City of Thieves

Where Facts Meet Fiction: Incredible stories of unsolved murders, arrests, crooked cops, robberies, corruption, and the historic dark secrets of northern Ontario’s golden criminal underworld. Tales that are re-imagined and re-told in these ten short stories, based on real people and told through the eyes of journalist and the book’s central character, Austin Hawthorne, the fictional version of author Kevin Vincent. Re-shaped into fictional accounts, the City of Thieves Series sets the stage for complex characters and gripping narratives, based on, or inspired by true events underscored by the unmistakable allure of gold. The City of Thieves Series is a place where readers can dive into tales of crime and mystery, anchored in the gritty reality of northern Ontario, a region with an astonishing checkered past linked to international gangsters.

“You don’t have to be a fan of true crime to enjoy these amazing stories based on characters who literally, lived next door. I know, I was one of them” Former Highgrader.

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I’ll Take it From Here

By day she was a simple bank teller. In her off-hours, Thelma Vargas was much more. With intimidating good looks and a fierce determination, Thelma got her revenge. (Based on multiple true stories.)

The Master Thief

Eddy Clement (his real name) was born to steal. By the time he got his first summer job at a Timmins gold mine, he had given himself a PhD in thevery. This story, based on the author’s interview with Eddy himself, reveals how gold’s temptation is beyond compelling for those willing to take big risks.

Don’t Mess With Her

She was ruthless, incredibly smart, and the common-law spouse of Canada’s biggest gangster in the 1930’s and early 40’s and they had BIG ties to the gold smuggling rackets of #Timmins #KirklandLake and #quebec. Who was she? Click the link in the photo below and order your copy before they are sold out.

Smalltown cab driver takes down massive gold syndicate

They were the biggest gold smugglers in the western hemisphere and their operation was disrupted by a young Timmins cab driver. The arrest of 13 people and their 1942 court case was one of the longest trials and jury deliberations in Canadian legal history. Men got whacked.

We love these “true” stories – Meet the people who inspired them

Decades of research, hundreds of interviews, thousands of documents. Stories based on legends of the Northland. Crooked cops, crooked businessmen, crooked priests, crooked politicians – where there’s gold, trouble is on the menu. The stories in The City of Thieves Series are gleaned from the interviews author Kevin Vincent conducted over many years. Below are short video clips from those who were there went stuff went down.


Meet Jack Atkinson, the man who inspired the Bootleg Gold and City of Thieves Series. In this short clip, Jack describes how he ended up in Timmins just before World War 2. He would eventually become a police officer who triggered the biggest gold smuggling investigation in north American history.


Meet Leo Gagnon, the former Timmins Police Chief as he explains why the town needed independent (Ontario Provincial Police) to investigate the massive amount of gold smuggling that was happening in the 1930’s and 40’s. .

Leo Gagnon, the former Timmins Police Chief explains how he collected money from gold thieves to pay for funeral expenses for poor people.


Meet Greg Reynolds, a gritty, longtime newspaper reporter and former Managing Editor of the Timmins Daily Press who lived through, and was deeply embedded in the murky, golden heyday of highgrading.

Timmins – The First 100 DVD

Only 20 copies available. The 90-minute film about the City of Timmins first 100 years. To order yours, click the button below. 

The original Bootleg Gold Series

The books that started it all. Bootleg Gold Volume One and Volume Two. The best-selling non-fiction versions of amazing gold  robbery and smuggling stories. Order yours now. Bootleg Gold Volume One has gone through five printings!

Radio Interviews with Bridget Yard of CBC Radio Sudbury and Al Cresswell, CFNO FM in Marathon, Ontario.

Click the CBC logo to listen

Contact Info

(705) 221-1965

475 Brousseau Ave., Timmins, ON P4N8B4

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