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I gotta go.". The plan was to maintain a low profile and wait for things to cool off, allowing Ghantt to return to the states and collect his cut. What kind of surprised me is how much the car smelled like money, like if you ever hold money up to your nose it has a distinct smell, Wydra said. David said he needed Kelly to drive to Loomis before the theft that night to remove a duffel bag from his parked pickup truck. Working by himself, Ghantt would commit the robbery and then flee for Mexico, leaving the bulk of the cash with Chambers. However, Chambers had no intention of following those rules, believing the FBI would never connect him to Ghantt. Who was she to be pressuring him? Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. It wasn't how much you stole that mattered most; it was that you had stolen in the first place. He says the Loomis case shows how the criminal justice system and the courts treat lower-income people differently. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Only a nickel on every dollar have been collected so far. Twenty years ago this Wednesday, a small group of people stole $17 million in cash from the main vault of a Loomis Fargo & Co. armored-car warehouse in west Charlotte. The supervisor liked him and gave him the job. of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps. Hed never really been in trouble, he wasnt a career criminal, said retired FBI agent John Wydra. He had since served time in prison for the crime and told our sister station WSOC-TV Channel 9s Glenn Counts he learned a valuable lesson while behind bars. He has a regular life now, but 25 years ago, Ghantt was the mastermind behind the third-largest bank robbery in U.S. history. A third surveillance tape was carelessly left behind, and the company was able to identify the man who robbed the vault as David Ghantt. Restitution is a familiar part of sentencing in federal court. From there, the money was moved from the armored car to private vehicles. In March 1997, after Loomis Fargo & Company has been robbed of $18.8 million in Jacksonville by company security guard Philip Noel Johnson, Steve Eugene Chambers and Kelly Campbell, a former employee of Loomis, decides to rob the company. Inside $3.3 million was located along with the two stolen surveillance tapes, apparently left due to the robber and his accomplices being sloppy, or in a hurry. The gang made numerous mistakes. David Ghantt was just an average Joe with an average low-wage job. Steve Chambers and his wife were living in a trailer and upgraded to what would today be a multi-million-dollar mansion at Cramer Mountain. In one case, the restitution for a Loomis defendant may be a moving target. Chambers would then occasionally wire Ghantt money and see to his basic financial needs; when the heat was off, Ghantt was to re-enter the U.S. and the money would be split up among all of the co-conspirators. Yet their lives seemed far easier and better than his. The figures can be astounding. Steve was a serious guy? Thats pretty standard in restitution matters. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. In addition to their extravagant spending, Michelle Chambers made the mistake of loudly asking a bank teller how much cash she could deposit in her account without it being reported to the feds, and then said, its not drug money.. When they hung up, she called his pager and left the code 1-4-3, beeper-speak for "I love you," based on the number of letters in each word. Once they were in custody, the overwhelming task of clearing out possessions possibly purchased with the stolen money began. Campbell led Ghantt to think she loved him and they would flee to Mexico together, but she actually wanted to make a better life for herself in the U.S. With the plan in place, Ghantt sent a newly hired employee he had been assigned to train home early (reportedly, at 6 p.m.) and then proceeded to load a little more than $17.3 million in cash (approximately $11 million of which was in$20 bills) into the back of a company van. EDITORIAL: Computer Science misses the need for digital literacy, N. Carolina legislators announce Medicaid expansion deal, EDITORIAL: Fighting political forces that sever family ties, Special-use to get overhaul: Commissioners, planners take a look, Cape Carteret seeking new police chief one month after hiring New Bern resident for post, How many in North Carolina are awaiting student loan debt relief? They assumed that whoever was involved would keep the cash in a safe place, like a safe deposit box. Steve's a serious guy.". Discover some of the worlds strangest ancient places. A woman by the name of Kelly Campbell had worked