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Tag: heist

How FBI Cracked Case of $3M Armored Truck Robbery in South Florida

armored-carBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After three years of investigating the $3 million armed robbery of an armored truck company’s South Florida depot, prosecutors have landed convictions in the heist.

So how did the FBI crack the case?

Security Info Watch reports that a former weekend supervisor, Hjalmar Towns, at the old Garda Logistics armored truck building provided tips to the robbers to keep authorities off their heels.

Two suspects confessed this year to wing the armed robbers.

The case began to solidify 10 months after the heist, when Towns was arrested for trying to swipe more than $1.5 million from a Garda armored truck in West Palm Beach.

Towns initially was believed to be a victim.

“Part of what broke this case open was they [investigators] had all this surveillance video and they couldn’t understand what was going on because Mr. Towns didn’t appear to be being robbed. He got hit over the head and tied up at the end of the raid, but it didn’t look right,” said Towns’ lawyer James Eisenberg.

The story didn’t add up.

“We were all wondering ‘Why didn’t Mr. Towns get up and run away … if this was a genuine robbery?'” Fagan told U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg.

Other Stories of Interest

Another Bizarre Twist in 25-Year-Old Art Heist Involving Aging Gangster

Theft at Gardner Museum

Theft at Steward Gardner Museum.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The bizarre case involving the 25-year-old Steward Gardner Museum heist took another strange twist after disclosures in a federal court Wednesday that an aging Connecticut gangster lied when asked in the past whether he knew anything about the stolen paintings, the Hartford Courant reports. 

As a result, the FBI terminated its cooperation agreement with the Robert Gentile.

A polygraph administered to Gentile in the past showed that he likely lied when he denied knowing nothing about the robbery of 13 gems, including three Rembrandts and works by Manet and Degas.

A polygraph administered to Gentile in the past showed that he likely lied when he denied knowing nothing about the robbery and when he said he received none of the paintings.

While the discovery explains why the FBI has doggedly pursued Gentile for years on the robbery, investigators still don’t know what happened to the paintings.

FBI Releases Video of Decades-Old Art Heist at Museum in Boston

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI released a jumpy surveillance video in hopes of solving the decades-old art heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Authorities have been scratching their heads since two men, disguised as policemen, stole 13 gems, including three Rembrandts and works by Manet and Degas, NBC News reports.

The FBI released the video to the public for the first time. It was recorded 24 hours before the theft and shows a car that matches the description of the one reported to be involved in the theft the following night. An unidentified man also is shown.

“We have engaged in an exhaustive re-examination of the original evidence in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, “to ensure that all avenues have been explored in the continuing quest to recover these artworks.”

Gang Land Exclusive: Feds Tie Howard Beach Home Invasions To Last Year’s Lufthansa Heist Indictment

Jerry Capeci is regarded as an expert on the mob. His website, Gang Land News, is a paid subscription site.  This article was published with permission.

By Jerry Capeci
Gang Land News

Federal authorities have linked an imprisoned Bonanno soldier to abrazen gang of mob associates who pulled off dozens of home invasion robberies and burglaries in Howard Beach and nearby communities, Gang Lang has learned.

The wiseguy, John (Bazoo) Ragano, was one of five defendants in an indictment that charged an aging capo with the storied $6 million Lufthansa heist depicted in the 1990 mob movie classic, Goodfellas.

Sources say the feds suspect Ragano of fingering the owner of an Ozone Park auto repair shop — Bonanno associate Robert Cotrone — for robbery.

Seven weeks after Ragano’s arrest in the Lufthansa case, a trio of armed thugs invaded Cotrone’s Howard Beach home, stealing thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry.

Ragano had “worked” for Cotrone at Bam’s Auto Body, but in a telling display of mob duplicity, he allegedly gave Cotrone up to the robbery team because he knew the auto repair shop owner was on his own after his longtime mob protector was locked up. The protector, Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro, was detained without bail for the airline robbery. Cotrone has allegedly made years of “protection” payments to Asaro, even once testifying as a defense witness for him.

