Tim White’s obituary for the elderly Rhode Island gangster Lawrence “Mitch” Lanoue, who died earlier this month at the ripe old age of 90 (and just a year after leaving federal prison), is a great yarn in its own right. Here’s a sample:
By all accounts, Lanoue’s take from the Bonded Vault heist was slim compared with what he hauled away from the warehouse in the van that day. He was handed a bag of cash filled with $64,000. The men agreed to have the rest of the valuables buried until things calmed down, but the riches never materialized for Lanoue and the rest of the crew.
The family member said despite Lanoue’s long career as a robber, he did not live an extravagant life.
“In a majority of the circumstances his earnings (although unacceptable and illegal) were given to a lot of people in need of money,” the relative wrote. “He always justified it as being a modern day Robin Hood.”
The story of the Bonded Vault robbery is close to Tim’s heart, a lifelong reporting project of his legendary late father’s that Tim’s carried on since Jack White’s death in 2005. For the story behind the story, read my piece about the two Whites and Bonded Vault from 2010.
(photo: Tim White/WPRI)