there in 1996, and she and Ghantt had become friends in that time. Friends of Campbell had also begun spending large amounts of cash. And they hit the jackpot -- FBI video shows agents recovering most of the stolen cash. I was relieved emotionally because I knew there was a good chance my luck might run out, Ghantt said. FBI video shows the agency searching that home and finding drawers full of cash. She had attitude. The strange story of Mary Reeser Spontaneous Human Combustion. The Charlotte area's economy was booming all around him, and he felt passed over. Over the next two weeks, David thought about it. Ghantt said he believes in redemption, and that his mistake 25 years ago brought him all the things that are important in his life today. In Campbells case, Gronquist says his client was buried in court-ordered debt despite the fact that she took responsibility for what she had done and cooperated with prosecutors and the FBI. (John D. Simmons/The Charlotte Observer via AP). In all, they recovered $6.6 million. The principals here are David Ghantt, a driver for Loomis, Fargo and Co.; Kelly Campbell, the woman Ghantt had a crush on, and who convinced him to commit the crime; and Steve and Michele Chambers. Learning from this error, David planned to leave the stolen money behind with his coconspirators while he fled to Mexico. Worlds Biggest Heists London Hatton Garden 200m Diamond Robbery, Easter 2015. We dont have the manpower to track all that (restitution) money down I pay (restitution to) thousands of people, but its in drips and drabs.. The plan to rob Loomis Fargo was spawned by Campbell and her friend Steve Chambers, during a casual bonfire at Chambers' home. David's share would be sent to Mexico, where he planned to hide and where he expected Kelly to join him. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Human nature is a flexible part of life, Gronquist said. Although the FBI investigation was able to quickly connect Ghantt to Campbell, connecting Ghantt to Chambers was a more difficult task. Michelle Chambers paid off only $27,000. All but one of the 24 defendants pleaded guilty, and the one who didnt take the deal was convicted. Now, at 7:45 p.m., with all the money finally inside the van, his aching muscles could take a breather. None of the suspects had been in any serious trouble before this. Of course, this would all be a radical departure for him, and thoughts of his wife and parents did give him pause. He had since held one low-paying job after another. "Do you know how much there's gonna be?" But this time on the phone, Kelly wasn't joking. The woman on the phone was Kelly Jane Campbell, and David had a mad crush on her. In 1994, they moved to Gastonia, North Carolina, where they had grown up, and David took a job driving a forklift. They also purchased expensive cars, jewelry and a breast enhancement or two. >> PHOTOS: The Loomis Fargo heist, 25 years later. The Star-Ledger, 06/15/2015On October 4, 1997, an amateurish gang robbed Loomis, Fargo & Co. in Charlotte, NC of $17 million, the second largest heist in U.S. history. The woman on the phone was Kelly Jane Campbell, and David had a mad crush on her. More than 2 million dollars are still missing to this day. When did you conclude Yeah, Im actually going to do this? Counts asked. Eric Payne got out of prison in 2006 for his role in the heist and has since paid $11,357 on his $292,000 debt. Their only intimate physical contact had been kissing on a mid-September night when they had driven her pickup truck to a field behind a shooting range in Gaston County to discuss their plans and the theft's chance of success. 12) Loomis Fargo heist- The aftermath Ultimately, eight co-conspirators were indicted for the Loomis Fargo bank heist. One day, the two employees were in the break room and got to talking about the news of the day a massive bank heist that just occurred in Florida by someone at their company. Then, he proceeded to load 2,800 pounds of cash into a van. This technically made it abank robbery afederal offense. On the evening ofOctober 4, 1997, the Loomis Fargo & Co branch in Charlotte, North Carolina was in the process of being plundered. Libraries without that edition should consider purchasing this entertaining and lightly edited version, which reads like a fast-paced novel. them. About the worst he had done as a teenager was stealing a construction company's Porta-Jon with a friend, tying it to the back of a pickup truck, and driving around for about fifteen minutes. My knee-jerk reaction was to be angry, and then the sarcastic ass side of me started laughing about it, Ghantt said. To the community, the Loomis Fargo heist was a big joke -- the largest hillbilly caper of all