10 Of The Most Notorious Female Criminals In The History Of Canada

Canada may be known internationally as a peace-loving country, but that doesn't mean all of the nation's citizens feel quite the same way. Some Canadians, like the women below, enter a life of crime, breaking the law for reasons they assumedly deem justifiable.

While we would never celebrate or advocate criminal actions of any sort, crime is still a part of Canadian history, and shouldn't be ignored.

Some of the women found in our list of Canada's most notorious female criminals could be deemed anti-heroes by some, while others would be see them as immoral deviants. Either way, each woman's criminal acts are still remembered today, thus earning them the title of "notorious."

Monica Proietti, aka "Machine Gun Molly"

A Montreal native, Monica Proeitti was arguably fated towards a life of crime. Proeitti's grandmother did some hard time for stealing, and allegedly ran a "crime school" for kids in the neighborhood, and both of her husbands were linked to the underworld, one being Anthony Smith, a Scottish gangster who was deported in 1962, and the other Viateur Tessier, who was jailed in 1966 for armed robbery.

But Proeitti far surpassed her roots and spouses in terms of criminal notoriety. During her tenure as a prominent Montreal gangster, Proeitti robbed over 20 different banks (with the help of accomplices), amassing a small fortune of $100, 000. Better yet, Proietti was said to bring her kids along for robberies, redefining "bring your kids to work day" entirely.

Proeitti eventually met an end fitting for her fast-paced life as a criminal on September 19th, 1967, what was supposed to be her "last" job. Following a bank robbery, in which the funds were intended to go towards Proeitti starting anew in Florida, a high speed chase ensued in the northern sector of Montreal, ending in a fatal crash into a bus.

The next day, when police were investigating the recent whereabouts of Proeitti, a gold-plated ("right down to the trigger") semi automatic machine gun was found in an apartment rented by one of her recent lovers. No definite link was made between the gold gun and Proeitti, but the police had a hunch it was hers, which is enough for us.

Angele Grenier, "The Maple Syrup Rebel"

There's an underbelly to the maple syrup industry of Quebec, and right in the thick of it is Angele Grenier, a self-acclaimed smuggler and dealer of Canada's sweetest export. Deemed a "maple syrup rebel" by the BBC, Grenier has gained some international notoriety recently, mostly for not backing down against the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec.

You see, in Quebec, maple syrup producers pretty much need to follow the rules of the FPAQ; the organization sets the wage at which producers are paid for syrup, charges a 12% fee per pound, and claims a majority of a producers "crop."

Mrs. Grenier isn't a fan of this system. Loading her and her husbands syrup (which they've been farming in Sainte-Clotilde-de-Beauce for years) into barrels, Grenier then smuggles her amber gold across the provincial line and sell it in New Brunswick.

To Mrs. Grenier, the FPAQ is a maple syrup "mafia" she wants no part of, going on to say the "the situation is completely ridiculous. Only a few of us dare to fight the federation because it built a system based on fear, and it has much bigger financial resources than us."

Neither Grenier or her husband have been arrested for their maple syrup smuggling, though she's already received a $500, 000 fine, and jail time is predicted.

The Heavy Heart Bandit

It takes some serious gumption to rob a bank, and even more when you're doing it solely with your words and no weapon in sight. That's pretty much what the Toronto bank robber known solely as the "heavy heart bandit" accomplished, twice in one day.

Sporting a T-shit with a large heart emblem (hence the moniker), the 20-to-25 year old black female walked right into a bank on Albion and Finch in Toronto at about 1:50pm on June 19th, 2009, and told the bank teller to to pay up. No gun was seen on the woman, though she said she claimed to have one on her person. With cash in tow, she then left the bank.

Only a couple of hours later, at around 7:20pm, and only a few blocks down the road on Wilson Avenue, the exact same woman pulled the same stunt at a second bank. The rule of three thankfully didn't apply in this instance, however, as the Heavy Heart Bandit hasn't been reported on since nor was she apprehended by authorities.

Photo cred - Dushy.ca

Wendy Kiu-Sang Leung Yu, "The GTA Cocaine Kingpin"

Be honest, probably wouldn't think of any old woman to be able to run an expansive cocaine ring or the like. And that's what makes Wendy Kiu-Sang Leung Yu such a notable Canadian criminal.

Allegedly sneaking right under the noses of the RCMP for years, Yu was officially implicated "in a to traffic multi-kilograms of cocaine into Ontario, Canada" on Febuary 4th, 2010. Yu was well above 60 at the time. Yu is believed to have supplied cocaine dealers in the GTA, but has escaped arrest, even after her cocaine ring was shut down by the RCMP.

