a lot of mixed emotions because part of that agreement was I wasn't allowed to set foot in America ever again, automatic five years.
So I was sort of heartbroken. But at the same time, I was going home and my family got home to Belfast, wasn't going to have ever had to go back to Belfast, you know, because I've been there 14 years was a strange land to me. And when I did get back to Belfast, it was a strange land and a chance I didn't know anybody. All my friends had moved on to wherever they were going, most of marijuana.
And, you know, my grandkids and I own things like a share. But even the areas, Belfast City Centre, everything a chance dramatically.
Now, over 20 years later, Father Pat still lives in his brownstone house on East 9th Street in the east village of Manhattan, where he remains an active member of the local community.
Had nothing whatever to do to bring therapy before or after the fact. And yet I can't shake it off. When Sam returned to Belfast, he was at a loss as to what to do with himself until he saw a small ad in a local newspaper on the patio.
Next, I'm sitting in the library, the library just down from ST. I used to live in Lancaster Street. I opened up Belfast Telegraph, very tiny little tiny advertisement saying get your your stories. And from everyone. I really had no clue what it was. What I did see was a thousand pound. I mean, I'm sitting here not just back in America, you know, everybody thinks I have all these millions. You know, I can tell you now on the panel all taken from me, you know, I didn't think it would even be considered, but I put it on hoping to win some money.
And I did want to knock off the word. I sat and thought, oh, this is what I always want to be from a little kid. I wanted to be like, Starlene, create all these great characters. He's good stories. And I mean and give me the thought I could be writer. And I had this manuscript wrote Long Gone and the Penitentiary. And I thought about doing this here and maybe making it into a memoir. But it all down to what you have now is a book on the brakes and blew everybody out of water when it came out Bhonsle Money Awards and became a bestseller twice.
Warner Brothers bought the rights to just open a whole new life.
Winning the Brian Moore Award did indeed open a whole new direction in life.
For some, as a novelist, I'm in the world of writing them now, a writer of an accelerator all over Europe. It's strange for me, like, you know, I go to Germany and go to France to see my books and when and people talk and good things about me first.
It's not a bad things now 65 times. Life is a world away from prisons, blanket protests, casinos and armed robbery. These days it's all fiction. He's written 12 books and received many awards, a lot of them for a series of crime noir novels featuring Detective Culcairn.
I just continue to write until I stop writing and drop dead or whatever the hell happens to me.
Karl quickly untangled her arms from his neck and began pushing himself up wearily from the sofa like an old heavyweight boxer using the ropes for balance. Come on, kiddo, let's get the hell out of here. We're heading to hospital. Do we really need to go? They might start asking awkward questions and uncontrollably, Lipstick's started giggling.
What the hell is so funny? Lipstick pointed at Karl's legs. You really are wearing pajamas. You've been listening to the Seven Million Dollar Man from the documentary on one, it was narrated by Michael Kiely and produced by Michael Kiely and Tim DesMoines until next time. Thanks for listening.