Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Great VMI Armored Car Holdup of 1989

Val Kilmer in Heat (1995)

NYT, 1/19/1989
"Two cadets at Virginia Military Institute and a father of one of the cadets were arrested yesterday by Federal agents and charged in the armed robbery of $4.5 million from an armored car in Clifton, N.J., last month.
The cadets, who had disguised themselves as police officers during the carefully planned holdup, were taken into custody yesterday afternoon by F.B.I. agents on the campus of V.M.I., the prestigious military academy in Lexington, Va.
The third suspect, Robert W. Jasinski, 51 years old and a part-time employee of the armored car company that was robbed, was arrested at his home in Boonton, N.J., said John C. McGinley, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Newark.
Mr. McGinley identified the cadets as Bryan Smalls, 21, of Columbus, Ohio, and William Thomas Jaskinski, the 22-year-old son of Robert Jasinski.  
Money Recovered
A large quantity of the money stolen from the armored car on Dec. 22 was recovered by the F.B.I., Mr. McGinley said.
The three suspects were charged with violation of the Hobbs Act, which bars interference with commerce by threats of violence. Special Agent McGinley said the charges stemmed from the robbery of a vehicle owned by the Coin Depot Armored Car Corporation of Elizabeth, N.J. The robbery occurred after three guards had parked the armored car behind the First Fidelity Bank at 66 Mount Prospect Avenue in Clifton.
The guards were approached by two men dressed as police officers carrying an automatic rifle and sawed-off shotgun. ''They subdued them, handcuffed them and placed them in the rear of the armored car,'' Mr. McGinley said. The armored car was then driven to a nearby industrial park where the robbers were met by a white van, which Mr. McGinley said was apparently driven by Robert Jasinski. Guards Not Harmed
After transferring most of the money to the van, the three robbers left the guards in the armored car unharmed.
Mr. McGinley said that if the three suspects are convicted, they could each be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for up to 20 years.
A Federal complaint filed in United States District Court in Newark yesterday said that Robert Jasinski was a part-time employee of the armored car company who had worked on the same route used by the truck that was robbed. The complaint said that Mr. Jasinski admitted planning the robbery, and that his son, a senior at V.M.I., and Mr. Smalls, a sophomore, carried it out.
Both cadets were on Christmas vacation when the robbery took place, officials said. They rented their police uniforms from a costume store in Paramus, N.J., Mr. McGinley said.
Robert Jasinski led Federal agents to a house in Parsippany, N.J., where ''numerous garbage bags and a footlocker,'' stuffed with money were found in the attic, officials said.", 6/6/1989

Two former Virginia Military Institute cadets and the father of one of them pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to a $4.5 million armored-car robbery in December.
The three men exhibited the same discipline in court that officials said had characterized the armed robbery, during which the two cadets wore rented police uniforms while the elder Jasinski drove a getaway van.
When Judge Brown quizzed them individually whether they had pleaded guilty voluntarily, each responded briskly, "Yes, your honor."
John P. Lacey Jr., an assistant U.S. attorney, said the government had agreed to drop charges of conspiracy against the three men in exchange for their guilty pleas to the robbery charge.
In exchange for their pleas, Lacey said, the government would recommend the minimum sentence in a range suggested by probation officials.
"Because of their cooperation, we've agreed to recommend the minimum," Lacey said. Nevertheless, he said he expected the sentence would be ''substantial."
More than $4 million of the loot was recovered after the elder Jasinski confessed to the robbery and led the FBI to the attic of a friend's house, where he had stashed the money.
The men also placed more than $300,000 and the weapons taken from the armored-car guards near a garbage can in Newark in the hope that someone would spend the money and divert investigators, federal officials said. That money was not recovered.
The two cadets were on holiday break from the prestigious military school when they robbed the armored car. They resigned in January rather than face certain expulsion from the school, which is noted for a strong honor code.
The younger Jasinski was Smals' mentor [dyke] at VMI, and the Ohio student often visited the Jasinski family in New Jersey."

 LA Times, 1/30/1990

"A former security guard was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for masterminding the largest armored-car robbery in U.S. history. The court found that the man's son and a friend had been coerced into participating and sentenced them to shorter prison terms.
Robert W. Jasinski, 52, of Boonton, told U.S. District Judge Garrett Brown Jr. that he expected no mercy for himself, but he asked for leniency for his son, William, 22, and William's friend from military school, Bryan Smals, 20, of Columbus, Ohio.
The two younger men were sentenced to five years each."

I wonder whatever happened to that missing $300,000?

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