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Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,372 ratings  ·  259 reviews

On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard in the process.

Although the crime was perfect, the getaway was not. The police zeroed in

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Union Square Press
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  2,372 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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Jill Hutchinson
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
This book could have had an alternate title called "Brilliant" as it certainly falls into that category. In 2003, the largest diamond heist in history occurred and the author delights the reader with the step-by-step preparation and execution of the amazing robbery.

Antwerp, Belgium is the diamond capital of the world and through the ultra secure Diamond District, millions upon million of dollars worth of gems (80% of the world's available supply) pass daily. The electronic and men-on-the-ground
Alex Givant
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, best-of-2019, crime
Excellent account on Antwerp diamont heist. I always amazed how much efforts and thinking criminals put in some high-value heists. Interesting facts about diamond industry too!
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 starts for this one . What makes this book a good one is the fact that this actually happened, a group of people robbed the diamond center in Antwerp and made out with almost 500000 $ in diamonds and fleeing currency, 4 people were accused and went to trial , they never talked...even until now there is no clarity as to how it happened but this book tries to answer those question...this book feels like a movie and better than one at the same time . Highly recommend it if you are looking for a ...more
Feb 17, 2010 rated it liked it
I got this eBook free via Barnes & Noble on Facebook! It's a good read so far -- has the feel of Ocean's 11, except it's a true story. I'm learning a lot of things that I didn't know about the Antwerp diamond district -- which I didn't even know existed.
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Being largest diamond heist in history- really, one of the largest heists ever, this book is inherently interesting. It answers the burning questions like, how did they do it? Did they get caught? Although we don't really know exactly how they did it (nobody talked), the fast paced action of this book takes you through the process and gives you a taste of the excitement that the thieves must have been feeling as they went through it.

At 230ish pages, it is pretty fast paced. Lots of nonfiction
Vicky Hunt
High Tech Security Rendered Worthless with Hairspray, Electrical Tape, and Styrofoam

Whether family heirlooms, personal investments, corporate diamond industry products, blood diamonds, war/ conflict diamonds, or just black diamonds in general... diamonds represent a highly valued method of portable and exchangeable wealth that is not dependent on currency or political stability. The diamond district in Belgium sees much of the diamond traffic that circulates the globe. This book follows the
Aug 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a decent account of a very interesting crime. I guess I expected the story to be somewhat similar to the movie of the same name, but it was totally different. In fact, the only thing similar besides the name is that it is a story of a diamond heist. Anyway, I don't think that prevents me from evaluating this book on its merits.

There's some good background here on the diamond industry, and the authors are pretty careful to make it clear in the text what they know for sure and what is
Fred Hughes
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fairly detailed account of the world's largest diamond heist.

The thieves made a couple of minor mistakes and were caught and served their time.

But the diamonds were never recovered

Fun book
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The fun of participating in reading challenges is discovering exciting new books. I was challenged to read a book having to do with diamonds, so I selected a non-fiction work about a jewel heist.

In 2003, a group of Italian thieves broke into a secure vault in Antwerp's Diamond District, and stole what could be valued at $500 million in jewels, precious metals and cash. Author Scott Andrew Selby presents a work of narrative non-fiction, outlining the impressive details of the robbery and how law
This was an interesting book to listen to. It goes into great detail about the heist and how it was perpetrated, and is very concise on which parts are factual and which are guesses. I also found the background information about the diamond industry surprisingly interesting; I knew very little about it, so this part of the book was actually quite educational for me.

Recommended for fans of
The Great Pearl Heist: London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable
I'm a fan of capers and this is a good non-fiction one. Generally I prefer film capers, as there's often too much detail which slows the pace in writing. Here the backstory is fascinating enough--the biographies of the thieves, the story of the diamond industry, Antwerp, and the theft-to hold my interest. There's not a sense of breathless anticipation as the theft details are revealed but a real sense of following an investigation with myriad facts, hypotheses, and characters. Well-researched ...more
Cheryl Hager
if not for the BR reading challenge, I would have never considered this book, or any true crime book, for that matter. I tried to remember where and what I was doing when all this hit the news in 2003...I don't remember any of it. Just think, if these guys, and others like them, put this same effort into something productive and law-abiding, the world would be less of a sesspool.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommend
Fascinating true story about the largest diamond heist in history. An easy and enjoyable read!
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History details the 2003 Antwerp diamond heist, the largest objective heist in history. (Objective meaning the value of stolen goods is accurate. Stolen artwork's value is difficult to quantify.) While the heist itself comprises most of the book, the authors discuss culture and industry information as needed.

The book is organized in rough chronological order. It begins with a detailed history of the Italian city Turin, where all of the thieves
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Fascinating look at an epic heist. Read like a movie.
Elisha Condie
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was certainly interesting, and entertaining. Leonardo Notarbartolo is a small time Italian crook and he, along with several crook buddies (who form an informal organization called the School of Turin) plan to rob a vault in Antwerp's Diamond District. Just like the cover says, it's all very "Ocean's Eleven". There's the electronics guy, the supply guy, the charismatic leader guy.

