Real Name: Charles Warren Boomer
Aliases: "The Satchel Bandit," Robert Taylor, Gary Ross Whitaker
Wanted For: Armed Robbery
Missing Since: September 1991
Details: Charles Boomer is wanted for the armed robbery of almost thirty banks in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. He was nicknamed by police the "Satchel Bandit" because he wore a satchel that he put the money that he stole in, and always wore cheesy disguises.
At 10AM on April 23, 1991, he robbed a bank in Edmonton, Alberta. However, while fleeing the scene, he got into a car accident. Several witnesses saw him without a disguise as he left his vehicle. One witness ended up getting carjacked by him. As police investigated the area, they found a wig that was part of his disguise. On the front seat of the car was a loaded magazine for a .380 automatic handgun.
The car was bearing stolen Alberta plates. They were over top of a set of legally registered British Columbia license plates. These were determined to have belonged to a "Gary Ross Whitaker". Further investigation revealed that this name was fictitious and that the real Whitaker had died as an infant. In the trunk, they found duffel bags filled with clothes, maps of Canada and the United States, camping gear, and lollipops.
Five weeks later in Portland, Oregon, the Satchel Bandit struck again. At 7:45AM on May 30, Chuck Valentine, a security guard for a local department store, arrived for work. He noticed a suspicious car with out-of-state plates backed into a parking spot next to the building. A man was sitting in the front seat.
Two hours later, a customer complained about a suspicious man wearing a cheap disguise hanging around outside of the building. Chuck went out to investigate and saw the car was parked next to a bank next door. He went to look at the license plate and discovered that another plate was underneath it. As he looked up, he noticed that the man was crossing the lot and walking towards the bank.
As Chuck called the police, the suspicious man went and robbed the bank. This time, however, an alert teller placed a dye pack with the money. As he escaped, the dye pack exploded and he was covered with red dye and tear gas. When police checked his license plate number, they discovered that it belonged to "Robert Taylor" of New Westminster, British Columbia.
When New Westminster police questioned Taylor's landlord, they learned that he lived with a hearing-impaired woman named Rachelle. Two days later, the police searched their apartment. At first, they thought that the robber had stolen Taylor's car. However, they found that almost everything in the apartment was new and expensive. They also found books about how to "beat" the criminal justice system. Although clothes were found belonging to Rachelle, no clothes belonging to "Robert" were found.
Back in Portland, police located the robber's getaway car and made a surprising discovery that linked the robbery to the one in Edmonton: lollipops. Police were certain that Robert Taylor was the "Satchel Bandit". They learned that he had met Rachelle in Ontario. Sadly, she was deaf-mute and had many difficulties growing up. However, she was able to overcome many of her problems. She got a job and her own apartment. She often went to visit her parents.
On one visit in the Fall of 1989, she introduced her parents to Robert Taylor. Her parents thought that he was a nice person, but felt that something was odd about him. He told them that he had worked for the government but had hurt his back, so he lived on disability. Her father thought that was strange because Robert had spent so much money. However, he kept his suspicions to himself because Rachelle seemed happy.
In the Fall of 1990, Robert and Rachelle left Ontario and moved to British Columbia. Over the next six months, she wrote and called her parents regularly. Then, in May of 1991, she sent a picture of them together, along with the news that they had married. However, after that, her parents did not hear from them. A few weeks later, they learned the shocking truth: their daughter had married a bank robber.
Fingerprints from Portland were sent to Canada, and the Satchel Bandit, also known as Robert Taylor, was finally identified as Charles Boomer. He was one of the most notorious bank robbers in Canadian history. He committed his first heist at age seventeen; by the age of fifty, he had robbed banks of over $1 million.
In September of 1991, a newspaper article was released, noting that Boomer and his wife were wanted for questioning. Boomer realized that the police were closing in on him, so he sent Rachelle to a police station. She gave officers a letter from Boomer, telling police that she should not be held responsible for his crimes. Rachelle was not charged with any crime and was released. However, her husband is still wanted by authorities.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the February 19, 1992 episode.
Results: Captured. On June 26, 1992, the manager of a restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario, contacted police, claiming that Boomer was there. Ten minutes later, he was taken into custody, wearing one of his disguises. At the time, he was carrying a loaded handgun, several thousand dollars in cash, and a police scanner (which was turned off). Despite the fact that he had stolen millions of dollars over the years, it was discovered that he had been living in a tent just outside of town. In the tent, police found a list of banks; he had robbed some of them and apparently planned to rob the others. They also discovered maps of possible escape routes, survival gear, and a list of police radio frequencies for Canada and the United States.
Boomer was convicted of thirty-three robberies and sentenced to forty-five years in prison. He was eventually paroled in November 2011 at the age of 75.
- The Jailbreak that Time Forgot
- United States v. Charles Warren Boomer
- (1992 EW Article) Unsolved Mysteries
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Charles Boomer