Time and History 7:27 P.M. Greatest Bank Robbery in U.S.

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7:27 in the Evening

Jan. 17, 1950. One of the Brink's cashiers managed to loosen his bonds and set off the emergency button which announced the greatest bank robbery in U.S. history. After 18 months of detailed organization, which included several dry runs, seven bandits wearing grotesque Halloween masks, gloves, rubbers, and navy pea coats, entered the Brink's headquarters in Boston, Mass. Reaching the vaults, they found five cashiers counting money and checking papers. The gunmen ordered the employees to lie down and then tied them up. The total haul was $2,775,395.12, of which $1,218,211.19 was in actual cash. During the raid the robbers also noticed a big heavy metal box marked "General Electric." Lacking the necessary tools to open it, they left it behind. (The box contained $800,000 in untraceable payroll cash.)

The 11-man gang was headed by chief planner Anthony Pino, who because of his size was affectionately known as the Pig. It seemed like a perfect robbery. Although the FBI and local police suspected the men involved, they had no proof against them. The state statute limit would be up on Jan. 17, 1953; after that none of the bandits could be prosecuted. But on Jan. 6, with only 11 days to go, one of the gang, Specs O'Keefe, sour at being tricked out of $63,000 turned informer. Within days the entire gang was arrested. Eight of them were sentenced to life prison terms. In 1960 Specs was released, having given state's evidence. When reporters asked him to comment, he said, "Nothing to say." After his release, there were at least three known efforts to murder him.

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