1997 Armored Storage Heist vs 2024 Value


The Easter Sunday $30M robbery at Gardaworld's Sylmar cash storage is cited as one of the largest cash heists in L.A. (U.S). Dunbar Armored lost $18.9M in 1997, worth $36M today.

As details are emerging about the Sylmar robbery it will be interesting to see if it takes as long as the two years to arrest & an additional year to prosecute the 1997 robbers, previously the largest cash heist in U.S. history.

However, it should be noted of the $18.9M heist in 1997.  The value of those dollars today is $36M today - in other words today's prices are 1.93 times as high as average prices since 1997 

The Sept. 12, 1997 robbery of $18.9 million was at the former site of the Dunbar Armored facility downtown Los Angeles.   Dunbar Security- established in 1923 as Mercer & Dunbar, corporate headquarters are in Hunt Valley, MD.  Dunbar Armored was sold in 2018 to Brinks of Richmond, Virginia.  The 1997 robbery was accomplished by "inside" personnel, a regional safety inspector who was fired the day before the robbery!    However, $10 million of the stolen cash has not been recovered, while assets amounting to approximately $5 million were seized.  A four-part series by L.A. Times author Justin Ray, in 2022, completely details the planning, heist, money laundering via real-estate, and spending which eventually enabled 15 law enforcement in "Operation DunRob" to arrest all six criminals.

Four other accomplices who previously pleaded guilty testified against Pace & Boyd:

  • Eugene Lamar Hill Jr
  • Freddie Lynn McCrary Jr.
  • Terry Wayne Brown Sr
  • Thomas Lee Johnson

Also, the money laundering was accomplished with the help of L.A. immigration attorney David Matsumoto and his office manager Joaquin Bin; for which they each received $1 million.

An announcement in 2020 suggested the story will become a movie which suggests all the parties are no longer incarcerated and restrictions limiting their profitability are less enforceable. Dunbar Robbery Movie in the Works From Caleeb Pinkett (variety.com)

A 1997 Son of Sam law (notoriety-for-profit law not asset forfeiture) originated in New York when state legislators and other government officials began to speculate the 1970's serial killer David Berkowitz aka "Son of Sam" would sell his story rights to be made into a movie or book. While the law was challenged based on First Amendment rights and public benefit of the story-to-be-told, te law was later ruled, by the U.S. Supreme Court unconstitutional, by a vote of 8:1  in 1991. California's law was similarly extinguished in 2002, based on a case supporting the mastermind of the 1963  Frank Sinatra Jr. kidnapping. However, NY legislators reinvented their cause in 2001, with a stipulation any income rec'd by a person convicted, over $10,000, must be disclosed to a victim and or family.   

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