Rhode Island December 06, 2017
One Of The Most Insane Heists In U.S. History Happened Right Here In Rhode Island
It’s no secret that Rhode Island – and in particular Providence – has a bit of a complicated past. It wasn’t too long ago that organized crime played a significant role in the economy and day to day life of Little Rhody. It’s hard to believe that it was just over 40 years ago that one of the most significant heists in history took place right in the Ocean State’s capital.
In the 1970s, members of the Patriarca crime family were the unofficial rulers of Providence. Their influence stretched all across the city, and no one dared interfere with them.
Almost no one, that is. On August 14, 1975, eight men drove a van to Hudson Fur Storage, a large storage facility that in the back held the Bonded Vault Company, an unofficial bank used by the Patriarca family. Since everyone was scared of crossing the mob, there was minimal security, and the bold robbers easily entered the building, held up the robbers at gunpoint, and got into the vaults.
They managed to break into the safe deposit boxes, while the terrified employees (unaware of the secret vault in the back of the building where they worked) listened to the robbers shrieking about what they found.
The vault was a veritable treasure trove, and the robbers couldn't get all of it. Once they had left and the employees got into the back of the building, they were shocked to find gold bars, jewels, and more left behind.
The robbers did make off with about $30 million in valuables, worth about $135 million in today's dollars. The robbers initially escaped, but each quickly burned through the cash they had taken, and conflicts between them proved their undoing and led detectives to crack the case in 1976.
The trial of the eight men turned into a costly, closely-watched affair that took four months to come to an end. Two of the robbers worked with the police to provide evidence against the remaining six. Three were convicted, and three were acquitted. To this day, there is suspicion that the heist was organized by the head of the Patriarca family in order to punish his associates for insufficient loyalty. To this day, the case remains mysterious and legendary in the Ocean State.
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