‘History’s Greatest Heists With Pierce Brosnan’ Episode 1: Recap And Ending: Who Is Leonardo Notarbartolo?

History Channel has brought an exciting show portraying the most unimaginable and intricate heists of time, presented by none other than Pierce Brosnan, the James Bond himself. Each episode will feature one crime spree and investigate every characteristic of it. If you are done with the usual money heists, Brosnan is here with the diamond heist—from masterplan to crucifixion. Unprecedented capital has long been the target of exceptional larceny. The first episode of “History’s Greatest Heists with Pierce Brosnan” starts in Antwerp, the port city of Belgium. The Antwerp Diamond Heist will be acknowledged for being one of the largest gem heists ever carried out. It starts with the documentation of brilliant personalities describing the two years of practice of Leonardo Notarbartolo.

Spoilers Ahead


Not Your Regular Security Check

Before we go deeper, we first need to know what the diamond center looks like. Alright, here you go—of course,as it is a diamond, and there could not be any mistakes to protect the value. Most of the diamond companies have their offices in Antwerp. A total of 27 high-tech cameras are there to detect your moves, and among the three blocks, B block is where the wealth is hidden. The two-story diamond building is loaded up with cash, jewelry, gold bars, currencies, and gems that you can’t take your eyes off. And what about the volt? It has ten levels of security and twelve hours of endeavor, so you can imagine how much effort it would take to get inside if someone planned to so! Security alarms are not new to such banks, but there are security codes ranging from 0-99, which is like getting blood out of a stone to crack. It doesn’t stop right here, as you will find motion detectors, doppler radar, light detectors, and seismic sensors to get into the impenetrable volt. But whoever decides to take this risk is surely born to be a thief. Notarbartolo, a small diamond trader, had a shop that was hit, causing major losses. He was an expert at cutting and making designs out of diamonds, and to get his business back, he decided to attack Antwerp building.In the first place, diamonds are very expensive, quite easy to carry, and hard enough to be traced; these could be the motivation behind his big picture.


Get Your Back First

Around 2002, Notarbartolo got access as a trader to venture around the building. Notarbartolo’s miniaturized camcorder flew under the radar, though photography was strictly forbidden. He used it to store 100 high-resolution visuals to photograph the secret room, the parking, and the street encircling the high-priced premises. Another important thing is the footlong-sized key that has to be copied with the exact cut and pattern to unlock the vault. Leonard was a frequent visitor of the branch, a familiar face to most of the employees working there. Leonard, with his absolute charm, could easily manipulate anyone around him—another talent that is essential to follow up on a heist. In October 2002, four months before the heist, the mastermind fled to Turin, Italy, to form a reliable group to execute the conspiracy he had been plotting for two years. Ferdinando Finotto, known as the “monster,” is way too efficient in any mechanical activity and is joined by the ringleader. On the other hand, Leonard got ‘the genius’ named Elio D’onorio, who runs a personal business of security system- well, the most important part is already done. But the toughest task is to get a replica of the key, for which they meet the “King of Keys,” whose name never came up. One more character, Pietro Tavano, or call him “Speedy,” joined the firebrand, who is not only well-grounded but also a skilled gateway driver—whom the team needs the most after the operation!


Ready, Let, Set, Get In Volt

Five days ago, the genius had already used much of his mind to fabricate the CCTV cameras and deal with the electronic buzzer in the parking lot. So did Leonard; with his hairspray, he disabled the sensitivity of the heat and motion sensors. The 16th of February 2003 was a clear, cold day in Belgium. We started the evening off with pasta and wine, and the team was ready with their groundbreaking ideas. While Speedy was in the garage, they turned off the heat-detecting sensors and rolled up trash bags around surveillance cameras. The invincible layers of security are finally broken through, and the thieves are only a few minutes away from completing their mission. They made a detour around all the systematic equipment, like magnetic sensors, keypad disarming sensors, and the dial that could have millions of combinations to break through. Somehow their luck was in their favor; they discovered a long key inside a metal case beside the door. They managed to enter the vault door and glue the magnetic panels opposite each other to the concrete surface of the aluminum. It is hilarious to see them covering the intricate heat and motion sensors with a sweeping mop—who could have imagined that a mop could come to the rescue when no logic worked? Out of 199 volts, they hijacked 109 safe deposit boxes filled with all precious items – but the target was sparkling diamonds, and they pulled off most of it; some inside their bag, some left on the floor. After 5 hours and 28 min, knocking most of it, which cost around 100 million dollars, or maybe higher than that, they grabbed the VCR videotapes from the office to dispose of evidence. And then they fled away, following the blueprint of entry and exit points on the street. Everyone went to Leonard’s Apartment to root out all the proofs that could make them suspect of this deadly heist. To split the treasure chest, all were supposed to gather in Milan, but the only thing that remained was to weed out or burn everything on their way. The vulnerable Speedy stopped the car and threw all the shreds of evidence under the shrubs outside the city of Brussels—as they say, any crime could never be perfect!


Not Picture-Perfect, But A Flawless Image

Though the plan was executed perfectly, in the morning, a man, August Van Camp, who was clearing the area, stopped by the discarded disposal site. He found the tape records, video cases, small diamonds, gnawed salami sandwiches, payment slips, and receipts from the Antwerp building that confirmed his suspicion. He called the police, and the testimony was perfectly adequate to hook up the offense to Leonard. After five days, the lord of the heist came to his jackpot building to check on things and to make things pretty normal for others too. But the manager stopped him on his way, and the police arrested him with all his teammates, checking all the previous call records and picking up a few proofs stashed in his apartment. He was sentenced to a ten-year prison term in Belgium for theft, and three of his companions received imprisonment of five years. All hail the circumstantial evidence that Leonard got out of jail within a few years, portraying it as an insurance fraud. But nobody got a single hint of the diamonds now worth billions; the robbery was never proven, only the junks! – the flawless and classic crime, or maybe the Renaissance in the world of crime.


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