Of the four known members of the MacLauchlan Gang – Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan, Margaret Ann MacLauchlan, Joe Sperling and Thelma Mosier – it could be said that only Thelma went “straight”. The MacLauchlans, of course, never had the chance to show what their future lives might have been, since they were murdered on March 21, 1966 in a Mafia-style hit a few days before their scheduled trial. Veteran criminal Joe Sperling served his time, got out and a few years later served 12 more for a further trafficking charge. Thelma Mosier, it appears, saw not only the errors of her ways but also understood that the best way to avoid meeting the same fate as the MacLauchlans or Joe Sperling was to keep her nose clean, her head down and her mouth shut.
“During her trial,” said her niece, Cheryl Freeman (daughter of Thelma’s step-sister Laverne Roberts), during a recent conversation we had, “My aunt never talked.” According to Cheryl, Thelma, in a way, was rewarded for her discretion.
A somewhat welcoming arrival in Kingston Pen
One of the rewards appeared to be waiting for her when she arrived at Kingston Penitentiary to begin serving her seven years. According to Cheryl, Thelma had been “terrified” of what she might experience in Kingston. However, she found instead, rather mysteriously, an indication that her incarceration might be a little more genteel than average. Her cell – unlike the usual ones waiting for “new arrivals” – had been equipped with a nice carpet and had some pictures on the wall. It wasn’t the Ritz but it was better than a cement floor with a bucket in the corner. It was not clear to Cheryl Freeman how or why this had been arranged beforehand but it was.
Thelma for the most part appears to have been treated with “kid gloves” by the other inmates. For example, there was an incident when another prisoner approached her threateningly, knife in hand. All Thelma had to do was quietly raise her hand and say, “Put it down” and the inmate backed off. It appears that someone or some organization was looking out for her.
It’s the thought that counts!
And there was more of this rather exceptional treatment. Because, according to Cheryl, Thelma had not “talked” (about the doctor or anyone else in the gang) during her Burnaby trial, a substantial amount of money had been promised to her. The source of these funds was not known for sure by Cheryl or her mother Laverne Roberts but the money was said to be held in trust by a certain lawyer. However, in that particular instance, the exceptional treatment proved more theoretical than actual. This was because, according to Cheryl’s recollection, the lawyer who was supposed to be holding the money in trust for Thelma went instead to the US and disappeared. But it’s the thought that counts, you know!
Another curious detail: Upon Thelma’s release – after serving only three years of her seven year term – when she moved out to Chilliwack to stay with her step-sister Laverne, both Thelma and the Roberts family were placed under surveillance by the police. It seems to have been the case that, upon her release from Kingston, Thelma was not forgotten by the police. Nor was she forgotten by old associates still thankful for her silence. For, after staying with the Roberts family in Chilliwack for awhile upon her release from Kingston, Thelma moved to Vancouver. Cheryl’s brother told Cheryl that, when “moving day” arrived, a black “gangster-type” limousine came to the house and gave her a lift.