‘Crime of the century’: 70 years since the Great Brink’s Robbery

Crime of the century: 70 years since the Great Brink's Robbery

BOSTON — Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 marks 70 years since a group of armed and masked men stole millions of dollars from an armored car depot in the North End in what the FBI still calls “the crime of the century.”

The heist happened on Prince Street in Boston’s North End on Jan. 17, 1950. Armed crooks wearing Halloween masks and chauffeur hats bound and gagged Brinks employees before taking off with cash, checks and money orders totaling more than $2 million.

“It happened so quickly it seemed to be so well organized and there seemed to be so few clues really sparked people’s imagination,” said FBI historian Dr. John Fox.

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(Boston 25 News)

The job took about a half-hour and took Boston Police and the FBI roughly six years to close.

“Because it was a small group because they were fairly tight-knit because they kept quiet for quite some time,” said Fox.

  • On Feb. 8, 1950: A revolver involved in the robbery was found in Somerville.
  • On March 4, 1950: Pieces of a green truck that had been parked near the robbery scene were found in Stoughton.
  • On Jan. 6, 1956: Suspect Joseph James O’Keefe began to confess to FBI agents.

Eleven men were involved and they may have gotten away with the biggest crime had it not been for resentment and good work by investigators.

“Between the push and pull, people started to talk more,” said Fox.

Six years after the legendary heist, one suspect was dead, two were already incarcerated, and the final eight were convicted.

FBI records say more than half of what was stolen was found.