The Antwerp Diamond Center was one of the most secure buildings in the world. With hundreds of millions of dollars worth of diamonds stored in its subterranean vault, it had to be. Located in the heart of Belgium’s ultra-secure Diamond District, it benefited from two police stations, armed patrols, extensive video surveillance, and vehicle barriers securing an area where 80 percent of the world’s diamonds traded hands.
But on February 15, 2003, a band of skilled Italian thieves — fronted by the charming Leonardo Notarbartolo, who spent over two years clandestinely casing the building — subverted every one of the Diamond Center's defenses and made off with a record amount of loot. Experts estimate they got away with nearly half a billion dollars in diamonds, cash and other valuables.
The thieves did it with stealth and smarts; no one was hurt or even threatened during what was quickly labeled the largest diamond heist in history. The bandits — members of a group of professional thieves known as The School of Turin — used cunning in lieu of violence, successfully evading security cameras, thwarting an array of electronic sensors, and penetrating a vault protected by a double-locked foot-thick steel door.
Even when the police zeroed in on who committed the crime, how it was done remained a mystery.
Flawless is a fast-paced global scavenger hunt uncovering the truth behind the daring Valentine’s Day weekend heist. Tracking clues, sources, and documents throughout Europe — from seedy cafés in Italy to sleek diamond offices in Belgium — authors Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell retrace Notarbartolo’s careful discovery of the building’s security flaws. They recreate the heist and its aftermath, detailing how the thieves brilliantly neutralized each element of the security protecting the Diamond Center’s vault while inviting the readers into the secretive world of diamonds and diamond dealing.
The result is a thrilling ride through the better-than-fiction heist of the century.