time. Ghantt was the vault manager and was surrounded. Former FBI agent John Wydra, who helped crack the case, sat down with Channel 9 Reporter Glenn Counts to talk about the clues that led to solving the crime, and how the group got caught. ALSO READ: 14-year-old boy robbed at gunpoint while waiting for bus in east. Now one of the most wanted men in America with the FBI hot on his heels, Ghantt must figure out how to get his money, get away from a hit man, and get even. The Loomis defendants face no additional legal jeopardy for not paying off their debts. Besides her prison sentence, Campbell must undergo mental health and drug treatment and spend two years in a supervised release program. If the American Dream involved being better off as adults than your parents were, David was experiencing a version of the American Nightmare. For the defendants in the Loomis Fargo heist, its allure was irresistible. OWLS director fired in wake of new board taking over, New rules will require flood history disclosure in real estate, North Carolina recreational spring flounder season canceled for 2023, Supreme Court seems ready to sink student loan forgiveness, Beach commission gets update on search for new sources of sand for beach nourishment. Tuesday marked 25 years since a group of buddies pulled off the third-largest money grab in U.S. history -- the Loomis Fargo heist. "its a great readsuspenseful, often funny, just the thing for those wondering what it might feel like to have, as these hapless, small-town criminals did, literally too darn much cash lying around. " When Ghantt called Campbell however, the FBI was able to track his location, and arrested him with the help of the Mexican police onMarch 1, 1998. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. He tried again to make the back gate rise, to no avail. You can have your whole career and not have a case like that. But he wasn't finished. A few of the Loomis restitution cases have already been closed either because the amount was paid in full or because the 20-year clock wound down. Kelly called, using David's own cell phone, to ask where he was already, because she and the others were waiting outside for him. They involve Loomis armored car driver David Scott Ghantt. White-collar criminals are pretty good at hiding their money, she said. On Oct. 5, the Loomis heist celebrates its 25th birthday. What that says is, We will never forgive you for what youve done.. Copyright The Nashua Telegraph | https://www.nashuatelegraph.com | 110 Main St, Ste 1, Nashua, NH 03060 | 603-882-2741, Loomis Fargo defendants owe as much as they stole in 1997, Thats pretty standard in restitution matters. That sounds like a lot of money until its compared to the $18,930,201.26 the group was ordered to pay. Library Journal "highly entertaining." David and Kelly had driven to Rock Hill, South Carolina, and used the documents to obtain a fake ID that David would also rely on after the theft. More than half of the amount came from the seizure of a luxury home purchased by husband-and-wife defendants during their post-heist spending spree. The bizarre true story of the criminals behind the second-largest bank heist in American history. FILE - Kelly Campbell, one of the 21 people convicted for their involvement in the $17 million Loomis Fargo heist, awaits sentencing for her part in the theft at her mobile home near Mount Holly, N.C. on Aug 16, 1999. You should definitely start your own blog, I highly recommend it. After hanging up on her, David returned to work. Unexplained Mysteries - owned by Aliens since 2011. Well she was a pretty happy-go-lucky person, he said. Getting restitution, its like pulling teeth., White-collar criminals are pretty good at hiding their money,, Youre supposed to get less time for cooperating, a lesser penalty, and instead, you see what she got hit with., She will never get beyond the debt. In preparation for what lay ahead, David had backed an unmarked company Ford Econoline van near the vault entrance and opened the van's back door. Later that year, he saw a newspaper ad for a job at Loomis Fargo. He and Tammy could have one or two meals each week that he really liked, but the rest were hot dogs or Hamburger Helper. - Husband and wife Steven and Michelle Chambers, whose conspicuous consumption of a luxury home, a BMW convertible, breast implants and a $600 wooden Indian, among other purchases, helped the FBI solve the crime, were assessed $3.81 million and $4.8 million, respectively. He waffled on the heist idea three or four times from late August to mid-September. Turns out, most of the thieves and their accomplices have been about as effective coming up with their court-ordered restitution as they were hiding their original crimes. Prosecutors say a vault. Meanwhile, Ghantt's gang spent wildly and paid their family members and friends to hide money. ", "I don't need any more friends," she'd shot back. The participants in the heist also spent lavishly on fancy jewelry, fancy cars and breast enhancement surgeries. All of the defendants are out of prison -- the longest sentence was 11 years. 