As I’ve committed in other posts, Netflix seemed to be in a funk with the true-crime docuseries before Sophie A Murder in West Cork helped breathe new life to the shows.
The latest offering is Heist focusing on three high-profile robberies that you may not have heard of. The six-part series surprisingly has first-person commentary from all those who were convicted of the crimes which gives it an angle rather than relying just on interviews from law enforcement, media and victims.
The first crime case is the weakest, focusing on an armored car robbery in Las Vegas, Nev., as Heather Tallchief, a young driver for Loomis, finds herself tangled in the robbery with Robert Solis, an older man and they go on the run as fugitives.
Tallchief leaves the older more experienced guards along in the Circus Circus, as they are dropping off money bags.
This story doesn’t really pop anything more than a Datetine NBC/48 Hours Mystery/20/20 news magazine story.
The series kicks it up with the second case involving a group of men in Miami, Florida who rob a Brinks cargo warehouse at Miami International Airport. What makes the case so interesting is its similarities to the Lufthansa Heist featured in Goodfellas.
But it’s amazing they were able to pull it off as the robbers almost found themselves being stopped by U.S. Custom agents who had shown up in the parking lot at the shift change at the same time of the robbery. Then, they didn’t estimate how heavy the money bags could be and find themselves literally dragging the bags on the ground. And their driver doesn’t think to pull the getaway truck closer to the bay area.
To say anymore would ruin it as one of the robbers does the wrong thing by showing off too much money and it all goes bad there. Just like in the first story, it shows that armored-car companies, at least in 2005, had very lax security measures. It is hilarious that Brinks didn’t allow any guards to carry firearms out of the truck into the warehouse.
As one law officer investigating the case comments, all they had was a yellow painted line on the floor of the bay area as a safety precaution.
The robbers here are colorful and seemed to be thrown into sad situations as Karls Monzon and his wife, Cinnamon, had been wanting to adopt a child after a series of miscarriages and even an infant’s death. You feel sorry for them.
But they did commit an armed robbery. Conrado “Pinky” Perera, despite his criminal past, comes off as the most colorful one who laughingly jokes, “Do you know what $100 million looks like. It looks beautiful.”
They didn’t steal all that. Remember the bags must’ve weighed 40-50 pounds each. And they were working on a robbery that took only a minute. They were able to steal $7.4 million, more than what was reported stolen at Lufthansa. And like that heist, most of the money hasn’t been recovered.
The third story is the most fascinating one as it shifts location to Kentucky and goes from stealing money to stealing booze. Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger works at the Buffalo Trace Distillery and begins to steal bottles of Pappy Van Winkle rare bourbon that he sells to people getting the label of “The Bourbon King.”
The story is full of colorful characters including the local Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton who never met a photo op he didn’t like. Melton and Curtsinger seem to be such fascinating characters they seem almost too real to anyone not familiar with the ways of life in the Frankfort, Ky. area or places similar to it.
There’s also an O. Henry style twist to this case that I won’t give away but it’ll have you thinking, “Of all the dumb luck.”
The only problem I have with this story is how everyone seems to defend the actions of Curtsinger and his partner-in-crime, who all declined to be interviewed, as the story wants to end on a saccharine moment. At one point, one of the interviewees compares the case to just stealing bubblegum from a store.
Yeah, but that was some very expensive bubblegum.
And while people are changing their opinions now among workers and employers as we try to come out of the pandemic, let’s not deny that Curtsinger stole property and resold it. If there are laws in this country, then what’s the point of having them if we want to cherry pick who can do what?
I don’t know if Netflix will do more of these stories. I think they’ve found an angle they can focus on in the true-crime field that doesn’t feel saturated with stories focusing on oft-done crime cases. Despite some problems, this is a nice series to binge watch.