Did Capone hide out in Saskatchewan?

Kelly-Anne Riess speaks to Tunnel actors in Moose Jaw
Photo: Thomas Bartlett

Filmmaker to explore connection
Aaron Stuckel
Moose Jaw Times-Herald
Reprinted in the Regina Leader-Post on August 4, 2012 

One of Moose Jaw’s biggest tourist attractions will be getting an in-depth look as Saskatchewan documentary filmmaker Kelly-Anne Riess dives into the world of Al Capone and the bootlegging era of 1920’s Moose Jaw.

Riess, the Regina product who has had documentaries air on A&E Biography, History Television and CBC, said she was inspired to investigate Capone’s time in Moose Jaw after she lived in the city.  

“I wanted to pursue it a little more and investigate because a lot of people always ask whether he was really in Moose Jaw. And no one really knows for sure,” she said. “Nobody really has taken that on at a professional documentary level, so I thought it’d be kind of fun to explore.”

With a production start date of Aug. 11th, Riess said she hopes to have the filming done in a year. She said she will be using different bits of hard evidence like record books with Capone’s alias “Al Brown” listed in them, and a supposed court case in Regina over a busted liquor shipment, to try and solidify the link between Capone and Moose Jaw. But she doesn’t expect the investigation to be easy.
Kelly-Anne Riess with Mac the Moose
Photo: Thomas Bartlett

“He was involved in illegal activity so he probably didn’t want his whereabouts known either. So if he was in Moose Jaw, he probably was quite careful about it,” she said.

With a tough trail to follow, Riess said she isn't expecting to come to a hard-and-fast conclusion about Capone's time in Moose Jaw, but does hope to validate the stories of family tales of sighting the gangster. 

"My assumption is that the evidence trail won't be hard enough to resolve (anything)," she said. "I'm hoping it will just be a fun project and it will just kind of leave the viewers kind of curious about whether it's true or not. I think it will end up being an open-ended case." 

With that in mind, Riess said she will also be relying on tales from the Moose Jaw Tunnels and local folklore to help connect the dots. She has started a Facebook page where people can log on and share their family's stories.

"Right now I'm just trying to track down some of those family members that have those stories," she said. "A lot of them have moved away from Moose Jaw so I'm just trying to track them down."

Despite the challenge that lies ahead, Riess said the interest in gangsterism has peaked with shows like Boardwalk Empire capturing the imaginations of many viewers. She said the fact that those types of stories have possibly occurred in Saskatchewan's own backyard makes the idea of a documented Al Capone ghost hunt more exciting. 

"It was the 1920s and it was kind of a different time. With prohibition, they were kind of the only access to maybe a freer way of life," she said. 

Riess is asking anyone with any information about Al Capone or other bootleggers to visit her Facebook page at findingaldocumentarygroups.facebook.com or email her at kelly_riess@yahoo.ca.