Friday, February 16, 2018

Antwerp Diamond Center Heist: Four Convictions, No Cash, Gold, Jewelry


Summary: The Antwerp Diamond Center heist in Belgium Feb. 15-16, 2003, has four convictions but no cash, diamonds, gold, jewelry, rare coins or securities back.


What was left behind in the vault after February 2003's Antwerp Diamond Center heist: Shower Thoughts‏ @TheWeirdWorld via Twitter Sept. 15, 2015

The Antwerp Diamond Center heist Feb. 15-16, 2003, in Belgium appears atop lists of the world's top five jewel thefts within the last 50 years, with its haul unrecovered 15 years later.
The Antwerp Diamond Center heist blazes into first place because of estimated total cash values at €100 million to €400 million ($108 million to $432 million). The high-end calculations come from the Court of Appeal trial that culminated May 19, 2005, in convictions, fines and imprisonments for four of six charged defendants. A low-end €20 million ($21.6 million) derives from Leonardo Notarbartolo, prosecution-designated mastermind of the theft, and drops the Antwerp Diamond Center heist from the top 10.
The Antwerp Diamond Center heist, regardless of exact or exaggerated estimates, endures as an esoteric extraction that eludes experts despite one ephemeral explanation and one exhaustive.

Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell, co-authors of Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History, find accomplices, combinations and hideaways most frustrating to figure out.
Twenty-seven months as renter of B Block office 516 and safe deposit box 149 and of a seventh-floor apartment at Charlottalei 33 gave Notarbartolo security insights. The 1-foot (0.31-meter) thick, iron-and-steel, key-accessed, magnetic-alarmed LIPS vault door two levels below the 13-level B Block had a four-number lock with 100 million possible combinations. Its safe room included closed-circuit television (CCTV), heat monitors, light sensors and motion detectors for 189 deposit boxes whose key access additionally involved a three-letter input.
A marble-walled corridor joins the Secure Antwerp Diamond Area's nine-level A Block, parking-privileged B Block and four-level C Block, whose garage doors jut beyond the SADA.

Locked rolling garage-style doors keep B Block micro-chipped badge-cardholders out from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly weekdays and from Friday night through Monday morning weekends.
At the time of the Antwerp Diamond Center heist, concierges Jorge Dias De Sousa and Jacques Plumptueux let cardholders through C Block and vault doors weekends. A remote control model from 1972 moved C Block garage doors down and up through one of 1,024 possible radio frequencies preprogrammed into 12 toggle switches. Antwerp Diamond Center heist convicted suspects Elio D'Ornio, Ferdinando Finotto, Notarbartolo and Pietro Tavano only needed electronic scanners to note the correct C Block door-opening frequency.
The Sterling Publishing Company release from 2010, offers as door-openers for thieves the key 24-7 in the storeroom between elevators and the vault and uncleared combinations.

Black rubber electric tape, hair spray, hoods and Styrofoam pummeled light sensors and magnetic alarms, passive infrared technology monitors, video cameras and microwave Doppler radar detectives.
D'Ornio's video surveillance system installation estimates in four bags of heist-related throwaways found Feb. 17 by Floordambos forest patroller August Van Camp qualified as incriminating evidence. Joshua Davis relayed Notarbartolo's report of the haul's removal by unknown thieves from a Milan apartment to De Morgen reporter Douglas De Coninck March 12, 2009. His Untold Story of the World's Biggest Diamond Heist for Wired March 2009 states that Notarbaratolo said that many of the 109 strong-armed boxes sequestered nothing.
Who took coins, gold, platinum, silver jewelry, securities, $1.5 million, 24-plus premium designer watches, 33 pounds of pure gold and 100,000 carats of polished and rough diamonds?

an undated photo of Leonardo Notarbartolo well before February 2003's Antwerp Diamond Center Heist: Isobel Ross‏ @isobelrss via Twitter Nov. 7, 2015

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
What was left behind in the vault after February 2003's Antwerp Diamond Center heist: Shower Thoughts‏ @TheWeirdWorld via Twitter Sept. 15, 2015, @ https://twitter.com/TheWeirdWorld/status/643831143117160448
an undated photo of Leonardo Notarbartolo well before February 2003's Antwerp Diamond Center Heist: Isobel Ross‏ @isobelrss via Twitter Nov. 7, 2015, @ https://twitter.com/isobelrss/status/663053336963231744

For further information:
Davis, Joshua. 12 March 2009. "The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Diamond Heist." Wired.com > Business.
Available @ https://www.wired.com/2009/03/ff-diamonds-2/
De Coninck, Douglas. 13 March 2009. "Dader kraak van de eeuw vrij." De Morgen > Nieuws > Buitenland.
Available @ https://www.demorgen.be/buitenland/dader-kraak-van-de-eeuw-vrij-b4401ccb/
Isobel Ross‏ @isobelrss. 7 November 2015. "#Ladrones famosos: Leonardo Notarbartolo." Twitter.
Available @ https://twitter.com/isobelrss/status/663053336963231744
Selby, Scott Andrew; and Campbell, Greg. 2010. Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History. New York NY: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
Selby, Scott Andrew; and Campbell, Greg. 2016. Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History. Read by Don Hagen. Gildan Media on Dreamscape Audio.
Shower Thoughts‏ @TheWeirdWorld. 15 September 2015. "In 2003, a man in Belgium stole diamonds worth 100 million dollars after getting past a lock with 100 million possible combinations, infrared heat detectors, a seismic sensor, Doppler radar, a magnetic field and security force." Twitter.
Available @ https://twitter.com/TheWeirdWorld/status/643831143117160448


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