Diamond heists, burglar rings and vault break-ins are usually
fictional fodder for great movies like To Catch A Thief and the
Ocean’s 11 franchise. But in February 2003, a real-life gang of Italian
thieves completed what experts thought was a ‘mission impossible’. They broke
into the Antwerp Diamond Center vault and made out with
jewelry and other loot worth at least $100 million.
The vault was thought to be impenetrable. It was protected by ten layers of
security, including infrared heat detectors, Doppler radar, a magnetic field, a
seismic sensor, and a lock with 100 million possible combinations. The robbery
was called the heist of the century, and even now the police can’t explain
exactly how it was done.
The ring leader, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was arrested on circumstantial
evidence and was sentenced to ten years. He has always denied having anything to
do with the crime and has refused to discuss his case with journalists,
preferring to remain silent for the past six years.
writer, Joshua Davis, interviewed the wily Italian while he was in
prison and learned more about the ins and outs of the diamond heist to end all
diamond heists. The magazine printed the article in their April edition (out
yesterday), but demand for the piece ran so high they posted a free online
version for inquiring minds.
Trust us. It’s riveting stuff.
But if you’d rather wait for a big screen version, Lost creator,
J.J. Abrams, just bought the piece to produce through his Bad Robot production
After reading the story (and seeing his picture), it’s hard to imagine anyone
playing Notarbartolo other than the real man, himself. But if George Clooney
decided to take a break from his Italian villa for a spell – we wouldn’t