Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:15 AM
cali (80,165 posts)
Could the 'School of Turin' and Leonardo Notarbartolo be behind the Antwerp Airport Diamond Heist?
Last edited Tue Feb 19, 2013, 11:54 AM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
Yeah, yeah. Big heists fascinate me.
10 years ago this weekend, the largest diamond heist in history (until 2005) happened in the Antwerp Diamond district.
Leonardo Notarbartolo strolls into the prison visiting room trailing a guard as if the guy were his personal assistant. The other convicts in this eastern Belgian prison turn to look. Notarbartolo nods and smiles faintly, the laugh lines crinkling around his blue eyes. Though he's an inmate and wears the requisite white prisoner jacket, Notarbartolo radiates a sunny Italian charm. A silver Rolex peeks out from under his cuff, and a vertical strip of white soul patch drops down from his lower lip like an exclamation mark.
In February 2003, Notarbartolo was arrested for heading a ring of Italian thieves. They were accused of breaking into a vault two floors beneath the Antwerp Diamond Center and making off with at least $100 million worth of loose diamonds, gold, jewelry, and other spoils. The vault was thought to be impenetrable. It was protected by 10 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 loot was never found, but based on circumstantial evidence, Notarbartolo was sentenced to 10 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.
A couple of things to note: Notarbartolo is out on parole. The loot was never found and he never gave names.
Leonardo Notarbartolo had rented a sparsely furnished office for approximately $700 per month in the diamond centre three years prior to the robbery. It included a safe deposit box located in the vault beneath the building. It also included a tenant ID card that gave him 24-hour access to the building. There, he posed as an Italian diamond merchant in order to gain credibility. After the robbery, Notarbartolo and his team stole the security footage to conceal their identities. More than 123 out of 160 safe-deposit boxes were forced open, each of which was made of steel and copper and had both a key lock and combination lock.
The theft is believed to have been carried out by a five-man team, headed by Leonardo Notarbartolo. Notarbartolo had rented space in the diamond center, and was arrested after being connected to the crime by DNA evidence from a partially eaten sandwich found near the crime scene along with video tapes from the diamond centre. He was found guilty of orchestrating the heist. He is considered to be the leader of a ring of Italian thieves called "The School of Turin" who carried out the crime. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but has since been released on parole.
3 replies, 1775 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Could the 'School of Turin' and Leonardo Notarbartolo be behind the Antwerp Airport Diamond Heist? (Original post)
|Voice for Peace||Feb 2013||#1|
Response to cali (Original post)
Tue Feb 19, 2013, 11:42 AM
fishwax (25,061 posts)
2. Your "couple of things to note" got cut off
At least, I think that was a comment you were adding, because i didn't find the text in either of the links. So now I'm intrigued by the mysteriously incomplete explanation of his capture. He got caught because two what?