Reading Matters

Remember the Loomis Fargo heist?

What comes to mind when you hear the word “heist”?

If you were in Charlotte in the 1990s, what comes to mind is likely the $1.7 million Loomis Fargo theft on Oct. 4, 1997. The crime resulted in 21 convictions.

Jeff Diamant, a former reporter for the Charlotte Observer, was the lead reporter on the crime, and he amassed details that make for both juicy and thoughtful reading.

Thursday at 7 p.m., Diamant will be at Park Road Books to talk about his book, “Heist: The Oddball Crew Behind the $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft,” which he has revised since the 2002 edition.

Because of the items the money went for (a faux leopard-skin stair runner, a beveled mirror with a leopard-skin fabric frame, a ceramic elephant, a statue of a fat chef, bookends of female nudes and 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.” He says he tried to avoid the cheap shots.

Diamant is a Yale graduate working on his PhD at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

The event at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, Charlotte, 28209, is free and open to the public.

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