Was an $11 million dollar armored car heist an inside job?
An armored car was robbed
The thieves took close to 11 million dollars
Where did the thieves get a key?
On June 26, 1990, an armored car was on the way to a scheduled delivery in Rochester, New York. Inside the truck was nearly $11 million dollars in cash. Just after 7:00 AM, the armored truck made an unauthorized stop at a convenience store. The driver, Albert Ranieri, waited in the truck. A guard, who we will call Mary Wilson, went inside the store:
“We stopped there about once or twice a week and usually got about the same thing. And that morning there was no one in there when I walked in, it was just me and then a lady came in later on. It was normal.”
While Mary Wilson was buying coffee and doughnuts, a daring assault was unfolding just 100 feet away. A man in a Halloween mask put a gun to Albert’s head while another gunman forced his way into the back of the truck. Five minutes later, Mary Wilson returned to the truck, unaware that her partner was no longer in control:
“It happened so fast, I didn’t really get a chance to get scared. He pushed me to the floor and tied my hands and my feet together with plastic handcuffs.”
Albert Ranieri pleaded guilty to the heist
Albert Ranieri was forced, at gunpoint, to drive to a secluded location, one and a half miles from the convenience store. According to Captain Neil Flood of the Monroe County, New York sheriff’s department, the armored truck was followed by a gray van:
“One couldn’t have picked a better location. It was about 75 to 100 yards off the road and it completely disappears from sight behind a small hill. And we know that the site had been prepared prior to the robbery. There are several tree branches that had been freshly cut to make sure that this large vehicle would fit.”
Authorities believe that the two robbers were met at the location by at least one other accomplice. Albert Ranieri was bound and gagged and forced on top of Mary Wilson. There was little dialogue between the robbers. According to Mary Wilson, the money was transferred with brisk efficiency:
“I sat there quiet, making sure I didn’t hear anymore voices. I was scared for my life. I kept thinking about my son and I just thought I was going to die. That’s why I broke loose because I wasn’t going to sit there and wait for somebody to come back and kill me.”
It took Mary Wilson 15 painful minutes to rip through the plastic handcuffs. Unable to free her partner, she drove the armored truck to company headquarters and reported the robbery. In less than an hour, the thieves had made off with nearly $11 million dollars. The next day, the get-away van was discovered five miles away. The interior was littered with over $13,000 in small bills–the leftovers of what authorities have determined was the largest on-the-road armored car robbery in United States history. It looked like an inside job. A conveniently broken porthole allowed one robber to hold the driver at gunpoint, while the other used a key to get in through the truck’s side door. Both gunmen wore clothing which was nearly identical to the uniforms worn by company employees. Finally, only a limited number of people were aware of the enormous amount of untraceable cash being transported that day.