Baker Street Bank Robbery
A bank robbery in London’s Baker Street in the early 1970s is a heist like no other.
A peculiarity of this case is that although the robbers planned and executed the plan very intelligently, they showed an equal amount of stupidity.
There are many conspiracy theories surrounding this case. That is another feature of it. Clever moves, plans and schemes were all the main attraction of this heist. That too in the seventies when such robberies were unheard of!!!
Baker Street … sounds like you’ve read somewhere else?
That’s right. Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories take place on Baker Street. This robbery has something to do with it. Sherlock Holmes’ famous detective story “The Red Headed League” is about a bank robbery by digging a tunnel. They chose this method in this robbery.
Its mastermind was a photographer named Tony Gavin who lived in North London. His criminal background is nothing but one or two cases related to the sale of intoxicating drugs. However, he had been watching Lloyd’s Bank in Baker Street for some time. Next to it was a restaurant called the Chicken Inn, and beyond that was a leather shop.
Gavin knew that he could not undertake this endeavor alone. So he roped in his friend Reg Tekker. He had no criminal background. So Gavin suggested him to open an account with this Lloyd’s bank. He closed the account and took a safe deposit box in the vault the very next week.
The uniqueness of this bank is that their safe deposit lockers kept many secret files of many elites, black money and many other secret items. Many of them are not legal, so even if they get away from there, they will not complain to the police. Gavin and his associates were well aware of this.
Reg Tekker came to this vault at the bank about thirteen times and stood there by himself under the pretense of using a safe deposit box, and measured the width and length of the vault with an umbrella in his hand, and when he didn’t have an umbrella, with his wrist. The tiles placed under the vault were measured and how many tiles were measured.
These measurements helped a lot in later robbery. Later, even the court confirmed that his lay out was very perfect. Although they are thieves, their patience and perseverance is admirable. It took about two months to take these measurements.
Gov felt that more people were needed for this heist and enlisted Thomas Stephen, a second-hand car dealer, for weapons.
The government got from him even a thermal lance used to melt metal including a jack capable of supporting 100 tons. Apart from these three, more partners participated in this robbery.
It was a perfect crime with all the ingredients needed for a bank robbery. An explosion expert, an alarm expert and two unidentified men were all involved.
Only two people were found. One of them is said to be a woman.
Gavin also recruited a shopkeeper named Benjamin Wolf, who was associated with various criminal gangs, into their gang. A leather shop near the bank was taken on lease in the name of this Benjamin. It was taken including its basement. Later this whole gang moved here.
This was to dig the tunnel to the bank at night after all the shops were closed at night. Digging started from the basement of the leather shop. Bank holidays are from Friday to Monday. But the nearby restaurant is closed only on Sundays. So tunnel construction is mainly done on Sunday.
Gavin himself did this work. It took about three months for this work alone. When the chicken reached the bottom of the restaurant, the tunnel was dug down. Later, the rest of the tunnel was built as the basement roof of this restaurant. What is the advantage of this, landslides are common in the construction of this tunnel but this can be avoided if the basement is roofed. So the rest of the tunnel is built down a few steps.
When this case reached the court, the court did not forget to appreciate its construction excellence. The court observed that such a construction is a miracle even without any prior knowledge.
Meanwhile, four more people joined the group. There is no information about the three of them till now. Police say it was a £3 million robbery. For its part, these three people must have lived comfortably somewhere.
To avoid any untoward incident during the construction of the tunnel, one of the team was stationed on the top of a nearby building with a walkie-talkie to inform them in case of any such incident.
The man looked around and gave instructions to Vanrobert.
One person lived within 800 meters of the bank; Robert Rowe Lands’ main hobby was to decode and listen to radio waves. While doing so, he happened to overhear their walkie-talkie conversation. He immediately informed the police.
But the police thought it was just a farce. Because a license is required to decode such radio waves. He did not have a license. So not only did they not take it seriously, but he later got fined for not having a license.
However they advised to record it next time. He did the same. This time he informed Scotland Yard directly. When they arrived, they got a clear indication that a bank robbery was about to take place somewhere nearby.
But there began their first mistake.
