PLEDGE NOW
The Global World Of Mega Heists

Fifty million dollars in diamonds stolen from a Brussels airport. We’ll look inside the global world of mega heists.

Diamond crystals (Kim-bodia/Flickr)

Diamond crystals (Kim-bodia/Flickr)

The big diamond heist last week in Brussels was brazenly bold, heavily armed and lightning fast.  Thieves dressed like police tore straight through an airport perimeter fence, blue lights flashing, at exactly the moment that a trove of diamonds was being loaded for a flight to Switzerland.

There was the plane, the diamonds, a Brinks delivery vehicle, and a lot of machine guns.  In five minutes it was done and they were gone – with diamonds valued in press reports at between $50 million and half a billion dollars.  How does that happen?

This hour, On Point:  the world of the heist.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Scott Andrew Selby, Author of “Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History”.

Brian Koppelman, Screenwriter for Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), Rounders (1998), and others.

From Tom’s Reading List

CNN “Over Valentine’s Day weekend in 2003, a group of Italian thieves broke into a massive vault in the heart of Antwerp, Belgium’s diamond district and got away with an estimated $500 million worth of precious stones and diamonds. While the rest of the city was busy celebrating romance and love, these tenacious men peeled open safe deposit box after safe deposit box, leaving excess treasure on the ground like it was garbage.”

New York Times “They arrived at Brussels Airport armed with automatic weapons and dressed in police uniforms aboard two vehicles equipped with blue police lights. But their most important weapon was information: the eight hooded gangsters who on Monday evening seized diamonds worth tens of millions of dollars from a passenger plane preparing to depart for Switzerland knew exactly when to strike — just 18 minutes before takeoff.

Forcing their way through the airport’s perimeter fence, the thieves raced, police lights flashing, to Flight LX789, which had just been loaded with diamonds from a Brink’s armored van from Antwerp, Belgium, and was getting ready for an 8:05 p.m. departure for Zurich.”

Guardian “A decade ago the port city of Antwerp, the world capital of diamond-cutting, was the scene of what was probably one of the biggest diamond heists in history, when robbers took precious stones, jewels, gold and securities from the high-security vaults at Antwerp’s Diamond Center, yielding loot that police in 2003 estimated to be worth about $100 million at the time.

Monday’s heist though was a fresh blow to the Antwerp industrial diamond center which prides itself on security and discretion.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 28, 2015
Protesters congregate in front of city hall Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Cleveland. Members of about 40 churches are protesting the acquittal of a white patrolman charged in the deaths of two unarmed black motorists with a march through downtown Cleveland. (AP)

The new Cleveland standard of American policing. Will it stop abuse? Will it get the job done?

May 28, 2015
Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raises his hands as he sits behind glass in a courtroom, in a converted lecture hall in the national police academy in an eastern Cairo suburb, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP)

Sentenced to death in Egypt for espionage, respected academic Emad Shahin joins us with a big take on Egypt, ISIS and America’s response.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 27, 2015
The logo from the new film, "(Dis)Honesty," which is also the logo for the Dishonesty Project. (The Dishonesty Project)

Are we natural born liars? Is it human to lie? Inside the new documentary, ” (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies.”

 
May 27, 2015
Two persons are reflected in the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested Wednesday pending extradition to the U.S. in a separate probe of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption. (AP)

Top officials at soccer’s international governing body FIFA arrested in Switzerland today on charges of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment