Benjamin Hoskins “Bingo Bruce” Paddock carried a laundry list of fake names and nicknames. Known as “Bingo Bruce,” or “Big Daddy,” or “Old Baldy,” the colorful criminal stayed on the FBI’s Most Wanted lineup from 1969 through 1977.
Paddock robbed Phoenix branches of Valley National Bank in 1960 and stole around $25,000. The FBI caught Paddock in Las Vegas. During the arrest, the bank robber resisted arrest and tried to run over an agent.
Hit with a 20-year sentence, Paddock decided to cut short his prison term and escaped from a federal prison in Texas in 1969. Diagnosed as psychopathic with suicidal tendencies, the FBI posters said Paddock should be considered “armed and dangerous.”
Six months after breaking out, Paddock robbed a bank in San Francisco. Being an avid bridge player, Paddock managed to live a secret life in Springfield, Oregon where he co-managed a bingo parlor.
Living under the alias of Bruce Werner Ericksen, Paddock was able to stay one step ahead of cops b continually altering his appearance and avoiding police contact which could have ended in fingerprinting.
“Bingo Bruce” saw his luck run out in 1978 when he was arrested. The feds paroled him within a year, and Paddock was back in the bingo business again.
“He was a nice guy,” said Chuck Ivey, a member of the parole board, said. “He did a hell of a lot for the children.”
Paddock’s luck turned south again in 1987 when the Oregon Attorney General’s Office came up with seven racketeering charges related to Paddock’s bingo business. As if that weren’t enough, Paddock was indicted for rolling back car odometers.
For over $620,000, Paddock settled the racketeering charges, pled no const to the roll-back case and claimed he had cancer.
Law enforcement looked askance. Besides the cancer claim, Paddock also claimed he was a crew chief for an auto racing team, a former Chicago Bears football player and a World War 2 survivor.
When the last verdict in Paddock’s legal journey arrived, Judge George Woodrich let him off with a $100,000 fine and zero jail time.
“This is an economic crime, and he’s an old man,” Woodrich told The Orlando Sentinel. “My view is to let him go and good riddance.”
Paddock returned to Texas and stayed there until he died in 1998. According to his girlfriend, Laurel Paulson, Paddock survived on a VA pension and running her machine shop.