There were 750 banks in the surrounding areas.
They started checking in every bank. This Robert can only pick up radio waves at a distance of 800 meters.
But without knowing that, Scotland Yard started searching. For days they searched all the banks there.
Meanwhile, the tunnel reached under the bank’s vault. But its floor was so thick concrete that it could not be demolished except by an explosion.
So one Sunday they did that too.
But because of the fire and smoke, they had to get out and run.
Then they dug through the floor and got inside.
Safe deposits were broken into and looted one by one. While this process was going on, the police reached there.
They came as part of checking all the banks. On reaching the door of the vault, there were no signs of a robbery. And because it is time locked, if it is locked on Friday, it can be opened on Sunday.
But when the thieves came to know that the police had come, they made sure that this was their last day. Despite police and thieves on both sides of a vault, the police were unable to find anything. Meanwhile, an employee of the restaurant heard the explosion but did not take it seriously as he did not see anything.
Thus, despite months of waiting, they successfully completed the robbery.
We might wonder if a bank this big wouldn’t have a security alarm.
That’s right. There is But they became friends with the bank security and learned one thing from him. My alarm at the bank had been switched off for a few days due to frequent false alarms going on due to construction work on a building across the street.
Is there any more good news for thieves?
But with so much luck, they had a terrible mistake. Not one but two; It was this that helped them to be caught by the police. Not only that, there is another shocking twist behind this robbery.
When the bank opened on Monday after the weekend break, the employees left with their hands on their heads.
All the safe lockers inside the vault have been broken into. Everything is stolen. Someone’s valuable and confidential files are stolen along with it. But even the bank cannot calculate the value. Because the bank does not have accurate information about what is kept in the safe locker. The bank estimated the loss at around three million pounds.
But it would have gone twice as much because no one would complain about something illegal?
But the robbers made a stupid mistake and left the place by keeping the tunnel at the same level.
The police went through the tunnel and reached the leather shop.
Another elephant blunder was that Benjamin Wolfe, who leased the store, provided his own identification documents for the lease. And is it difficult for the police to catch the person?
It was not difficult for the police who picked up Benjamin to find out information about Gavin. But another blunder quickly brought the police to him.
Gavin, a regular at a nearby bar, had also provided his own identification. That’s how he got inside.
According to Govin’s statement, Reg Tuckere was also picked up.
But the other three did not provide any return documents. So they could not be caught till now. One of them is said to be a woman. In this case, Benjamin got only eight years in prison due to difficulty. The other two were sentenced to twelve years rigorous imprisonment. But this was not the twist the media got.
From the beginning of this case, the British royal family, the government and the police had given a strong warning to the media in this case.
Do not publish anything about this bank robbery. But the media did not understand why they were afraid of such a robbery.
D notice means ban on media.
In this case they issued a D notice.
The warning was not to release any news about this. But with that the media started reporting with more interest.
Many conspiracy theories came up.
But the dominant one is this story.
Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s sister, led a somewhat checkered life.
Although married, they had many extramarital affairs. A photographer named Michael X took several nude and racy photos of the princess while on vacation with them.
He kept it in the safe locker of this bank. There were also rumors that the royal family had done it to get it. It is also said that the D notice was given out of fear of being fired.
But that’s not all. It is also said that some photos of a then British government minister sexually abusing children were obtained from here. Michael X was later found to have been hanged by the government in a murder case.
With that, the way to get photos is closed. It is also said that they planned such a robbery because they did not have any information about the safe locker.
Anyway, when Gavin and Reg Tucker came out after serving twelve years in prison in this case that got a lot of media attention, the press came closer again. He said that.
We don’t mind because we got more than we bargained for. What does that mean? Aren’t all the conspiracy theories true? who knows?
NB: The Bank Job is a thriller that tells the story of a Baker Street robbery.
[Images of the British Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret are mostly included in this post not to reinforce the connection with Margaret, but because they are members of the royal family and their beautiful photos are widely available. The dress of that period, the interiors of the palace, and the childhood of the Queen, who is now in her nineties, are thought to be able to be depicted even in the name of a conspiracy. Readers need not view those images in any other sense.]