Friday, May 06, 2016

The golden age of Montreal car bombings

  Car bombs  combine every Montrealer's favourite thing, cars, with everybody's least favourite thing, bombs. (Did you write that lead all by yourself?- Chimples)
  Those targeted by car bombs could rightly have mixed emotions. They will be troubled by their intense unpopularity but they might also feel flattered to be targeted with such an elaborate approach
   It's not the simplest way of killing someone, which explains why it almost never happens.

  •    You need to purchase and store illegal and volatile material that could easily explode in your face. 
  •    The wrong person can die if somebody borrows a car rigged to explode upon ignition.
  •    If you choose to set the bomb off by remote, cops will scour the area and possibly find you with the red button. 

   The most prominent bomber during the high tide of murder in Montreal was Yves Apache Trudeau who learned how to make bombs as part of a federal job retraining project.
   The bombings ended after an innocent child was killed by shrapnel and killers have since found a more sensible way to target their victims.
   Here's a partial timeline of such explosions:

  •  July 11, 1970 Danny Pelansky was killed while driving a borrowed 1968 Buick Wildcat on the Metropolitan Expressway when a bomb installed under the driver's seat exploded. Pelansky's left leg and part of his torso were blown through the vehicle's floor and the car rolled out of control and crashed into a safety fence. He was 31 years old. The owner of the Buick Wildcat, Michel Amyot, was terrified and made the rounds of various West End Gang hangouts to assure them that he had nothing to do with the murder.
  • 1974 Montreal police defused six car bombs according to Lt. Robert Cote of the Police Technical Squad.  
  • Jan 22 1976 - Richard "Joker" Bertrand and Gilbert Groleau, both 26, were blown up in a green 1970 station wagon on Berri Street across from the bus terminal by Danish-made Schaffler detonator caps, which were banned in Canada but widely distributed in the underworld. The explosion was not a car bombing. The two had hoped to set the bomb off as a terrorist plot to improve prison conditons. 
  • Dec. 6, 1980 Michael Capozzi, 28, lost a leg and was blinded driving through St. Henri with girlfrend Jocelyne Papillon, 25.She was blasted out the passenger side door. Capozzi had borrowed the car from a gangster. The dymamite was jammed between the frame and a rocker panel on the driver's side. He dorve five minutes so it was a remote job (unless it was badly made). 
  • March 17, 1981 Robert Morin, 26, was killed by a car bomb on his way back from bowling. It was deonated by remote control of Du Havre Street. Police said it was likely the wrong guy.*
  • Oct 28 1981 Patrick McGurnaghan, 44, died in his 1977 Mercedes near the Westmount Park School. He was with Joseph Frankel, 57, a "reformed bookie" according to self description from a crime probe eight years earlier. Frankel survived. 
  • Sept. 23, 1983 St. Leonard Mayor Antonio Di Ciocco had a stick of dynamite explode in the exhaust pipe of his 1980 Thunderbird while parked at his home on Capril Street. He had leukemia at the time and was aged 32.  He died the next year. 
  • Oct 1 1984 Robert Couture, who owned the Olympic Tavern at 198 Dorchester W was targeted with a car bomb. It blew up his Cadillac at the corner of Hotel de Ville when he was inside his establishment. He was unscathed. 
  • Sept. 26, 1984, Drifter Sylvain Dagenais 25, was killed when his rented Camaro blew up after he left a disco in Laval des Rapides. Regis Asselin was arrested in connection to the incident.It was a Wednesday night at 11:30 pm in the parking lot of tat shopping mall on Cartier Blvd. in Duvernal Laval. Prolific assassin Michel Blass was also linked to the grisly deed.
  • July 10 - 1986 Bank manager - Pierre Marcoux of the Royal Bank branch at 1801 Mount Royal E., near Papineau, was blown up in the underground garage of a high rise apartment building in St. Lambert on a Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. He had managed the bank for four years. 
  • April 3, 1987 David Stern, an aluminum window salesman and 75-year-old father of five, was blown up while driving his Buick on Legare near Van Horne on a Friday afternoon in Cote
    des Neiges. He had been considered a suspect in the murder of his former partner, West End Gang safe-cracker Earl Poirier who was bludgeoned to death in Park Ex three years earlier. Police noted that the bomb was different from those that had previously been used in Montreal car bombings. Stern's son Ronnie went on to play 638 hard-fought games in the NHL as one of the only pugilistic Jewish players.
  • Aug. 9, 1995 Drug dealer Marc Dube started a jeep that blew up one minute later on Adam Street in Montreal. he was killed. A passenger survived by 11-year-old Daniel Desrochers was killed by a flying piece of metal during the biker war madness. His mother Josee-AnneDesrochers led a campaign against which ultimately pushed authorities to make being a part of a gang a criminal offence. She died in 2005 of pneumonia aged 40.
  • Dec. 21, 1995 Ronald Snyder of Snyder Autos in Lachine was blown up in his car at 9:00 a.m. on tiny Thompson Point in Beaconsfield on the waterfront. 
    Snyder's Chevolet after explosion

* A tale recounted in Peter McAllister's Dexter tells of a car bombing in Montreal without mentioning who or when.
   A young man Dexter (Peter McAllister) knew was a runner for a fair-sized coke dealer in the East End of town. One day they sold two keys of coke to a party on the other side of town. The runner delivered the coke and returned to his boss. The next day the people returned the coke. They said the quality was not what was promised. The boys in the East End checked out their coke and found that it had been stepped on. They knew their coke was not cut, because they imported it directly from Colombia. Everyone had their backs up, and the guns were ready to come out of the closet. Two days later the runner was blown up in his car. The people on the other side of town admitted doing it, because they held the runner responsible for the cut coke. He was killed because he was the one responsible for all the problems. The people from the East end of town went to Dexter for some information on the people who had blown up their runner. Dexter checked it out for them and told them they were no good. They were sleazebags; however, they were dangerous sleazebags. It was obvious that the runner was totally innocent. The people in the East End didn't go to war; they had lots of coke to sell, and besides they would peddle the cut coke in o.z.'s and make their money back. They reasoned that a war with a group of deadly sleazebag wasn't worth the trouble or the financial effort. The runner was written off.
   The young runner never carried a gun in his life. He was not a violent person. He had proven his honesty over the years. Things like that happen all the time in the drug world.


  1. Car bombings in Montreal go way back. In the late 1960s the Montreal Gazette guy who wrote about social activity in Montreal wrote a piece about a Jewish businessman who discovered a bomb wired to his car in NDG. He was connected to the Montreal Jewish Mafia.In the article, he pled to be left alone and that he was just a family man and business owner. He lived to 83 years of age so his plea must have worked.

  2. Also, July 11, 1970 a car bomb killed Danny Pelansky on the Metropolitan.

  3. There was also a car bomb in Beaconsfield December 21st 1995 that claimed the life of Ronald Snyder, of the Snyder Automobile dealerships. His brother was the former owner of Bar Le Cactus (also bombed in 1993). (story on Page 3)

  4. Ronny's brother is still alive and the former owner of Cactus was not his brother


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