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Marine Fisheries Commission advocates for water quality, North Carolina the only state allowing unnecessary killing of sea turtles, 'Pagan' bike gang leader in N. Carolina sentenced to prison, Deputy cleared in shooting death of Gloucester woman, Beaufort amends charter to allow four-year mayoral term. Holding her hands behind her back, Michele Chambers was sentenced Tuesday to seven years and eight months in prison for her role in the $17 million heist from Loomis, Fargo & Co. She was also. White-collar criminals are pretty good at hiding their money, she said. "I don't have time to mess with you. Butcher says the federal courts in the Western District of North Carolina have never handled a case quite like Loomis. document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ). In the end, the FBI was able to capture the original gang in five months, snaring 21 individuals for their participation in the crime. It took me going to prison to realize I was a bag of worms, and it took me years of work to be somebody worthy to come back into our society, he said. The unfairness gnawed at him, stirred by Kelly's questions. The gang made numerous mistakes. What purpose does that serve other than to denigrate that person into abject poverty?. But that only tells part of the story. FILE - Kelly Campbell, one of the 21 people convicted for their involvement in the $17 million Loomis Fargo heist, awaits sentencing for her part in the theft at her mobile home near. Charlotte Observer"more than a crime story, and one that's worth reading." About six months before the Charlotte theft, on March 29, a total of $18.8 million was taken from Loomis, Fargo in Jacksonville, Fla., in what was believed to be the largest heist in U.S.. According to Butcher, Campbells last official payment came in June 2021 when the government appears to have seized a tax refund of $81.24. Burks was also ordered to serve 15 years in prison, limiting his ability to balance his books. Ghantt, his former co-worker Kelly Campbell and her friends Steve and Michelle Chambers carried out the Loomis Fargo heist on Oct. 4, 1997. Campbell, a former Loomis employee and one of the original masterminds of the caper, has paid off less than $21,000 of the $4,701,694.18 she was docked. "Just think about it," she said. In the movie: Campbell invites Ghantt to a restaurant under the auspices of a date, but then springs the idea of the heist on him, as Chambers and two associates join the conversation from an . So they went to Mexico and arrested Ghantt in order to protect him. Current price is $11.49, Original price is $14.99. Over 88% of the money has been recovered since the heist. Then we went on a mission to calculate exactly how much size-wise the money was, $11.3 million in $20 bills, and it weighed over 2,000 pounds, Wydra said. There was no reason to leave anything, he felt. You can garnish wages. shaka wear graphic tees is candy digital publicly traded ellen lawson wife of ted lawson real kelly campbell loomis fargo heist 25 Feb/23 (No Ratings Yet) Spunk. Im married, I got one girl, shes 15 going on 30. RELATED: When you have money, you just have different problems: The Loomis Fargo heist, 25 years later, How I held it together is beyond me, Ghantt said. Michelle Chambers paid off only $27,000. He allegedly hired a hitman to take Ghantt out, tying up the ultimate loose end. Loomis Fargo, the nation's largest privately held armored- car company, used vans to transport hundreds of millions of dollars a day belonging to banks and other businesses, stocking automated teller machines and storing money in the Loomis vault between deliveries. David would simply empty the vault and deliver the money to the others. For example, Steve Chambers and his wife were living in a. It was 2:00 p.m. on October 4, 1997, and tension was building between two planners of what would rank high among the largest heists in United States history. In total, 24 people were convicted and all but one of the accused pleaded guilty. David didn't appreciate her tone. