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Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History Hardcover – February 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Two experts on diamonds--Selby wrote his master's thesis on them, Campbell authored Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World's Most Precious Stones--turn in a top-notch true-crime read while dissecting the plot, the payoff, and the post-op investigation of a group of professional thieves who ripped off a supposedly impregnable vault in Antwerp, the heart of the world's diamond trade. As Selby and Campbell probe the personalities and mechanics behind the 2003 heist, readers will learn plenty about diamonds, their value and handling, the ubiquitous black market, the history of De Beers, the intricacies of insurance, and the safeguards (or lack thereof) meant to secure a constant flow of cut and uncut diamonds. Readers will also become familiar with the elite fraternity of thieves determined to carry out the impossible crime, known as the "School of Turin," and it's hard not to root for them. The minutiae of the preparation, the drama of the robbery, and the details of the investigation are all equally fascinating, supplying myriad surprises all the way through the machinations of the Belgium justice system (even now, the loot is still at large). Like a diamond, this true-life caper is clear, colorful, and brilliant. 24 b&w illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* In February 2003, thieves broke into the Diamond Center in Antwerp—one of the most secure diamond facilities in the world—and absconded with merchandise worth, according to some reports, in the neighborhood of $500 million. This excellent true-crime account lays out the heist in precise detail (although some elements of the crime, such as how the crooks got through a combination-locked vault door, remain shrouded in mystery). The thieves, led by notorious Italian jewel thief Leonardo Notarbartolo, were a clever bunch—this was an audacious, complex, and well-planned operation—but they also made some really dumb mistakes, like throwing away bags of trash with incriminating evidence inside them. Fans of caper books and movies will be in seventh heaven here, not only for the detail-rich descriptions of the crime but also for the narrative style. This is an exciting and suspenseful story, and it reads like the best caper fiction, with lively characters and some surprising twists. Readers familiar with Donald E. Westlake’s Dortmunder novels will note many common elements here (except this heist itself actually works). Comparisons to Ocean’s Eleven are obvious, too, although the less-tricked-up, more procedural The Score is perhaps a more appropriate filmic companion. A must-read for true-crime fans. --David Pitt
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Of course the most intriguing part is that most of the jewels remain unrecovered. They are out there somewhere and could literally be anywhere at this point, spread out around the world, little bits of portable wealth sold off here and there. I'd love to see a sequel focusing on the ways that diamonds are sold off after a heist like this. Sometimes they are recut, sometimes laser inscriptions are removed it's all part of the world's black market diamond industry which even with global strictures in place, continues to thrive.
I knew before reading this book that deBeers had created a monopoly in the diamond business. However, I didn't know that deBeers had single-handedly produced a global marketing campaign to convince the world that diamonds are worth so much money! I don't even like diamonds as much as I like other gems, but the PR campaign explains why Americans think diamonds are so valuable and are willing to pay so much for them. Me, I'm for emeralds and other gems. Back in the 1800s, a large American gun manufacturer had an equally successful marketing campaign, and of course we all know how well the lawn business has succeeded in the U.S.
Commercialism. It's insidious.
It is a shame that the thieves did not confess the full story n operation.
One of the authors has in depth knowledge in diamond business.
Btw, read the notes at the end of the book.
This book details the meticulous criminal genius of otherwise unremarkable men and their ability to utilize unique and specific skill sets to rob a diamond facility with security measures equal to Fort Knox. That is not an exaggeration. Some people consider the SADA (Secured Antwerp Diamond Area) the most impenetrable complex in the world......at least, they once did.
This book will make anyone, whether the reader is an aspiring criminal or simply anyone with a dream, believe that just about anything is possible. This heist shouldn't of happened, but sometimes authorities are overly confident, and criminals are perfectly prepared.
Well worth the read.