Heist! The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft
by Jeff Diamant
If you've interacted with me much, you'll know by now that I absolutely love heists.
So how could I resist a book called "Heist"?
The opening is promising enough. We are introduced to the aforementioned "oddball crew," which consists of a thief, a grifter, a hitter, a brain, and...
As it turns out, Heist isn't so much about the heist as it is about the aftermath. The heist itself is dirt simple: an employee goes in at night, pulls out the money, hands it off to his conspirators, and heads off to Mexico. What happens next involves a hitman, a cigar store Indian, a lot of M&Ms, and a Velvet Elvis. The book is not so much about the heist as it is about the insane and idiotic things the conspirators tried to do with the money. To take only one example, one of the women goes to a bank, asks about the max she can deposit without having it reported to the federal government, and then adds cheerfully to the teller, "Don't worry, it's not drug money."
While it is funny, I also found it distasteful, and it took me a while to pin down why. For one thing, I don't generally like reading recent histories; I like my nonfiction to involve people who are not only dead but whose bones are basically dust at this point. Second, this story and the way it is presented is simply a reinforcement of all the negative stereotypes people have of "hillbillies." The theft itself appears to have had devastating effects on the community, and not only because of the families with members in prison. Because of the theft and its aftermath, the whole area became a laughingstock for the rest of the US. It bothers me that the story extracted from the theft is one of hollow mockery.
Alright, all that over, I'm going back to watching Leverage, where the heists are clever, the humour is more upbeat, and the endings are happy.
*Quote is from Leverage, not from the book.