>> Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell
Publisher: Union Square Press
Publication Date: 2010
The Short Version:
An interesting and at times exciting true story of a daring crime and the investigation that has still not answered all the questions.
Why I Read It:
In 2003 a group of Italian thieves pulled off a multimillion dollar theft from a secure vault in a secure building in the heavily patrolled and secure diamond district of Antwerp, Belgium.
This book begins with the early stages of the planning for the caper. The patience and planning of the thieves is amazing. The holes in the security systems are in hindsight unbelievable. The amount of jewels, cash and other valuables stolen is hard to imagine.
Through a lucky break the investigators quickly identified a few of the thieves. Their own confidence in their abilities led them to be caught.
The story follows the planning and execution of the crime and then the investigation and prosecution of some of the criminals. Nevertheless there are still many unanswered questions. Among them is the location of the stolen gems and property.
This was a story straight out of an Ocean’s Eleven (and so on) movie only it’s true. In fact, the authors included several quotes from the “Ocean’s” movies that easily correlated to the actual events.
I was as fascinated with the story of the crime and it’s planning and execution as I was with learning about the Antwerp Diamond District and the business of diamonds. The fact that even many years later some of the details of how the thieves managed to pull off this crime are still unknown is amazing.
This read at times more like fiction than non-fiction. At one point The Hubster asked me a question and I said “I can’t stop reading right now – they’re in the vault.” I was so wrapped up in the tension I couldn’t interrupt it. The story of the planning, execution and investigation of this crime is highly readable and fascinating for so many reasons.
I enjoyed the background information on the diamond industry and it’s history as much as the story of the men that pulled off this crime that has never been fully solved. If not for some lucky breaks and major clues found by a man who hated to see trash dumped in the forest near his home, the thieves might have never been caught at all.
This is a highly entertaining as well as informative look at a crime that has been solved yet remains unsolved.