When Leonardo Notarbartolo and his crew of professional diamond thieves pulled off the largest diamond heist in history on February 15, 2003, their freedom didn't last long. The police quickly found the Italian's rented office space in the Antwerp, Belgium, Diamond Center and arrested Notarbartolo and his team.
Despite the quick capture, though, the heist itself has been considered a perfect crime. The thieves entered more than a hundred airtight vaults in one of the most secure buildings in the world. They left just a few minutes later with more than $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other jewels, and no one noticed until the following day.
While we know it was done without tripping any alarms or a single injury, many of the details of exactly how the heist happened are unclear. Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History offers a very plausible theory of how it ma y have happened.
Notarbartolo had spent two years planning the heist, working with a team of three others headquartered in the same Diamond Center that housed the 160 vaults they were focused on. They learned about the security systems and figured out how to get around the protections without using any high tech trickery or complicated maneuvers. They succeeded in emptying 123 of the vaults, and their contents still have not been found.
Flawless authors Scott Selby and Greg Campbell offer a look at the history of Antwerp's diamond district and the diamond trade in addition to examining all aspects of the heist, the investigation and the resulting legal ramifications. Selby holds a law degree from Harvard, and is also a diamond expert. He paired with Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds, to research the heist and write the novel based on the true crime drama.
On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard in the process.
Although the crime was perfect, the getaway was not. The police zeroed in on a band of professional thieves fronted by Leonardo Notarbartolo, a dapper Italian who had rented an office in the Diamond Center and clandestinely cased its vault for over two years. The who of the crime had been answered, but the how remained largely a mystery.
Enter Scott Andrew Selby, a Harvard Law grad and diamond expert, and Greg Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds, who undertook a global goose chase to uncover the true story behind the daring heist. Tracking the threads of the story throughout Europe from Belgium to Italy, in seedy cafes and sleek diamond offices, the authors sorted through an array of conflicting details, divergent opinions and incongruous theories to put together the puzzle of what actually happened that Valentine’s Day weekend.
This real-life Ocean’s Eleven, a combination of diamond history, journalistic reportage, and riveting true-crime story, provides a thrilling in-depth study detailing the better-than-fiction heist of the century. Download and start listening now!