Brinks Job Heist

brinksThe Famous Brinks Job Heist:

North Terminal Garage Corner of Prince and Commercial Street, North End of Boston

This infamous 1950 heist grossed over 1.2 million in cold cash from the Brink’s armored car headquarters in Boston made international headlines not just because it was THEN the largest heist ever. But more importantly it was the Bostonians pride and  joy in that the robbery was done by its own people and it was non-violent.Even though the Brink’s guards were roughed up a bit not injured.The seven masked men displayed guns, however did not fire a shot, which made it appear to be real a professional job.The escaped cleanly and a statewide manhunt generated, with no immediate suspects targeted by the FBI.The news reporters stated it was the perfect crime of the century, as stated by the Boston Globe reporter: Joseph F. Dinneen. he also speculated that no Boston hoodlum was capable of pulling off such a professional job, “The Crime of The Century.” He was wrong as the records will show.

This historic flawless crime left a trial of blood that a body count piled up years to come. Some of the thieves turned out to be actual Bostonians and few were actually connected to Organized Crime in New England, New York and Rhode Island and did not hesitate to turn lethal when they thought their ill-gotten gains were at risk.The trial started in the fall of 1956, the shine was off the bright character of the robbery, and eventually convicted the culprits sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their end in the conspiracy.

The Stick up took place about 7:00 PM on a cold January 17, when 7 masked men in pure white face masks of human origin and dressed in Navy Pea Coats with Limo Chauffeur’s hats surprised Brink’s guards as they were ready to lock up the cage which contained all of the money (in the millions), to a secure vault in the Brink’s company office in the second floor of the North Terminal Garage, a three-level reinforced cement with steel structured building bounded by Prince Street, and Commercial Street, Hull Street and Snow hill Avenue.Within twenty minutes all of the Brink’s guards were tied up, and the bandits had moved a Hugh amount of cash into a gateway stolen car parked on Prince Street entrance.Found after the heist was only a chauffeur’s hat, rope and tape used to tie the guards up.The getaway car was later found dismantled in a Stoughton dump.

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Boston Police and the FBI targeted a group of known criminals who may have pulled off the heist which included: Anthony Pino (Italian/American), Vincent James Costa (Italian/ American), Thomas Francis “Sandy” Richardson (Irish/American), and Joseph James O’Keefe. Fingers were also pointed at Joe McGinnis, a bar owner and money launderer, who was not above watering down numerous drinks and making his own liquor to avoid paying taxes.

The Boston Federal Grand Jury convened in 1954, everyone kept quiet, no charges would be able to stick.Meanwhile, O’Keefe and his partner in crime Stanlwy :Gus” Gusciora were arrested for robbery in Pennsylvania and jailed.On his release, O’Keefe demanded his share of the Brink’s hot loot, which was placed away until the statute of limitations ran out.O’Keefe became angry that a New York hit man named Elmer “Trigger” Burke was brought in, probably by Anthony Pino to silence him just weeks before the statue of limitations would run out.O’Keefe was eventually convinced to cooperate against the rest of the Brink’s robbers. On January 11, 1956, arrest warrant were handed over for Pino, Costa, Gusciora, McGinnis, Richardson, Vincent Began, Henry Baker, James Ignatius “Jimma” Faherty and bookie Adolph “Jazz” Maffie.

The wheelman for the getaway Braney Banfield, had died and Gus, the youngest of the crew would die before the trial began.Richardson and Faherty escaped capture and was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list.As the results came in the masterminds of the crime of the century were Bostonians, and within that was a little United Nations of numerous ethnic backgrounds: Italian, Irish, English, German, Portuguese, Jewish, etc.Pino and Costa represented the Italians. O’Keefe and McGinnis represented the Irish. Henry Baker, a skilled safecracker was Jewish.What the Boston reporters labeled the “Brink’s Jinx,”  a bloody aftermath.

Carlton M. O’Brien: The Rhode Island restaurant owner and good friend of McGinnis was shot down in his front yard in May 1952 days after he was named as the mastermind of the infamous Brinks robbery.The murder was never solved, but experts believe it was ordered by Raymond L.S. Patriarca Sr.,  who may have thought that O’Brien may have been a threat to his power in New England.

John Henry Carlson a South End bookie good friends of O’Keefe was wounded by Trigger Burke in June 1954. A month later Carlson disappeared his body never surfaced. He had been talking to the District Attorney Garrett H. Byrne.George D. O’Brien was friends of Pino & was a suspect in the Brink’s robbery.In March 1952, $681,700 was stolen from a Brink’s armored car in Danvers when the driver left to get a cup of coffee. O’Brien bought a new home and new car, police raided his house & found stacks of cash through out his home.Eventually he was charged with the Danvers Armored Car heist. At trial O’Brien was found not guilty, his lawyer Paul Smith, was an expert at breaking down the government’s case by finding numerous flaws in it.

However, on June 17, 1954, O’Brien was found severally wounded inside his car in Franklin Park, after being shot once in the head with a Saturday Night .38-caliber Special. Also during that event Trigger Burke was spotted in Town.William Cameron, a South Boston Longshoreman and Dorchester resident was believed to have tipped off the FBI of the location of Thomas “Sandy” Richardson and James I. Faherty, who were picked up on May 16, 1956, four months after they were indicted for the Brink’s Job.On June 10, 1956 Cameron’s body was found slumped over his steering wheet of his car behind the Fargo Building on Summer Street, also with a .38 caliber bullets through his head. He was 49 years old.

As the Brinks trial was going on John F. “Fats” Buccelli and Edward “Wimpy” Bennett ran a contracting business. Behind a false wall, the FBI found about $57,000 in cash most of which came from the Brink’s Job.This was the only cash from the over $1.2 million ever found. The location of the rest of the money remains a complicated puzzle.

After a Two month trial, in October 1956, the 8 Brink’s defendants were found guilty and given long jail terms.Baker and McGinnis died in prison.  The others were eventually paroled over the years, the last being Pino in 1971.For O’Keefe’s cooperation he was rewarded and released from prison in the 1960s and took off to California.Both Buccelli and Bennett received short jail sentences fro receiving solen bank money and was later found shot to death.Jazz Maffie and Sandy Richardson lived long enough to be treated a folk heroes when the movie The Brink’s Job was released.Costa failed to stay out of trouble and was jailed for counterfeiting and drug dealing.

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Enlighten Yourself… “Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great. ” ~Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

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