'The Antwerp Diamond Heist' chronicles how Leonardo Notarbartolo led four other men to execute the largest diamond heist of all time. Now, let's get started!
Leonardo Notarbartolo, who is he?
Leonardo Notarbartolo was born in 1952 in Palermo, Sicily, and by his admission, he became addicted to stealing at an early age. He began tracing jewelry salesmen around Italy to track their behaviors and dealings. The group was dubbed the "School of Turin."
Leonardo and his thieves rented a safe-deposit box in a vault in Antwerp, Belgium, twice a month to sell the stolen jewelry for cash. In 2000, he began renting a premises at the Antwerp Diamond Center as an Italian gem importer.
Leonardo claimed to have met a Jewish diamond merchant in Antwerp, who enlisted him to commit a massive robbery at the Antwerp Diamond Center. Initially, he refused because it was impossible to penetrate the 10-layer security system. He then introduced him to three skilled Italian thieves, whom he would later adopt.
The fifth one, AKA King of Keys, could never be identified, despite being a regular tenant who frequented the vault. Besides, the security personnel were trained to recognize Leonardo and never suspected his activities.
Leonardo climbed the vault door and concealed the broadcast sensor in a fire extinguisher on February 14, 2003. The next night, he snuck his group into the Diamond Center and waited in a getaway vehicle. They emptied 236 security deposit boxes into duffel bags.
Leonardo and his men stole loose diamonds, gold, silver, and other jewelry from the Diamond Center on February 16, 2003. Carelessness in disposing of the items used in the robbery helped the cops catch the perpetrators as quickly as possible.
Leonardo was discovered hiding envelopes from the Diamond Center and a sandwich receipt when they checked his surveillance footage. He was later detained while returning to his house with his wife, Adriana Crudo, and friends. They were caught attempting to flee with a carpet containing stolen diamonds and several bags carrying prepaid SIM cards to contact Leonardo's accomplices.
Ferdinando Finotto and Pietro Tavano were arrested and sentenced to five years in jail for masterminding the heist. In 2005, Leonardo was sentenced to ten years in prison.
What is the age of Leonardo Notarbartolo?
Leonardo Notarbartolo was released on parole in 2009 after serving four years of his sentence. Among these were violations of a few provisions of his parole, including compensating the victims of the Antwerp Diamond Heist. In January 2013, a European Arrest Warrant was issued against him at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.
Leonardo has appeared to be living in his old house in Turin, Italy, while he still works and raises his children. Surprisingly, the rest of the stolen diamonds from the heist have yet to be recovered, and the investigators were unable to verify why the thieves made such a meticulous plan.
Leonardo said in a 2016 interview, "Do you know what my dream is?" It's a whole pack of cigarettes filled with diamonds. If I had it, I'd retire to private life. I've always been a thief...And I never gave up except for a few breaks." Albeit, Leonardo hopes to spend his retirement peacefully.