Friday, April 18, 2008

It Resembles A Sherlock Holmes Story

The following news story reminded me of one of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, can you guess which one I'm thinking of?

It was a crime mystery combining elements of the films Ocean's Eleven, The Third Man and the 1979 heist movie Sewers of Gold, also known as The Great Riviera Bank Robbery.

Police in Naples had been baffled for months. Six times they were on the verge of capturing would-be bank robbers in the act —- and six times the gang vanished, apparently into thin air.

Three of the aborted raids were even on the same bank, the Antonveneta in the Galleria Umberto I, a smart, wrought-iron-and-glass, art deco shopping arcade opposite the San Carlo Opera House.

Their technique was allegedly the same in every case: they rented ground-floor rooms next to the banks and when the bank employees had departed, dug tunnels at nights and weekends into the vaults containing safe deposit boxes.

The robbers' plan, which nearly came off, was to ensure that their tunnels connected to the sewer system so they could use it as an escape route. They even used a computer to create a model of the intricate network.

In the last raid on the Antonveneta in February the police, acting on a tip-off, were waiting inside the bank as the robbers emerged - but the gang leapt back into the tunnel and disappeared into the drains.

“No one knows more about underground Naples than Oliva,” a police spokesman told Il Mattino, the Naples newspaper. “He could navigate it with his eyes closed. He knows where all the drains are: the water mains; the dangerous electrical cables.”

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