it started with a bicycle theft

Forrest Silva Tucker is best remembered for one of the most innovative escapes in San Quentin’s history. But twenty years later in 1999 he wasn’t so lucky…

San Quentin weightlifters found here

A 78-year-old career bank robber, who once tweaked San Quentin guards by escaping with two colleagues in a prison- made kayak named “Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Marin Yacht Club,” is in trouble again.

DIY kayak found here

Forrest Silva Tucker, a reputed member of the real “Over The Hill Gang” in Boston, is in custody on suspicion of robbing a Florida bank and leading sheriff’s deputies on a car chase.

image found here

In trying to avoid arrest Thursday, Tucker allegedly blundered into an enclosed schoolyard and was captured after he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a palm tree.

Deputies said the chase ensued after Tucker, wanted for a bank robbery earlier that day in the town of Jupiter, was spotted visiting his girlfriend in Pompano Beach.

real life girlfriend from “Dog Day Afternoon” found here

You don’t normally think of a 78-year- old man having a girlfriend, but apparently he had quite a way with the ladies,” said a spokesman for the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.

Back in August 1979, Tucker and fellow inmates William McGirk and John Waller had daringly launched a home made kayak from a partially hidden beach on prison grounds.

Their flimsy craft, made of pieces of plastic sheeting, wood, duct tape and Formica, lasted just long enough for them to paddle several hundred yards to freedom right under the noses of the tower guards.

Toothpick ferris wheel made by San Quentin inmates found here

Within a matter of months, McGirk and Waller were back at San Quentin. They were tried twice for escape, but both times amused jurors refused to convict them. Tucker, meanwhile, remained free.

The next time he surfaced was a few years later in a Boston credit scam. The judge hearing the case freed him on his own recognizance after Marin County prosecutors said they did not want to try him for the San Quentin escape. Lost in the official correspondence between the two states was the fact that Tucker still had years to serve on his original San Quentin sentence. Tucker walked out of the Boston court and never went back.

At the time of his arrest for the Bay Area robberies, Tucker already had a rap sheet going back to a 1936 bicycle theft. There were also two other convictions, including a Florida bust in which he had escaped from a South Dade County hospital by picking the lock on his leg irons.

Shop for your human restraints here

Over the next few years, Tucker was identified by law enforcement agencies as a member of a group of elderly criminals in Massachusetts called the “Over the Hill Gang,” which robbed supermarkets in Boston and its suburbs. He was suspected in 17 armed robberies over the years, most recently in southeastern Florida.

Tucker’s 20 years as a California fugitive came to an ignominious end against a palm tree last week.

Cell tower disguised as palm tree found here

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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A cell tower disguised as a palm tree! How bizarre!

    • I wonder if it fools any birds?

      • There is one disguised as a pine tree near Colorado Springs. Doesn’t fool the birds, either.

  2. Sometimes I think ppl like him are born to be what they are.

  3. It’s a good thing he was caught in Jupiter, because a palm in Uranus would have been kind of uncomfortable.

  4. So you can get off by amusing jurors? *Takes notes*

  5. One wonders what he could have been if he had used his powers of imagination for something productive.

    We have phony cell phone towers in New Jersey that are supposed to look like pine trees. I can’t IMAGINE they fools anyone. Not even birds. They’re supposed to blend into the background but the irony is that they call your attention.

  6. Okay he is a felon but you’ve got to admire his ingenuity in escaping, He would have been a welcome addition to an POW Camp escape committee!

  7. love the san quentin body builders – makes me wonder why those high-waisted speedo trunks ever went out of style!

  8. I’m bookmarking that Human Restraints site.

    • …. and now I know why 🙂

  9. Those high-waisted speedo trunks leave no margin for error when it comes to sudden trouser evacuations of the runny kind.

