Mel Gibson in upcoming Ottawa Valley Bandit movie

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A film based on the true criminal exploits of a bank robber who called Valley home and flew from Pembroke Airport to lead his life as a criminal is in the works next year.

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Ottawa Valley publisher Tim Gordon announced Monday that The Flying Bandit, published by Burnstown Publishing House and written by Robert Knuckle with Ed Arnold, will be released as a major film over the next year with Mel Gibson, Elisha Cuthbert and Josh Duhamel. According to a statement from Variety, the film will be called Bandit.

The film is based on the story of Canada’s most daring armed robber, Gilbert Galvan Jr. or “Robert Whiteman” as his Canadian family and friends called him. Galvan escaped from prison in the United States and traveled to Canada where he assumed his new identity, fell in love, got married and introduced himself as a traveling security consultant. However, unbeknownst to his wife, he was leading a double life. When he left on these so-called “business trips,” he was flying over Canada and having managed over 60 bank robberies and jewelry thefts. Nicknamed “The Flying Bandit”, he became Canada’s most daring armed robber who never fired.

Gilbert Galvan is led from Pembroke Provincial Court by officers of the Ontario Provincial Police. Galvan pleaded guilty to a series of armed robberies across Canada and attempted theft. This photo was taken in 1988. Photo by Ed Arnold / Postmedia Network /jpg, MP

He had come to Canada in the 1980s when he escaped from a Michigan prison. He settled in Pembroke where he flew in and out of town, robbing banks and returning home that night. He was arrested at Pembroke Airport, eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison before being transferred to a prison in the United States.

Duhamel will play Mr. Galvan Jr. and Gibson is a lifelong gangster he gets involved with.

Debbie Christinck is a reporter for the Local Journalism Initiative working for The Eganville Leader. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.



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