Two weeks ago, I interviewed former jewelry store thief Larry Lawton. Following that, he sent me a copy of the book about his life, Gangster Redemption.
While reading, this excerpt (on page 86) caught my eye:
After his third [jewelry] heist it occurred to [Larry] that if he didn’t learn something about the value of diamonds, he would leave himself open to being cheated. There’s a school in Manhattan called the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) that teaches everything you’d ever want to know about diamonds. Lawton couldn’t risk enrolling officially, but he was told that one of the teachers at the school taught a class for anyone who didn’t want it known he was taking his classes. The instructor taught in his apartment three nights a week for two weeks. There were six other “students” in Larry’s class where Larry earned his master’s degree in diamonds.
I asked Lawton for more details. He said the classes took place in 1990. He paid $10,000 to take them.
“The guy knew what he was talking about,” he says. “He taught us everything. Did he know that after taking the class I would go out and rob people? I can’t say that.”
We should note that all this took place a long time ago. Today, GIA conducts classes that are the polar opposite of these: Educating law enforcement (the good guys) about the basics of diamonds.
One note: Please don’t speculate about this person’s identity in the comments.