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Big Stick-Up at Brink's!: The Inside Story of the Gang Who Pulled Off Boston's Greatest Robbery

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A riveting and frequently hilarious insider account of one of the twentieth century’s most outrageous capers.   On the evening of January 17, 1950, armed robbers wearing Captain Marvel masks entered the Brink’s Armored Car building in Boston, Massachusetts. They walked out less than an hour later with more than $2.7 million in cash and securities. It was a brazen and exper A riveting and frequently hilarious insider account of one of the twentieth century’s most outrageous capers.   On the evening of January 17, 1950, armed robbers wearing Captain Marvel masks entered the Brink’s Armored Car building in Boston, Massachusetts. They walked out less than an hour later with more than $2.7 million in cash and securities. It was a brazen and expertly executed theft that captured the imaginations of millions of Americans and baffled the FBI and local law enforcement officials.   But what appeared on the surface to be the perfect crime was, in fact, the end result of a mind-boggling series of mistakes, miscalculations, and missteps. The men behind the masks were not expert bank robbers but a motley crew of small-time crooks who bumbled their way into a record-breaking payday and managed to elude the long arm of the law for six years.   New York Times–bestselling author Noel Behn tape-recorded nearly one thousand hours of interviews with the surviving robbers, including motormouthed mastermind Tony Pino, a character so colorful he might have been dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter, to tell the uncensored story of the heist forever known as “the Great Brink’s Robbery.” Fun and suspenseful from first page to last, Behn’s true-crime classic was the basis for The Brink’s Job (1978), the Academy Award–nominated film directed by William Friedkin and starring Peter Falk and Peter Boyle.  


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A riveting and frequently hilarious insider account of one of the twentieth century’s most outrageous capers.   On the evening of January 17, 1950, armed robbers wearing Captain Marvel masks entered the Brink’s Armored Car building in Boston, Massachusetts. They walked out less than an hour later with more than $2.7 million in cash and securities. It was a brazen and exper A riveting and frequently hilarious insider account of one of the twentieth century’s most outrageous capers.   On the evening of January 17, 1950, armed robbers wearing Captain Marvel masks entered the Brink’s Armored Car building in Boston, Massachusetts. They walked out less than an hour later with more than $2.7 million in cash and securities. It was a brazen and expertly executed theft that captured the imaginations of millions of Americans and baffled the FBI and local law enforcement officials.   But what appeared on the surface to be the perfect crime was, in fact, the end result of a mind-boggling series of mistakes, miscalculations, and missteps. The men behind the masks were not expert bank robbers but a motley crew of small-time crooks who bumbled their way into a record-breaking payday and managed to elude the long arm of the law for six years.   New York Times–bestselling author Noel Behn tape-recorded nearly one thousand hours of interviews with the surviving robbers, including motormouthed mastermind Tony Pino, a character so colorful he might have been dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter, to tell the uncensored story of the heist forever known as “the Great Brink’s Robbery.” Fun and suspenseful from first page to last, Behn’s true-crime classic was the basis for The Brink’s Job (1978), the Academy Award–nominated film directed by William Friedkin and starring Peter Falk and Peter Boyle.  

50 review for Big Stick-Up at Brink's!: The Inside Story of the Gang Who Pulled Off Boston's Greatest Robbery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie Cramer

    I loved this book when I first read it years ago. I recently read it again, and while it wasn't as awesome as I'd remembered it to be, it was nonetheless entertaining. I will add that it devotes many pages to setting the stage, while the robbery and aftermath seem almost rushed. I loved this book when I first read it years ago. I recently read it again, and while it wasn't as awesome as I'd remembered it to be, it was nonetheless entertaining. I will add that it devotes many pages to setting the stage, while the robbery and aftermath seem almost rushed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicolas Hall

