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“Past could rob Smith & Wesson of top gun”

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Headline of last week’s Financial Times story about the recent unmasking of the chairman of the board of the handgun maker.

It seems James Joseph Minder’s past wasn’t the typical rise through the corporate hierarchy. Last month, newspapers in Detroit and Arizona reported that he spent 15 years in prison in the 1950s and 1960s for a series of armed robberies employing a sawed-off shotgun, and an attempted prison escape.

His first prison term came after he robbed a shop in the Detroit area in 1951. He served a second stretch after taking $55,000 from Manufacturer’s National Bank in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1954.

While on parole in 1959, Minder began a crime spree involving eight store robberies while he was a journalism student at the University of Michigan. He was apprehended later that year after a car chase through Detroit. An attempted prison escape in 1962 resulted in his third sentence being extended.

He said he had not told Smith & Wesson about his past as “nobody asked.”

Sure, this story was in all the U.S. papers, but nowhere with as amusing a headline as the one above, an example of the kind of writing that’s gonna cause me to renew my trial Financial Times subscription.

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