Remember the 2003 Antwerp diamond theft? Well, a recent Wired magazine article talked to one of its perpetrators, and that article is now well on its way to being a major motion picture, produced (and possibly directed) by J.J. Abrams, of Lost/Alias fame.
What’s interesting here is that the crime’s apparently talkative mastermind, Leonardo Notarbortolo, claims to have had an inside accomplice, a “Jewish diamond dealer” who organized the criminal gang. But the heist apparently netted less than intended, and Notarbartolo, who was released from jail this week, now suspects it was “an elaborate insurance scam.” (Implying some of the victims wanted their safes robbed.)
Now, I remember at the time people there being genuinely distraught, and some were apparently wiped out. The author himself has doubts about Nortarbartolo’s version of events, given he is a self-confessed “thief and liar.” For what it’s worth, I can’t say I’m a big fan of author Joshua Davis, after his overheated 2003 Wired cover story ($5 a carat!) on synthetics. The new article sometimes reads like a glorified movie treatment, with its cast of sympathetic rouges with colorful nicknames (“The Genius,” “The King of Keys”)
In any case, this movie looks like it will be made, and could be big. (Though the last diamond heist picture, Flawless, came and went without a trace.) Apparently, De Beers is fond of these heist stories; after the attempted theft of the Millennium Star, Nicky Oppenheimer is said to have remarked, “If only we could do this once every six months, we could do away with the advertising department altogether.”
Who can say? Anyway, again, the Wired article is here.
UPDATE (3/19): Here’s Chaim Even-Zohar’s rebuttal to Wired.