The word “heist” will bring up different things for different people.
But if you were in Charlotte in the 1990s, what likely comes to mind is the $1.7 million Loomis Fargo theft on Oct. 4, 1997. The crime resulted in 21 convictions.
Jeff Diamant, a former Observer reporter, was the lead writer on the crime, and he amassed details that make for both juicy and thoughtful reading.
Friday at 7 p.m., Diamant will be at Park Road Books to talk about “Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft,” which he has revised since the 2002 edition.
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Because of the items the stolen money bought (a faux leopard-skin stair runner, a statue of a corpulent chef, a clown-faced lava lamp), the episode became known as “the hill billy heist.”
But Diamant was not out to make fun. As he says, as a crime reporter, you’re talking with people at the worst time of their lives. And these people, or most of them, trusted Diamant to “tell their stories in a fair way.” Cheap shots? He tried to avoid them.
Diamant is a Yale graduate working on his PhD at the Graduate Center of the City Univesity of New York.
The event is free, and you’re invited.
Park Road Books: 4139 Park Road, Charlotte, N.C., 28209.