Thursday, April 28, 2016

End of an era: Mikie Johnston, last of the Johnston West End Gang bank robbing brothers dies

Michael "Mikie" Johnston
  The fifth of six Johnston brothers, a Montreal West End Gang-related clan known for their bank robbing skills, has died, as Michael "Mikie" Johnston passed away earlier this week, at the age of 77.
 The only surviving brother is now former Boston Bruins goaltender Eddie Johnston, who has no criminal history.
   Mikie Johnston, who had been ill for some time, lived in and around Montreal for his entire life but was perhaps best known for serving time following a massive security deposit box heist in British Colombia.
   The gang was caught after carrying suspiciously-heavy bags at the Vancouver airport.
   Other recently-deceased Johnston brothers are Stevie Johnston who died in the fall 2014,  David "Abie" Johnston who died April 25, 2015 and Billy Johnston who died June 4, 2015.
   Another brother, Tommy, died previously,
  The brothers were one of many clans with ties to the West End Gang and were more discreet than the MacAllister brothers, (Billy and Peter, who wrote the crime-novel Dexter), the Matticks brothers (Richie, Gerry, Jackie et al) and the McGurnahans (two of whom were killed after running afoul of WEG brass).
William "Billy" Johnston
David "Abie" Johnston
   Several of the Johnston brothers worked as elevator repairmen and kept a low relatively low profile but Billy once casually described himself as a "retired bank robber."
   Mikie and his brothers were not known to flaunt their wealth but one bit of likely unreliable speculation pegs their worth at $100 million.
   The five brothers were considered very intelligent. They do not appear to have been prodigious family men as Mikie fathered two daughters and only David's son David is listed as another surviving niece or nephew.
   A source describes Mikie as a serious but pleasant guy who lived outside of the city and would stay in a hotel when he came to town.

 Various scattered anecdotes suggest that the Johnstons were crafty but also capable of violence. The brothers were once named in an NHL hockey-game rigging incident but the witness later recanted.
   When a popular barmaid was killed by a madman in the Laurentians, the brothers were apparently deeply displeased by the killer's misdeed and police were later directed to the killer's body dead in a trunk.
   Stevie Johnston was once seen with two others savagely beating up a guy in a restaurant and matter-of-factly explained that the guy deserved his fate.
    Billy Johnston was said to be involved in a cigarette truck heist at the port which saw one of the robbers (likely John Slawvey) shoot at police in 1969. In later years Billy had office on Stanley Street where he would meet with bikers and once reportedly someone in the stomach with a shotgun.
   Hockey legend Bobby Orr came to Montreal to attend David's (Abie's) funeral and was also known to golf with some of the other brothers.
   Mikie's visitation will be held tonight (Thursday) from 7 to 9 at the Feron Funeral Homes 2630 Notre Dame West and the funeral mass will be held on Friday, April 29, 2016 at 11 a.m. in St. Gabriel's Church 2157 Centre Street, 

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