Brinks Robbery

Boston Public Library

The public was fascinated with this case. So perfectly was it executed that people were actually hoping the robbers remained undiscovered.

The government will spend $29,000,000 trying to apprehend the perpetrators.Only $51,906 of the loot will ever be recovered.

Eight of the bad guys are eventually sentenced.Two robbers had already died and one had turned state’s evidence against the remaining guys.

All eight defendants pled innocent but we know they were guilty. How? They confessed 20 years later.

During a press conference on Brink’s, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover theorized that there might be a communist plot behind the robbery saying: “It would be a fine sum of money to have for subversive purposes.”

It turned out that the perpetrators were local talent, and in their own way, staunch capitalists. The crew that pulled off the Brink’s Job were thorough professionals, career criminals to a man. They had taken off some big scores in their time but never anything like Brink’s. Hey, nobody had pulled off anything like Brink’s. The robbery had been planned to a tee. The few clues they had left behind led nowhere. The eyewitnesses were unable to identify the men. How well planned was the robbery? The FBI and the Boston Police knew by the end of 1950 who the Brink’s robbers were, but still couldn’t prove a thing. It would take five more years to crack the case.


Shortly before 7:30 p.m. on the evening of January 17, 1950, a group of armed,masked men emerged from 165 Prince Street in Boston, Massachusetts, dragging bags containing $1,218,211.29 in cash and $1,557,183.83 in checks, money orders,and other securities. These men had just committed the “crime of the century,” the “perfect crime,” the “fabulous Brink’s robbery.” At 7:27 p.m. as the robbers sped from the scene, a Brink’s employee telephoned the Boston Police Department. Minutes later, police arrived at the Brink’s building, and Special Agents of the FBI quickly joined in the investigation.

At the outset, very few facts were available to the investigators. From interviews with the five employees whom the criminals had confronted, it was learned that between five and seven robbers had entered the building. All of them wore Navy-type peacoats, gloves, and chauffeur’s caps. Each robber’s face was completely concealed behind a Halloween-type mask. To muffle their footsteps, one of the gang wore crepe-soled shoes, and the others wore rubbers.

The robbers did little talking. They moved with a studied precision which suggested that the crime had been carefully planned and rehearsed in the preceding months. Somehow the criminals had opened at least three–and possibly four–locked doors to gain entrance to the second floor of Brink’s, where the five employees were engaged in their nightly chore of checking and storing the money collected from Brink’s customers that day.

All five employees had been forced at gunpoint to lie face down on the floor. Their hands were tied behind their backs and adhesive tape was placed over their mouths. During this operation, one of the employees had lost his glasses; they later could not be found on the Brink’s premises.

As the loot was being placed in bags and stacked between the second and third doors leading to the Prince Street entrance, a buzzer sounded. The robbers removed the adhesive tape from the mouth of one employee and learned that the buzzer signified that someone wanted to enter the vault area. The person ringing the buzzer was a garage attendant. Two of the gang members moved toward the door to capture him; but, seeing the garage attendant walk away apparently unaware that the robbery was being committed, they did not pursue him.