And they are so close to getting away with it when just a couple of bad coincidences tie them to the crime.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is perhaps one of my favorite books of all time. It's an entirely new experience to get in the head of a master criminal and see all the tactics they are willing to employ for one heist. Working in the office above the safes for half a decade so no one suspects him as a suspicious characer, using hairspray, masking tape and a piece of styrofoam to take out one of the best security systems in the country, and the one fatal flaw the gang made in their getaway that led to their eventual ...more
Somnath Banerjee
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting narrative of one of the most daring crime that ever too place, a diamond heist in early 2000. First the book gives a good background of the diamond industry, various operations involved in diamond mining to production and marketing -- which sets the stage for an informed reading. Although I visited Belgium myself, I never knew that Antwarp is the main center of diamond business, having the so-called "Diamond District" -- which was eventually targeted by a very smart ...more
Michael O'Neill
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Fair to middlin'. What I thought was going to be an exciting thriller, advertised as "the largest diamond heist in history", was rather flat both in the story and in the telling. The details of the planning and the heist itself were described as if our "school of Turin" was a crew of plumbers off to replace the fixtures in a customer's bathroom. And to have the apparently successful heist come undone within twenty-four hours because the masterminds were careless about their trash was ...more
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A group of thieves pulled off a perfect robbery in 2003. The alarms didn't trip and no one was injured. Making it out with over one hundred million dollars in diamonds and jewels. The police were able to find out who the culprits were but they were baffled by how the heist went so smoothly. The big dog of the group was an Italian man named Leonardo who worked out of a Diamond Center office. Scott, a law graduate and Greg, an author, teamed up to find out what really happened during one of the ...more
Ken Eveleigh
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent story of the planning and execution of the "crime of the century". Reconstructed through personal interviews, trial transcripts and extensive survey of the police evidence. A real life "Ocean's Eleven".
Lori Paximadis
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this well-told, suspenseful story of a real-life vault robbery and how it came together. Lots of interesting information here about the diamond business in general, too, as well as Antwerp's diamond district.
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I really enjoyed this book, which was surprising considering I picked it out at random at the library. It's like a real-life Ocean's 11 story. I actually found myself feeling bad that the thieves got caught (but of course they did, or there wouldn't be a book about how they did it).
Greg Pallett
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you enjoyed Oceans 11, any of the punk panther movies or The Heist, you out to give this book a read. It's the story of one of (if not the largest) diamond/jewelry/money theft in history.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book, well written and I just could not put the book down. It is am amazing story! To think that they nearly got away with it is incredible. They had luck on their side the whole time, until right at the very end their luck ran out. But the fact that they robbed the diamond vault with no problem is unbelievable. The whole story is so intriguing. The research that went into backtracking everything to put all the pieces together, however, there are gaps and you make up your ...more
Oct 06, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Joyce rated it really liked it 4 stars
Shelves: audio, journalism, microhistory, nonfiction, true-crime
I'm a fan of capers and this is a good non-fiction one. Generally I prefer film capers, as there's often too much detail which slows the pace in writing. Here the backstory is fascinating enough--the biographies of the thieves, the story of the diamond industry, Antwerp, and the theft-to hold my interest. There's not a sense of breathless anticipation as the theft details are revealed but a real
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
The first half of the book, describing the diamond theft, is fun and engaging, if padded. The story of the police investigation is much less interesting, and unfortunately Selby really draws it out:

> The judges sat on bright orange kindergarten-style plastic chairs that were a few shades more intense than the orange carpeting on their dais. These clashed mightily with fluorescent green desk pads and the electric blue curtains. To complete the palate, one wall was painted mustard yellow and
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Fascinating and well-researched! The sequence of real events is genuinely worthy of a movie. I think this heist & the Central Bank heist of Brazil are my two favourite modern heists for the sheer ingenuity involved (not to mention nobody gets hurt)!

I can't even imagine how unbelievably mad I would be if I had pulled off a heist like this only to be immediately unravelled by my trash being discovered by an overzealous old man - who honestly sounded like a massive prick.

Still, the thieves
Sam Hnatiw
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
While the story itself is fascinating. It feels like the authors were more concerned with hitting a word count than telling an interesting story. Details are repeated to an extent that i found myself rolling my eyes. I had to force myself to finish the final 3rd of the book. Id say if youre a fan of true crime, read this. If you like the repetative catalogue of every last detail, even ones that dont seem relevant, youll love this. But it really wasnt for me. Even the actual retelling of the ...more
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I'm a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School. I also have a masters degree in Human Rights and Intellectual Property Law from Swedens Lund University, where I wrote his thesis on diamonds. I am licensed to practice law in California and New York. ...more

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