    Read this when I was 12. The story fascinated me and became something of an adolescent obsession. Now, reading it all these years later, it still grabs me. The first hand account of a famous robbery told by the men who committed the crime and who, in nearly outlasting the FBI’s hunt for them, became local heroes in Boston. The rich detail of life in Boston’s north end in the 1930’s to the 50’s is worth the read alone. So glad I rediscovered it this year.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media. Originally published in 1977, this accounting of "the great Brinks robbery" (as I've usually seen the crime referred to) is being reissued in June 2016, this time in digital form. Author Noel Behn (1928-1998) began meeting with four major participants in the Brinks robbery in October 1972 and recorded over one thousand hours of "confessions" from men who had publicly denied complicity in the crime even though they I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media. Originally published in 1977, this accounting of "the great Brinks robbery" (as I've usually seen the crime referred to) is being reissued in June 2016, this time in digital form. Author Noel Behn (1928-1998) began meeting with four major participants in the Brinks robbery in October 1972 and recorded over one thousand hours of "confessions" from men who had publicly denied complicity in the crime even though they had been convicted and served penal time for it. This is both an incredibly fascinating book and an exasperating book. Fascinating because of all the minute details which went into the process of staging the robbery, but also exasperating because all of those minute details are outlined in the book and often became shear drudgery for me to slog through. However, I will certainly concede that you cannot possibly understand the robbery if you don't understand the principal who conceived and planned the entire crime. All four men demanded payment for their "confessions" and the author agreed to pay each man the money. Tony Pino was compulsive in both his desire to break into the Brinks vault in Boston and his planning and practice sessions which took over six years to perfect before the time finally came to put them into action. The portions of the book which bogged down terribly for me were the chapters devoted to all the practice sessions for preparation to rob the vault. Yet those chapters are essential because they relate the minute details Pino was discovering and adding to his store of knowledge. This was also the time (over these six years) when he was enlisting the other members of the gang. All criminals in the same line of robbery business as Pino, they were a fluid group mixing and mingling into groups to commit robberies and safe breaking jobs while watching the plans for the Brinks job wax and wane according to such things as weather, seasons of the year for longer hours of darkness, other criminals pushing their way into the plan to rob Brinks, members of the various gangs being in and out of prison. Six years the planning took and less than half an hour for the robbery to be done. Of special interest to me was seeing the climate in this relatively small section of Boston which harbored these criminals and yet never once did anyone snitch about the plans for a robbery of this size being planned. Even those not invited to join the robbery gang knew something big was being planned and yet nobody gave the authorities any indication of who was involved or what the target was. What went right during the robbery? What went wrong and why? How much money did they actually steal and how much did each member of the gang get? What ultimately happened to help the FBI break the case with only a few days remaining before the statute of limitations ran out? Six years of compulsive planning by one man and what were the results?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Howard

