After a lifetime of small-town holdups, chain gangs and jail escapes, a 78-year-old fugitive reached the end of the line - at the hands of a bat-wielding woman just five years his junior.
Nick George Montos, the first person ever to make the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list twice, walked into an antique shop Tuesday with a gun and threatened to kill owner Sonia Paine, 73, if she didn’t cooperate.
He tied her hands to a door with plastic restraints, but she wiggled free, tripped a silent alarm and hit him over the head with her aluminum bat.
The grandmother was hurt in the scuffle, but it was Montos who looked the worse for wear in court Wednesday.
“I don’t take any crap from anybody,” Paine said. “I beat the hell out of him.”
Montos, on the run for nine years, was arraigned on a variety of charges, including assault with intent to kill.
“His FBI rap sheet reads like a book,” said John Burke, an assistant prosecutor in Lake County, Ind., where Montos skipped bail in 1986 while awaiting trial for armed robbery. “He’s been in prison or jail in virtually every state east of the Mississippi at one time or another.”
According to Paine and police, Montos walked into the suburban Brookline shop and pulled out a .22-caliber gun with a crude silencer attached.” Paine said.
It was the second time in three years Paine had faced a gun in her shop. An armed robber broke a lamp over her son Stanley’s head and made off with two cases of jewelry in 1992.
Paine decided to cooperate, allowing the man to tie her hands. But when he cut a phone line her son uses for auctions, something inside her snapped.
“At that point, it was mother’s instinct. He’s going to cut my Stanley’s phone?” she said.
Paine got her hands free and went for the alarm. Then she grabbed the bat her son keeps under the counter and hit her attacker three times, driving him to his knees. But he wrenched the bat away from her, hit her on the head and sprayed mace in her face.
Shortly afterward, a police officer arrived and the would-be robber fled into a back room. When the robber leveled his gun at the officer, Paine hit him again and the officer knocked away the gun.
“I’m not surprised by what my mother did,” said Stanley Paine as he sifted for jewelry among broken display cases. “She’s a very feisty lady.”
His mother was nursing a head wound that required 10 stitches to close. She gave her age as 65; police said she was 73.