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Heist! : The $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft -- Signed By the Author

Diamant, Jeff

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ISBN 10: 0895872528 / ISBN 13: 9780895872524
Published by John F. Blair, 2002
Condition: Collectible - Good+ Hardcover
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About this Item

Good+ condition. Clean pages; outer page edges may show minor soiling. Tight binding. Rubbing and minimal shelf wear on the covers and spine. Good condition Dust Jacket Included. DJ has light to moderate shelf wear, rubbing and creasing. (L42). Bookseller Inventory # 100123171

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Heist! : The $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft ...

Publisher: John F. Blair

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Collectible - Good+

Dust Jacket Condition: Collectible - Good

Signed: Signed by Author

About this title


In 1997, an amateurish group of thieves pulled off the second-largest cash heist in America's history. Their antics conjure up comparisons to novels by Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiassen, but even those authors could not invent such wacky behavior. Although the actual perpetrator, Loomis Fargo driver David Ghantt, was captured on tape as he methodically wheeled money from the vault into a van for a whole hour, it took several days to determine that he had stolen 17 million. The company had to chisel its way inside the vault, as Ghantt had set its security timer so it couldn't be opened for days. Unhappy with his life and marriage, Ghantt had been coaxed into a life of crime by Kelly Campbell, a former Loomis Fargo co-worker. Ghantt honestly believed that he could flee to Mexico and await Campbell, who would join him there with the rest of his share of the stolen money. After depositing the loot with other accomplices, Campbell and Ghantt drove to Columbia, South Carolina, so Ghantt could catch a plane to Mexico. En route to the airport, the couple converted a pair of pantyhose into a temporary money belt so Ghantt could hide his 25,000 in cash. Apparently unaware of the need to plan an escape completely, the couple arrived at the airport only to learn that it was closed for the night. A flustered Ghantt then took a four-hour cab ride to the Atlanta airport, which eventually led him to Mexico. Meanwhile, back at home, the bungling continued. The thieves were forced to leave 3.3 million behind because they didn't bring enough 55-gallon storage drums. Two days later, gang member Michele Chambers walked into a bank with a suitcase full of money and asked how much she could deposit without the bank's having to file a report. She deposited 9,500, but a report of suspicious activity was filed anyway. It would take several months for that report to wind its way through the bureaucracy. Back at their mobile home, Michele and her husband, Steve, the mastermind of this strange gang, decided to purchase a 635,000 home less than 30 miles from their current abode. To furnish their new home, the Chamberses went on a spending spree that included a six-foot-tall wooden Indian, a large oil painting of dogs in military clothes, two bronze statues of nude men, a white porcelain statue of three nude women, a sculpture of a headless man, a ceramic white elephant, gold-framed oil paintings of zebras, naked-women bookends, and a statue of a fat chef. The couple replaced the raw-silk stair runner on the home's impressive staircase with a snappier tiger-skin look. They also bought several large-screen televisions, a 10,000 pool table, a grand piano that no one in the home could play, and several tanning beds. And it wasn't just Michele and Steve who spent extravagantly. Steve was paying friends and relatives to hide portions of the loot. The various members of the gang purchased 15 vehicles, including a BMW Z-3 roadster convertible, pickup trucks, minivans, two boats, and six motorcycles. These new millionaires also felt a need to look rich. Steve gave Michele a 43,000 diamond ring and a Rolex watch. Three relatives of one thief used heist money to pay for breasts implants. Kelly Campbell looked into having liposuction for her buttocks. Meanwhile, down in Mexico, David Ghantt was repeatedly calling for more money. He soon learned that Steve Chambers had paid someone to kill him, so the man who actually stole the money spent most of his time alone in his hotel room, eating M&M's, listening to the Eagles, smoking Marlboro Lights, and reading comic books. When the authorities finally found him, Ghantt gratefully said, "Please tell me you're an FBI agent." Four years after the heist, the FBI had arrested and convicted 24 people and located or accounted for 95 percent of the money, but the folklore surrounding the gang that couldn't steal straight lingers. In this book, Jeff Diamant uses his inside knowledge as lead reporter on the story for the Charlotte Observer to fill in all the hilarious details of a story that has been featured on ABC's 20/20 , America's Most Wanted, "America's Dumbest Criminals", and Discovery Channel's "The Unperfect Crime."

About the Author:

A graduate of Yale University, Diamant was a reporter for the Charlotte Observer when the heist took place. He has also worked for the Associated Press, the Connecticut Post, and the Palm Beach Post. He currently writes for the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey.

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