During Easter weekend 2015, a group of thieves made off with $300 million worth of jewelry, rappelling down an elevator shaft and “penetrating fortified doors.” Things got even better when police caught the thieves; six of the nine suspects were elderly, ranging from 58 to 76 years old.
Now Vanity Fair has the full story, detailing who the thieves were, the job and how they pulled it off, and finally, how they were caught. The ringleader was Brian Reader, who was allegedly involved in a 1971 heist where thieves stole from 268 safe deposit boxes in a London bank vault, then wrote “let Sherlock Holmes try to solve this.” At 76, and suffering from prostate cancer, Reader started reading up on the diamond industry for “one last hurrah.” The members he assembled were mostly similar–old, with various physical ailments, and looking to recapture their glory days as criminals. There’s even a mysterious figure, “Basil,” never caught, who was the gang’s inside man.
The vault they robbed was in the basement of a building on Hatton Garden, in London, where a lot of jewelers do business, and store their wares. After casing the building, and taking advantage of a mysterious fire that happened the day before Easter weekend, the thieves broke into the vault over the three-day weekend, in a job so strenuous that by the end, Reader and another thief had quit. The rest of the thieves were able to divide up $300 million worth of loot. How did they get caught? A combination of bragging in a lot in pubs, and CCTV cameras.
So if you love jewelry heists orchestrated by grizzled old people against the stormy backdrop of London, the Vanity Fair story is long, but worth the read.
(Via Vanity Fair)