A law enforcement official familiar with the case put it this way: “Money, of course, was very important” to Ragano. “The guy’s a gangster. Locked up, he needs cash. The other guy (Cotrone) is unprotected; his guy (Asaro) just got put away. There’s no honor with these guys, it’s survival of the fittest.

It’s simple: He needed the money, he knew there’d be no payback. Makes no difference to him that he’s going to steal his dough.”

According to court papers in the Lufthansa prosecution, Ragano, 53, was inducted into the Bonanno crime family about three years ago, and was a ready and willing enforcer for his mob superior, Asaro, based on what Ragano was heard saying during the FBI investigation.

Read more »

Weekend Series on Crime: The Greatest Heist You’ve Never Heard of

Exclusive: Gang Land News Reveals the Snitch in the Lufthansa Airlines Caper

Gang Land News Photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If you wondered who the snitch was who helped the feds charge a top mobster in the legendary 1978 Lufthansa Airlines robbery, wonder no more.

Mob expert Jerry Capeci of Gang Land News, in an exclusive, reports that the snitch is a “low level hood who for years was in the right place at the right time.”

He writes that the snitch is 67-year-old Gaspare (Gary) Valenti, a cousin of Vincent Asaro, the powerful Bonanno family wiseguy indicted in the heist that netted $6 million.

Capeci writes:

Valenti is an unlikely songbird of the mob’s best-kept secrets. He has a short rap sheet and a shorter mob pedigree, records show. But for many years he was in an excellent position to see what his Cousin Vinny was up to. And the mob tales he spilled to the feds provided the key evidence leading to the arrest of the 78-year-old Asaro for the Lufthansa heist, as well as for a 45 year old murder.

Gang Land News is a paid subscription site, but it’s worth it.

The FBI’s Most Popular Post on Its Website Involved a Famous Art Heist

By Alan Stamm
ticklethwire.com  
 
The FBI uses the news area of its website to post arrests, convictions, awards and requests for crime-solving tips. The most-viewed post of 2013, the bureau tells a journalism blogger, is a March 18 item offering a $5-million reward for help cracking a notorious 1990 art theft.

The cold case is the two-man heist of 13 paintings from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. Without specifying how many online visitors saw it in nine months, the bureau says the multimillion-dollar bounty announcement is this year’s most popular post.

It was shared 2,857 times on Facebook and tweeted by 93 visitors to fbi.gov, stats on the site show. The multimedia post has a news release, videos in which two agents and others “discuss the case and their renewed efforts to recover the priceless art,” and a link for sending tips. The hefty reward from the feds and the museum is posted “to get the attention of those who might have or know the whereabouts of the 13 stolen works of art,” the FBI says.

Cleveland blogger Bill Lucey, an ex-newspaperman, contacted the FBI for a roundup headlined “Most Viewed News Stories of 2013.” The Boston case reward earns a spot Monday alongside coverage of Edward Snowden, the Boston Marathon bombing and May’s rescue of three Cleveland women held captive since 2002 and 2004.

 

FBI nabs Ocean’s Eleven-style ring of thieves after biggest heist in U.S history

Ted Sherman 
The Star Ledger 

 The Eli Lilly warehouse in Enfield, Conn., is a nondescript beige building with a pebbled concrete exterior, just off Freshwater Boulevard.

Although just down the road from a suburban shopping mall and an Olive Garden restaurant, it feels like the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods and little else.

A light rain was falling on Saturday, March 13, 2010, when a tractor-trailer rumbled up to the loading dock about 9:33 p.m. Shut down for the weekend, the building had no security fence or watchman to keep an eye on the pallets of the costly pharmaceuticals awaiting shipment.

The Enfield warehouse was about to become legend — the scene of an $80 million commercial drug heist, the biggest in U.S. history.

This is the inside story of how it went down and how authorities tracked and arrested 22 alleged members of an Ocean’s Eleven-style ring of thieves, who operated with their own trucks, warehouses and black market wholesalers.

To read the full story click here: