Amazon Prime Videos has come up with the latest Italian crime-thriller series “Everybody Loves Diamond” that depicts real-life crime incidents from the beginning of the century. The story is inspired by the Antwerp Diamond Heist (2003) which was the largest-ever diamond heist and one of the biggest robberies of the century. Leonardo Lidi and Carlotta Antonelli are the main roles.
What was the Antwerp Diamond Heist?
The world media has described the heist as the “Heist of the Century” when it was first reported. The heist was done by a gang of five Italians and Leonardo Notarbartolo (one of the members) was the mastermind of the plan.
The gang targeted the vault beneath the Antwerp World Diamond Center. The vault was protected by heat detectors, seismic sensors, radar, magnetic fields, and private security. Alas, these protections were not enough to deter the Italian gang.
How did they heist the diamonds?
Leonardo rented an apartment in the Antwerp World Diamond Center and spent several months planning for the heist. Leonardo integrated himself with the staff and the other members carried out surveillance of the center and fixed a camera just above the door of the vault to hack the code used by security guards to gain access.
The day before the heist, Leonardo entered the vault along with other guards and secretly sprayed women’s hairspray to temporarily deactivate the thermal sensors. One of the members copied the “King of the Keys”, which is a foot-long key of the vault, which was supposed to be impossible to copy. The gang also fooled the heat censors by using Styrofoam boxes and sabotaged light sensors with tape.
Early in the morning, Leonardo and Speedy (another member of the gang) went to a forest to dispose of the evidence. Leonardo burned his evidence whereas Speedy threw it in a bush which was proved a blunder later.
The five gang members divided the loot which was mostly diamonds. Along with diamonds, they also had gold, silver, and jewelry. It was estimated that the loot has been worth a staggering $100 million.
How did the Police catch the gang?
The next day, the landowner of the forest found the substance which was thrown by Speedy. At first, he thought it was a rubbish thing thrown by a group of teens. After investigating the rubbish substance, the police found an envelope from the Diamond Center which finally led to Leonardo.
The police found a half-eaten sandwich in the forest which was eaten by Leonardo. After the DNA test, it was confirmed that Leonardo was associated with the heist. In police investigations, Leonardo refused to name his associates and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 2005. However, he was released in 2009 and again arrested in 2013 for breaching parole as he had made no effort to compensate those he had stolen from. Finally, Leonard was released in 2017.
The other gang members Pietro Tavano (believed to be Speedy), Ferdinando Finotto, and Elio D’Onório were sentenced to five-year imprisonment. Another member has not been traced by police yet.
Did the Diamonds recover?
Despite the arrest, the majority of the diamonds were never recovered. It is still unknown to the police if the gang handed over the diamonds to someone else or sold them to the black market.
“Everybody Loves Diamond” is now available on Amazon Prime Videos from October 13, 2023.