The biggest theft of the 20th century: 100 million euros stolen from the safest place in the world

In total there were 10 different systems. The safe door had a combination dial, a normal lock, a seismic sensor, a magnetic sensor, a grid of steel bars and an external security camera. Already inside the safe there is a keypad to disarm the sensors, a light sensor, a heat and motion sensor and an internal camera. Notarbartolo told his employer that this was impossible and handed over the photographs he had taken with his pen.

Six months later, the jeweler met him in a warehouse on the outskirts of Antwerp. Inside, like in a movie, he had built an exact copy of the safe, and three other Italians were waiting for him, identified as Genie, an alarm specialist; the Monster, great expert in lock picking, electrician, mechanic and driver; and the King of Keys, an old man capable of replicating the incredibly complicated keys to the safe.

They all came up with a plan.

The flight

On February 14, 2003, Notarbartolo entered the safe posing as a jewelry dealer and, when no one saw him, he took the opportunity to spray hairspray on the heat and motion sensor. This would mean that for a few minutes the alarm would not go off in case someone enters the safe. On the 16th, two days later, during the final of the Diamond Games, a tennis tournament organized by the diamond merchants of Antwerp, they will strike.

With the Diamond District empty, Notarbartolo drove his rental Peugeot 307 to a building next to the Diamond Center. The Monster, the Genie, the King of Keys and Speedy, his childhood friend, got out of the car. The King of Keys opened the lock and the Genie climbed onto the roof. From there he went to the Diamond Center building, where, Using a polyester shield, he deactivated a heat alarm and was able to gain entry. The rest of the thieves followed him, covering the security cameras with black plastic.

They reached the safe. The Engineers began, one by one, to disarm the door's security measures, without setting off a single alarm. When it came time to open the door with the security key, the King of Keys didn't have to do anything: the security guard had left the original hanging on the wall.

They turned off the lights and, in total darkness, opened the door. The Monster entered and, just as they had practiced in their replica of the vault, he took 11 steps to the center of the vault, raised his hands and deactivated the panel that activated the sensors. Likewise, he then used another shield to disable the heat sensor, which they had temporarily hidden with the hairspray, as well as insulating tape for the light sensor. Once everything was ready, they got to work.

By around 5:30 a.m., more than a hundred safes had been opened. This was his limit moment, because later, the Diamond Quarter would begin to fill with life. After an hour of loading the car with bags full of gold bars, jewelry, millions and millions of dollars in different currencies, they drove to the apartment Notarbartolo had rented in the area.

Leave a Comment