How to steal $100 million in diamonds

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 13, 2009

Wired has a great account of what some have called "the heist of the century", the robbery of an Antwerp diamond vault thought to be impenetrable. The story was pieced together by reporter Joshua Davis from police reports and from talking to the thief who coordinated the whole thing. True or not, this is a fascinating read.

The Genius led them out the rear of the building into a private garden that abutted the back of the Diamond Center. It was one of the few places in the district that wasn't under video surveillance. Using a ladder he had previously hidden there, the Genius climbed up to a small terrace on the second floor. A heat-sensing infrared detector monitored the terrace, but he approached it slowly from behind a large, homemade polyester shield. The low thermal conductivity of the polyester blocked his body heat from reaching the sensor. He placed the shield directly in front of the detector, preventing it from sensing anything.

With the benefit of hindsight and after watching too many heist movies, the vault security is hilariously inadequate. Both the magnetic security system on the door and the main alarm system were both easily defeated by essentially short circuiting them with bits of metal, just as MacGyver might fool a window alarm with an aluminum chewing gum wrapper. (via waxy)