Bank robber returns to the scene of the crime 60 years later for champagne lunch

Bank robber returns to the scene of the crime 60 years later for champagne lunch

If you stole two million dollars from a bank, would you have the guts to walk back in decades later for lunch?

That's exactly what happened when Boyne Lester Johnston returned to a Canada bank 60 years after he ran away with $2.2 million in current Canadian dollars ($1.7m in American dollars and £1.3m in British pounds), an act that eventually put him in jail for four years.

In October of 1958, Boyne emptied the safe of a bank he worked in in Ottawa, triggering a North America-wide manhunt. The former bank teller stole the money on a Friday, removing cash from the vault and then hiding it around the premises.

He then returned after hours to collect his millions, fleeing the country to travel to the United States, visiting Detroit, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Utah and eventually, Denver. He had told his wife he was going hunting, but never returned.

Soon after, a $10,000 reward was offered to the public for information leading to his arrest. The description on the wanted poster released by Ottawa police read: "Neat dresser, nightclub habitue, a champagne drinker, enjoys female companionship."

He was eventually caught, after being on the run for 17 days. Making the most out of his haul of money, the bank robber was discovered sipping champagne at the Chez Paree nightclub when a waitress spotted him, afterwards collecting the full reward following his arrest.

According to one newspaper report, after he was caught by police, he told the arresting officers that he knew he would be caught and was glad the incident had come to an end. In addition, he claimed he had taken the money "because I had always wanted to know what it would be like to have all that money... Now I know."

Most of the funds he had stolen were returned, not counting his expenses and some $4,000 he had spent on a Corvette. His father reportedly later repaid the missing balance.

Now in August 2018, 60 years after he robbed his employer, he has walked back into the bank, which is now reportedly been converted into a fancy restaurant. Over a - rather appropriate - champagne lunch, the reformed thief apparently reminisced about his 1958 heist over lunch with the staff.

Alex McMahon, wine director at Ottawa's Riviera restaurant, told the BBC that staff at the restaurant knew all about the former robber's past, so when an online reservation came in saying that the guest would be "bringing my friend back to the bank that he robbed", they all had their suspicions as to who it could be.

According to the BBC, Johnston - whose wife waited for him until he was released from prison in 1960 - told the director that his time in prison had taught him to value his freedom. In addition, he signed the wall of the wine cellar, which is located where the emptied bank vault once was, adding his four-digit prisoner number next to his name.

Nowadays, he is said to have resumed his quiet, crime-free life.