Photo cred - DailyMail

Stéphanie Beaudoin, "The World's Hottest Criminal"

About a year ago, a Quebec woman caused an internet-uproar, not so much for what she did, but more for how she looked while doing it. Yes, that's completely objectifying and awful, but it happened, with Stéphanie Beaudoin, a Quebec citizen charged with 114 different charges was named the "world's hottest criminal" by more than a few sources.

Aged 21 at the time, Beaudoin's long list of charges included breaking and entering, thievery, and the possession of nine stolen guns. Beaudoin then gained internet-fame after a tweet was sent out with her image, as she sported a bikini.

Looks can't get you everywhere, as Beaudoin is now facing 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to almost forty different break-ins and other crimes. Her court case is set to resume sometime after the holidays, and an official sentence will be decreed.

Pearl Heart, "The Wild West Bandit'

Even though Pearl Heart's most notorious crime was committed in Old West-era America, she was still born in Canada, and so deserves a spot on this list, especially since she became something of a media frenzy in our neighboring nation to the south.

Heart's claim to criminal fame occured on May 30th, 1899, when she, along with a man who went by the name of "Joe Boot," robbed a stagecoach traveling between parts of Arizona. Decked out in menswear, and equipped with a .38 revolver, Heart and her accomplice stole $431.20 from the stagecoach's passengers, then fled the seen on horseback.

The duo's triumph didn't last long. On June 5th, 1899, Heart and Boot were apprehended by Sheriff Truman of Pinal County and incarcerated shortly after. For a while, Heart was a criminal starlet, as the nation went nuts for a female stagecoach robber.

Heart was eventually released from prison on 1902 thanks to a pardon from Arizona's governor. The exact reason up for why Heart received the pardon is up for speculation. Heart's life after prison is somewhat spotty as well, even her death could be set anywhere between December 30, 1955 to 1960.

Marie-Josèphe Angélique

In the spring of 1734, a fire spread through Montreal's Saint-Paul street, destroying large sections of what is now known as Old Montreal. When authorities investigated the fire, one person was cited as the cause for the blaze: Marie-Josèphe Angélique. She was hanged the very same day for the crime.

A story well-knwon to Montrealers, what makes Marie-Josèphe Angélique's death so tragic is the fact that she may not have started the fire at all. Modern historians note the lack of evidence for Angélique's conviction, which was mostly based on hearsay propagated by upper class citizens.

But while we may never know if Angélique started the fire, and whether or not she can be deemed a criminal, her story has survived, making her quite notorious either way.

The Pirate Bandit

No matter if you're a guy or a girl, robbing four banks in 30 minutes is a near-superhuman feat, and that's exactly what the Pirate Bandit did in April 2012, all the while wearing a Pittsburgh Pirate's baseball hat. To be specific, the Pirate Bandit stole from banks in Ancaster and Hamilton within the half hour window, and is suspected of other robberies in Burlington and Waterloo.

No individual was ever apprehended for the Pirate Bandits crimes, though the police suspect she has since expanded her criminal horizons away from bank robberies and onto other ventures.

Renee Acoby, Canada's Second Female Dangerous Offender

In Canada, citizens can be given a "dangerous offender designation," which is essentially a way of warning anyone that the person in question is violent, dangerous, and otherwise a danger to the safety of others. Little over 500 Canadians are currently deemed dangerous offenders, with Renee Acoby being the only living female Canadian in the group.

Interestingly, Acoby received her DO status after already being in jail, largely due to six hostage situations enacted by the female Canadian criminal. All of said hostage situations were quite violent in nature, with the most horrific occuring in 2005, when Acoby and another inmate violently tortured a prison nurse and counselor over the course of several hours.

In 2011, Acoby was designated a dangerous offender, and is known to spend a majority of her time in prison alone due to her violent nature. Acoby authored a blog post on her experience in prison as well, which you can read here.

photo cred - canadalive

Karla Homolka

Few would like to remember the actions of Karla Homolka, who, along with her husband Paul Bernardo, was responsible for the death of two Ontario teenage girls, and her own sister. Bernardo and Homolka's criminal actions are quite graphic, and will not be recounted in detail here.

Arrested in 1993 for their crimes, Homolka received a lighter sentence than Bernardo, claiming she was abused by her husband and force to enact such reprehensible actions, and struck a plea deal.

Video footage of the couple's crimes would refute Homolka's claims, though her deal remained intact, and she was release from prison in 2005. Since, Homolka has remarried, given birth to a baby boy, and moved to Quebec. Despite claims that she moved to Guadeloupe with her family, using the name Leanne Bordelais, recent reports have cited that Homolka still resides in the province.

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