  10. I had quite a different image spring to mind when you mentioned a ‘Florida Bust’.

    The King

    • Good Lord Your Majesty, that child has enormous bazookas

  11. I love guys like this, i disagree with everyone in that he did use his intelligenct productively to live exactly how he wanted, hell we should all be so lucky and as far as i can tell he didn’t kill anyone he just liked to rob places.

  12. Glad it wasn’t a real palm tree, a coconut could have dropped on his head and killed the loveable old rogue*

    *victim counselors please take note

  13. You would think if you were going to marry a pre-op transexual in 1971, you would want to at least be the taller one.

    • I think the height difference was the last thing he considered

  14. Why do I now have the urge to make my own kayak out of Tesco’s carrier bags…?

    • Scarlet, I have no idea. But watch your nails please…

  15. I think I’m quite old enough to qualify for the local Over The Hill Gang. Just have to work out which shops will be too stunned by a bunch of gun-toting oldies to put up any resistance.

  16. Ha! Reminds me of a make-shift raft my sister and I constructed as children. She actually had the guts to test it out, too. Of course, she is the stronger swimmer…

  17. There are lots of old criminals in Florida. Apparently they like the warm climate just like other people. I just wish they wouldn’t live in my neighborhood. Especially the sex offenders. Ugh.

  18. Charming as these old rogues are, bicycle theft is unforgiveable. Banks? Meh. Bicycles? I’m a hardliner.

  19. Oh I love Dog Day Afternoon. Thanks. Must watch it again soon.

  20. You don’t hear much about prison escapes these days. Wonder if the prisons have gotten tighter or if the crooks are just lazier? 🙂

  21. I’m cool with robbing banks, but stealing bicycles? That’s just mean.

  22. I spent a little too much time on the Humane Restraints website. Now I wonder a)what this implies b)why the navigation on their site is so awful and 3)where they found all those furtive looking models.

    • From Furtive Modelling School

  23. The judge hearing the case freed him on his own recognizance after Marin County prosecutors said they did not want to try him for the San Quentin escape. Lost in the official correspondence between the two states was the fact that Tucker still had years to serve on his original San Quentin sentence.

    Maybe the judge was as amused as the previous juries had been. It’s hard to imagine that he didn’t realize Tucker still had time left on his sentence — I mean, isn’t that kind of the whole point of escaping from prison?

    • I think we need to take it up with Bill Wallace at He wrote the original article

  24. I live in Miami Dade County here SE tip of Florida, USA.Jupiter is about 90 miles north. (I mean the city, not the planet). I assure you we will be on the lookout for this guy.

  25. ‘You don’t normally think of a 78-year- old man having a girlfriend.’ The Broward County Sheriff’s department may want to look into some re-education on age appropriate attitudes for one or two of its staff.

  26. Speaking of the “Over the Hill gang in Boston”, my latest client is the niece of this wonderful man

    • Ummmm, you might want to do your dead-level best in your work for the niece. I mean, I’m not trying to impugn Bulger’s character. No way. I wouldn’t do that. Wouldn’t be prudent. Just thinking, if anything went wrong…

      • I agree with HPj, Malach. His brothers didn’t fare so well either did they?

  27. Ha ha, what a genius

  28. The San Quentin weightlifters brought a little smile to my day, and a little stretch in my underwear.

  29. If this guy tried to perpetrate a crime on me, I’d stall for time. At his age, something’s bound to happen soon — maybe a sudden urge to go pee, or even a major failure in the memory circuits that make him wonder, “Why am I here?” (and I don’t mean that in the existential sense).

    I like the site. Really, I like it a lot, nursemyra. I’ve seen your great comments elsewhere, so it was nice to visit you at “home.”

  30. Very inspiring. Now I want to design some restraints. I think I could do better. Why shouldn’t they shock you when you struggle? Let’s take it to the next level and integrate a tazer system. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t get stunned when attempting to get out. Deal with that Houdini.

  31. Well he certainly had a run of luck better than most people. I bet he beats the latest rap, too.

  32. All these years living in Boston, and I’d only ever heard of the Winter Hill Gang.

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