It was alleged at the time that in the Spring of 1908, Kirkconnell and his brother sailed away with a shipload of goods obtained under false pretences from eastern merchants. It was referred to as “the most colossal theft in the history of the Atlantic coast”. This ship sailed for Honduras and arrived safely where both alleged thieves were apprehended, and one of them, Kirkconnell, escaped by risking his life at night by diving from the boat on which he was being brought to New York.
The search continued from that night, and Kirkconnell was finally located in Whonnock. At this time he was the owner of a ranch in Whonnock, and was reputed to be very wealthy. As the July 7th 1909 edition of The Province reports, Col. Edward Kirkconnell was an alias and his real name was in fact Francis G. Bailey.
The charges against Bailey included the alleged theft of a steamer 265 feet long, three motor launches and 1000 gallons of gasoline, plows, electrical motors, telegraphic equipment and the plan for clearing a town site, the cash value of which was estimated as well on to $250,000.
Detective Wilber had been on Bailey’s trail all the way from Halifax before tracking him down in Whonnock.
For more information on Kirkconnell, see this Looking Back column by Fred Braches.