Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kent Update

This elaborate bank robbery in Kent, England has really captured my imagination (I tend to be a little obsessive, so it doesn't take much). As a result though, I spent most of my morning today scouring British news sites for the latest on the heist. This is what I’ve stumbled across so far:

I found I was a little imprecise in my previous post... what was robbed Wednesday morning was not a traditional bank, but actually a security depot that held old currency for the Bank of England. The depot was charged with sorting through torn or defaced bills to be taken out of circulation. Interestingly, the fact that this money has been in circulation means that it will likely be more difficult to track down because it is much less identifiable.

Yesterday’s estimate that “at least” £25 million British Pounds had been stolen has turned out to be rather conservative. Some sources now report that it's actually closer to £50 million Pounds (£1 British Pound is around $1.75 U.S. Dollars - so that is almost $87 million). This might be a thorn in the robbers’ side though, because it may end up being too much cash. The Daily Mirror quotes a former senior British officer as saying “They've bitten off more than they can chew. The case is so high profile it will be almost impossible for them to spend the money.”

There are conflicting estimates of how many people were involved, but at least six armed men wearing balaclavas were at the depot early Wednesday morning. They bound the 15 employees inside with plastic ties and had the manager, Colin Dixon, help them forklift pallets with the two tons of money into their large white truck.

The burglars then ordered Dixon not to call police for at least an hour after they left or his family would be killed. An hour later, one of the bound staff managed to break free and activate the alarm. Around the same time, the police received an anonymous phone call informing them where Dixon’s wife and son were held.

Don't you worry though, the Kent police aren't taking this lightly. It's being investigated by their “serious and organised crime unit.” Apparently “serious” is pretty good too, because today there was a “significant development” as police arrested a 29-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman in connection with the robbery. Just in case these leads dead end, police are also offering a £2 million reward for information resulting in the capture and conviction of the Kent crew.

If the £50 million estimate holds true, it makes this the biggest cash bank robbery in history. Here are the other biggest robberies (cash and other) that I’m aware of:

1963 – The Great Train Robbery: Robbers stole £2.6 million from a London mail train.

1978 – The Lufthansa Heist: Almost $6 million in cash and jewelry was stolen from the Lufthansa airlines terminal at JFK airport in New York (the heist was later depicted in the movie Goodfellas).

1983 – The East London Bank Robbery: Robbers stole almost £6 million from a Security Express depot in East London.

1983 – Brinks Mat Robbery: Six armed robbers posing as security guards got in to the Brink's-Mat high security vault at Heathrow Airport and stole £26 million in gold and diamonds.

1987 – Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery: Thieves looted safe deposit boxes after being shown into the vault and got away with an estimated £40 million.

1990 – Bearer Bond Mugging: Muggers stole £292million in bearer bonds at knifepoint from courier Nicholas Lane on a quiet City side street.

1997 – Dunbar Armored Robbery: Thieves made of with around $18.9 million from the armored car depot.

2003 Central Bank of Iraq: Nearly $1 billion is stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq the day after the U.S. begins to bomb Baghdad.

2004 – Belfast Northern Bank Robbery: Thieves believed to be connected to the IRA stole more than £26.5million from the headquarters of the Northern Bank.

2005 – Banco Central Burglary at Fortaleza: Burglars rented an empty property near this Brazilian bank and tunneled over 78 meters to break in underneath the bank and escape with almost $70 million.

2006 Wiltshire Robbery: A crew smashed down the perimeter fence around property tycoon Harry Hyams house and stole paintings and antiques valued at more than £30 million.


mel said...

hmmm... I find it curious that you are so interested in the topic of bank robbery. are you planning a little heist of your own?

Marc said...

Law School typically does push one to consider career alternatives.

mel said...

well, may I suggest doing it like the Italian Job (have you seen that movie)? then you'd get to ride around in Mini Cooper's.

Marc said...

Any movie where they don't end up caught is fine by me... and I'm certainly open to having accomplices like Charlize Theron involved.

Gargantus said...

well if you make enough money stealing, you can probably make her your gf...

Marc said...

You make a compelling argument Garg.

Lizzy said...

This is starting to sound even more like Bandits now that there's a women involved. They just need to throw in another guy with a soft heart who loves Bonnie Tyler.

melbo said...

What the f?!? I support you through the planning phases and you run off with Charlize Theron? Mark my words - that hoochie won't get a cent.

mel said...

Today at lunch, this girl told me my driving reminded her of Charlize Theron in the Italian Job. I started laughing so hard because it was such a coincidence.

So, if you need a driver...

woo said...

I hope those stupid brits realize that if they would have just surrendered to the EU completely, and gone with the Euro, they would have their money still in their pockets. Oh well, live and learn.