North Carolina People, Places, and Things-January 19
I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.
In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.
This past weekend I visited Charlotte, NC and noticed they had a popular brewery named Heist Brewery.
That name triggered a memory about a bank robbery in Charlotte, NC that at the time was the 2nd largest ever committed in the United States. It all happened in 1997. That robbery got nicknamed “The Hillbilly Heist”. The true story spurned a Hollywood movie called “Masterminds” that has not been released yet. The movie will star some actors that we know quite well today including Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson.
Movie poster below and anticipated release date is September 2016
The Loomis Fargo bank robbery that occurred on October 4, 1997 resulted in the theft of 17.3 million dollars from the regional office vault of Loomis Fargo. It was a story of some crazy decisions.
The crime involved vault supervisor David Scott Ghantt, his married girlfriend Kelly Campbell (a former Loomis co-worker), her friend Steve Chambers, his wife Michelle Chambers and four other co-conspirators.
David Scott Ghantt
An FBI criminal investigation (which became international in scope) ultimately resulted in the arrest and conviction of eight people directly involved in the heist, as well as 16 others who had indirectly helped them, and the recovery of approximately 95% of the stolen money.
With the plan in place, Ghantt sent a newly-hired employee he had been assigned to train home early (reportedly, at 6 p.m.) and then proceeded to load a little more than $17.3 million in cash (approximately $11 million of which was in $20 bills) into the back of a company van. The thieves underestimate the amount of cash and left over 3 million dollars behind because they had no room for all of it.
Outside of the building, Ghantt met up with Campbell, Chambers, and others who were involved in the plot, and drove off to a printing business called Reynolds & Reynolds in northwest Charlotte. From there, the money was moved from the armored car to private vehicles. Then, keeping with the plan, Ghantt took $50,000 (the maximum that could by law be taken across the border without further authorization) with him and left for Mexico, winding up at the popular resort in the Yucatan Peninsula.
The case was ultimately solved due to lavish spending on the part of the robbers including Scott Chambers believing the FBI would never connect him to Ghantt. He and his wife, Michelle, moved from their mobile home to a lavish mansion. They furnished the home with a painting of Elvis on black velvet.
If you ever drink a Heist Brewery beer out of Charlotte, NC keep the story in mind.