    BIG STICK UP AT BRINK'S! by Noel Behn recounts the robbery of approximately $2.7 million dollars from the Brink's Armored Car building on January 17th, 1950. Behn used over a thousand hours of interview material from the surviving robbers to recreate that night and the years of planning that lead up to one of the large heists ever in the US. Behn does an amazing job of bringing each of the robbers to life and slowly piecing together the group and their idea to rob Brink's. Each man brought some BIG STICK UP AT BRINK'S! by Noel Behn recounts the robbery of approximately $2.7 million dollars from the Brink's Armored Car building on January 17th, 1950. Behn used over a thousand hours of interview material from the surviving robbers to recreate that night and the years of planning that lead up to one of the large heists ever in the US. Behn does an amazing job of bringing each of the robbers to life and slowly piecing together the group and their idea to rob Brink's. Each man brought something unique to the group, and while the mastermind, Pino, was the key to it all, Behn makes the reader feel like it probably wouldn't have worked without each of the men involved. I found my laughing out loud at several points, especially most of the conversations any one had with Jazz Maffie. I would read a whole book just about that guy. Behn details how the heist came to be, from Pino tripping over the Brink's trucks in the wee hours of the morning, to finding the Brink's offices almost by chance, and then Pino finding the minimal, bordering on non-existent, levels of security at the Brink's vault. As a citizen of the United States, I am supposed to hope that all people who break the law are caught and punished appropriately, but by the end of BIG STICK UP AT BRINK'S, I was pulling for Pino, Maffie, and the rest of them to not only get away with the crime, but then be able to blend back into society and enjoy their success. BIG STICK UP AT BRINK'S reads fast, fun, and exciting and I had a hard time putting it down, especially at the end. Behn tells the amazing story with panache and with a care that comes from someone who feels honored to writing this book. I would recommend this book to anyone and I look forward to reading another Behn book in the future! Thank you to Open Road Intergrated Media and Netgalley for a copt of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Review originally published at Book of Bogan I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Big Stick Up at Brinks is the tale of an armed robbery - well, a series of robberies - of the armoured car company Brinks, which took place in the 1940s. I must admit that prior to reading the book, I had never heard of this incident, but it sounded like it had the makings of a tale in the vein of The Great Train Robbery. The author draws out portraits of most of the main players Review originally published at Book of Bogan I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Big Stick Up at Brinks is the tale of an armed robbery - well, a series of robberies - of the armoured car company Brinks, which took place in the 1940s. I must admit that prior to reading the book, I had never heard of this incident, but it sounded like it had the makings of a tale in the vein of The Great Train Robbery. The author draws out portraits of most of the main players in the gang, working his way into the story with a bit of a slow start, and really only picks up the pace in the last 1/3rd of the book. He describes a series of robberies which take place, which for the most part, are not that interesting. I suppose what was the most curious of all was how they were able to get away with their audacious robberies due to Brinks trying to protect their reputation. While the details of the robbery itself were well-described, and interesting enough, I felt that much of what happened afterwards was largely glossed over. The author does a great job of portraying the different personalities in the gang of robbers, but doesn't do so well with those they are pitted against. A mostly entertaining read, but a slow-burner.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    A must for every Boston area reader! Written like a novel, but backed up by interviews with some involved or on the periphery of small-time hoods. Very humorous because some of tghe guys were so inept. I worked across the street from the old Brink's building (now a parking garage) at the intersection of Commercial St. and Prince St.--near the North End and Garden--and never knew it! A must for every Boston area reader! Written like a novel, but backed up by interviews with some involved or on the periphery of small-time hoods. Very humorous because some of tghe guys were so inept. I worked across the street from the old Brink's building (now a parking garage) at the intersection of Commercial St. and Prince St.--near the North End and Garden--and never knew it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    E Vikander

    Most of the story in Big Stick-Up at Brinks is devoted to the planning and practices that preceded the actual robbery. Although Behn hooked me from the start, at times the story bogged down in conversations and details that did not move the story forward. Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading about the crew's lives more than their actual capers and particularly enjoyed the aftermath chapter. Most of the story in Big Stick-Up at Brinks is devoted to the planning and practices that preceded the actual robbery. Although Behn hooked me from the start, at times the story bogged down in conversations and details that did not move the story forward. Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading about the crew's lives more than their actual capers and particularly enjoyed the aftermath chapter.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    The infamous Boston Brinks robbery.An interesting and highly entertaining telling of this infamous event.The behind the scenes interviews with this crew of inept robbers characters will have you turning the pages at times laughing in disbelief.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Was it really necessary to repeat every word said by every source? The excitement of a bank robbery is lost in the minutiae of detail. For fans of the robbery only.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence

  11. 4 out of 5

    shannon mcternan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dean Ream

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ronny Corral

  15. 5 out of 5

    ALFRED R RUTLEDGE

  16. 4 out of 5

    comedy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karin Burns

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lonnie A Donaldson

  19. 4 out of 5

    frank truman

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Macdonald

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  22. 5 out of 5

    shedon

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ron Wade

  24. 4 out of 5

    DEBBIE KUTCHA

  25. 5 out of 5

    Clayton Bye

  26. 4 out of 5

    jamie

  27. 5 out of 5

    James M. Fitzpatrick

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mike Shur

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

  31. 5 out of 5

    Todd

  32. 5 out of 5

    Adam Matkowsky

  33. 4 out of 5

    Chris Puzak

  34. 5 out of 5

    Drew Kenneally

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  36. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  37. 5 out of 5

    Dan Hundt

  38. 5 out of 5

    Chopper

  39. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

  40. 4 out of 5

    Norman

  41. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Rosso

  42. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  43. 5 out of 5

    Preacher

  44. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

  45. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  46. 5 out of 5

    Skr

  47. 5 out of 5

    Heather Crumley

  48. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  49. 5 out of 5

    Travis

  50. 5 out of 5

    Lathis

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