17 January, 2021

January 17, 1950

The Great Brinks Robbery.

On January 17, 1950 around 7 p.m., the Brink’s building located at 165 Prince Street in Boston, Massachusetts was robbed. The FBI states the men involved “had just committed the ‘crime of the century,’ the ‘perfect crime’” (FBI). “Filling 14 canvas bags with cash, coins, checks and money orders—for a total weight of more than half a ton—the men were out and in their getaway car in about 30 minutes” (History). This was the largest robbery in U.S. history until 1984. The men were trained and prepared extensively for this heist, “casing” the building “for almost two years” (NY Times).

During the robbery, as described by 5 Brink’s employees inside, “a group of armed, masked men emerged, dragging bags containing $1,218,211.29 in cash and $1,557,183.83 in checks, money orders, and other securities” (FBI). With very little evidence, the investigators had little information to find the criminals. Brink’s soon “offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible” (FBI). It was stated that, “in the hours immediately following the robbery, the underworld began to feel the heat of the investigation. Well-known Boston hoodlums were picked up and questioned by police” (FBI). Creating a stir within the community, many were on edge. It wasn’t until Joseph James O’Keefe had confessed to the robbery and ended this manhunt when eight men were found guilty on October 5, 1956.

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