On October 4, 1997 several individuals stole $17.1 million from vault of the Loomis, Fargo & Co. armored car service located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the second largest cash theft in US history. The vault supervisor, David Ghantt, and his girlfriend, former Loomis employee Kelly Campbell organized the heist along with 6 other conspirators. Ghantt loaded up a truck with the $17.1 and drove it off the facility, meeting up with several co-conspirators. After putting most of the money in private cars, Ghantt took his share and immediately fled to Mexico. It turned out that the criminals underestimated the sheer volume of cash and had to leave about $3 million behind.
The FBI was immediately involved as most of the cash was from banks and was therefore a federal crime. The involvement of Ghantt was obvious, the other co-conspirators were nice enough to make every mistake in the book to assist the FBI in their capture. They saw the phone records and relationship between Ghantt and Campbell. The criminals began plotting against one another, mostly by phone. They also went on huge spending sprees that included purchases such as new homes, and a BMW Z3 with cash from the heist. One of the conspirators, Michelle Chambers, walked into her bank and asked a teller “How much can I deposit before you have to report it to the feds?” also stating “Don’t worry, it is not drug money”. The bank filled out a SAR (suspicious activity report), which ultimately reached the FBI.
Eventually 8 conspirators including Ghantt were indicated for bank larceny and money laundering (post heist). An additional 12 associates of the conspirators were charged with money laundering. All either pled or were found guilty.
Do you know what the largest cash theft in US history was? It was only 7 months prior and was a Loomis Fargo truck driver who stole the $18.8 million from the back of his own truck and fled to Mexico. Maybe they should have invested in some better hiring practices.