***** Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History. By Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell; published by Union Square Press, www.sterlingpublishing.com (Web); 336 pages; $24.95.
This is the story of the largest—and certainly one of the most audacious—diamond thefts in history, one that netted its perpetrators nearly $500 million in jewels.
The book is a fascinating reconstruction that reads like a James Bond thriller. It covers the heist’s two years’ planning in Turin, Italy, through its operational phase in the diamond capital of the world, Antwerp, Belgium, where the thieves spent a year establishing their cover before the crime took place. The meticulous operation, which culminated on February 15, 2006, even necessitated the creation of specially constructed tools. While the jewels were never recovered, a simple act of carelessness by the thieves would doom the heist’s ringleader to capture.
The book was coauthored by Scott Andrew Selby, an attorney, and Greg Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds, which chronicled the violent diamond trade in Sierra Leone and was turned into a major motion picture. The two interviewed several police officials connected to the Antwerp case as well as some of the thieves themselves. They created a fascinating reconstruction of the crime through these interviews, but some of their narrative of the theft is speculative.
Selby and Campbell offer insight not only into this specific crime but also into the Antwerp diamond trader’s state of mind and the European criminal mind. Flawless will be a fun and informative read for anyone who enjoys a good caper.
Reviewer: Adrian A. Barnie, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), is a contract senior investigator assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland. He is a member of ASIS International.