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Some of that money is just gone. This was several years before the advent of smartphones and the post-9/11 increase in federal surveillance of electronic communications, and public knowledge about this tracking was less widespread. The site features a collection of unexplained, strange and odd mysteries. It was the second-largest. The theft at the time the second-largest cash robbery in U.S. history has been the brunt of mocking movies and books, mostly on how the thieves, who had little money to begin with, could not control their spending habits once they did. Loomis Fargo employees could not open the vault the next morning, and called the police. I appreciate your kind words! He also stole both existing sets of vault keys and hurried into the manager's office, where three TV security screens and two VCRs were visible. The FBI was inadvertently aided by the gang members extravagant spending. Despite being caught on camera wheeling the money from the vault to the getaway van, David Ghantt makes off to Mexico before the FBI can blink. (LogOut/ The bag held his mobile phone and handgun. As beads of sweat formed under his red hair, he loaded up another cart and repeated the process. Loomis Fargo heist: 25 years later While David Ghantt trusted Steve Chambers enough to leave his cut behind, Chambers had other plans. Campbell, a former Loomis employee and one of the original masterminds of the caper, has paid off less than $21,000 of the $4,701,694.18 she was docked. (LogOut/ Ghantt had struck up a relationship with a fellow Loomis Fargo employee, Kelly Campbell; they continued to maintain contact even after Campbell left the company. At about 6:40 p.m., he went back inside. '. Of course the problem was, the money belonged to someone else. Theres no way to get it back,, And with Loomis, were looking at only one case. One night in a small North Carolina town, a down-on-his-luck guard at Loomis Fargo manages to steal $17 millionliterally more than one ton of cash. So he and some friends decided at the end of his Oct. 4 shift he would load a company van with more than 2,000 pounds of cash and just drive away. These cookies do not store any personal information. The biggest restitution numbers for victims of financial crimes generally involve Ponzi schemes or sweepstakes fraud, not cash thefts. Some of that money is just gone. "So he stays behind and moving over two thousand pounds of . Sure enough, she called a few days later, around September 16. But you cant get blood from a stone, Johns said. A former FBI agent who helped crack the case sat down with Channel 9 Reporter Glenn Counts to talk about the clues that led to solving the crime, and how the group got caught. A couple by the names of Steve and Shelley Chambers also became people of interest in the investigation due to their extreme sudden increase in spending. But after a year, they cut it down to two agents. By using this website, you accept the terms of our Visitor Agreement and Privacy Policy, and understand your options regarding Ad Choices. When I put that cash in the back of the car, by the time I got to the office the whole car smelled like that. "About fourteen or fifteen million dollars," he said. Have a youtube channel or website similar? You Save 23%. Anybody who gets caught up in the system is getting chewed up by it, the now-retired Gronquist told the Observer. After marrying Tammy in 1992, he worked fueling airplanes at the airport in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He had approached her inside the chain-link fence that surrounded the building and said with a flirty smile, "If you give me a cigarette, I'll be your friend. Some of the biggest numbers remaining on the Loomis collection board, as is the case with Campbell, belong to those who played the biggest role in the crime: David Ghantt, the Loomis employee who loaded all that money 2,800 pounds in all into the back of a company van before escaping to Mexico, has paid just under $50,000 of the $3.81 million he was assessed. Most people are going to forgive you. Paying the money back has taken a lot longer, and time is running out for the U.S. government to collect. Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter. "I've got a friend," she said, "who can hook you up with a new ID.". Tips had led the FBI to begin monitoring Chambers (and his wifes) activities, but it was not until the FBIrecorded a phone callfrom Ghantt in Mexico that the final connection was made. This website uses cookies and some data tracking to improve your experience and serve adverts, We assume you're ok with this, you can opt-out if you wish. Chambers had broached the possibility of a robbery to Campbell earlier in the summer. The phone calls began to get more intense when Steve and Eric got suspicious of a man who was running hismouth about them and the vault job over in Charlotte.

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