Whenever the man claiming to be called Carlos Hector Flomenbaum walked through the doors at Antwerp’s ABN Amro bank, his visit may well have brightened up workers’ days there. Known for his friendly demeanor, the middle-aged man would even bring gifts from time to time. But little did the bank staff know that the man they had come to like and trust wasn’t who he claimed to be.
In TV and film, diamond heists typically involve painstaking planning and careful execution. And when it comes to seizing the swag, charm, good looks and a devious demeanor often don’t go amiss, either. But while such events are often over-hyped by Hollywood, some of the biggest robberies in history have been no less outrageous.
Take, for example, the diamond heist that unfolded in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2003. Nicknamed “the heist of the century,” it went down as among history’s biggest ever robberies – involving as it did over $100 million worth of gold, diamonds and jewelry. The crime is thought to have been orchestrated by an alleged Italian gangster named Leonardo Notarbartolo. The supposed ringleader was linked to the heist after authorities found his DNA at the scene. Where? On a half-consumed salami sandwich.