‘History’s Greatest Heists With Pierce Brosnan’ Recap: Episode 5 – Invincible Journey Of The Dinsio Team

A bank robbery requires a loaded gun, a getaway van, duffel bags, and a mind-blowing master plan, among other essential elements. Pierce Brosnan is back with another episode of “History’s Greatest Heists with Pierce Brosnan,” delving into an intricate plan to loot the United California Bank, holding almost $30 million. The most intriguing bank heists are those that deviate from the basic recipe. The final outcome of the bank robbery is generally decided by group cohesion and the framework itself rather than the trade’s standard arsenal. This was meticulously planned by a group of competent looters to blow into a bank in Laguna Niguel (California) in pursuit of a big paycheck. But how did they pull it off? Certainly, all the details would be shared by the anchor as well as the investigating team and one of the heist members named Phil Christopher in this documentary.

Spoilers Ahead

Teaming Before Dreaming

One of the largest banks in the United States was hijacked in March 1972, with a remarkable execution by the best robbery team. According to Amil Dinsio, the mastermind of the show, banks are no less than a gift; all you need to do is take what they offer you. Along with his brother James Dinsio, Amil started making a plan for how to commit the perfect crime. James was an explosives expert, which was a plus for carrying out the mission. The two people were not sufficient to do this job all alone. All they needed was a highly efficient team to work with. Phil Christopher was hired because he had a reputation for being a super thief. Charles’ Chuck’ Mulligan joined the Dinso brothers as the supply man, the brother-in-law of the Dinsio brothers. Phil’s cousin Charles Broeckel had pulled off a few burglaries, so he was also hired to the team.

For a successful achievement, they commissioned Harry Barber as the getaway driver. It took almost 35 days to plan everything accordingly. The United California Bank was filled with jewels, hard cash, currencies, gems, and whatnot; especially, it was rumored that this was a piggy bank for all the black money President Richard Nixon had. The story commences in Youngstown, Ohio, where Dinsio receives information about Nixon’s hidden compartment. It was decided that all the team members would be given five percent of the whole amount individually. It is not easy to steal the president’s money, but the Dinsio brothers were the ultimate larcenists. 

The Money-Journey

As for the plan, they went for unusual shopping for the heist, like buying a walkie-talkie, a car, glycerin, and chemicals. The weekend was the best time to carry out the plan as there would be no employees around the area. Before a few days, the team started analyzing the battleground, and that is probably what the toppers do. One day, they noticed a vintage car stopping by the bank. A man with a cigar in his hand came out, and he was accompanied by a German shepherd. The sniffing dog took a round of the place and went back. It was a headache for the team, as they had no clue who exactly the man with the dog was. But that didn’t stop them. They had a multiple-day robbery plan, as it wouldn’t be enough to get inside the vault room in one night.

After careful planning, the team reached the bank’s roof while Harry was safeguarding them. They had two major things to follow. One was to get inside the bank, and the second was to turn off all the security alarms. They used drill machines to make tunnels around the roof, then got inside the building with a ladder. It took them more than eight hours to find out about the alarm, which could vibrate anytime during the mission. Diebold was a renowned alarm company, and James had already tried his hands on it. Thus, it was easier to disable Diebold as the mechanism was familiar to the team. But they could not find the exact wires and thus clogged up the alarms with shaving foam. They used dynamite to knock a massive hole through the ceiling. And to muffle the uproaring sound, they used sacks filled with slushy sand so that they could calmly blast the steel-reinforced concrete. That night totally went to waste as they were running out of time. They again covered the roof in such a way that no one from outside could suspect anything.

The next day, they finally reached their dream destination—the vault room. The clock is ticking, but they are so close to their destiny that they would never give up now. The interesting fact was that they used a special snout-nose hammer to break the lockers. They tried their best to fill the empathy bags with cash and jewelry. During the dawn, they had to make a 30-million-dollar decision about whether they should dig more or leave the place. By 4:30 a.m., they had gone downstairs to walk out of the heist spot, and Laguna Niguel was still uninformed about the robbery. Again on Sunday night, the crew decided to get inside the vault again the same way they had earlier. While plowing the safety boxes, they received a call on the walkie-talkie. Mulligan informed the team that an unknown figure was heading toward the bank. The scene could not be any worse when they actually heard footsteps emerging towards them. The confined space is more than enough to choke a person. At the very moment when they are already scared of an uninvited visitor, Charles Broeckel starts coughing. The crewmates showed Broeckel the straight path to the hallway while they all waited inside for more than thirty minutes until the intense sounds faded away. Then, they gathered much of the valuables within a short period of time. Amil locked the door of the vault room from the inside in such a way that the employees could not crack the door easily on Monday morning. Out of 500, they hit almost 458 safe deposit boxes, which is a score of a lifetime.

Hard Work Or Art Work?

By the time the bank opened the next day, the team had fled from California. The staff of the bank was unable to get inside the vault, so they called the police. While everyone thought of 50 thousand dollars to be clutched, the FBI was shocked to discover that this was one hell of a heist that cost 30 million dollars. The FBI put eight agents on the case, including former director Edgar Hoover himself. While the investigation was at its peak, the Dinsio brothers decided on another heist in Lordstown, Ohio, after this huge victory. They have already summed up so much, yet the idea of another heist sounds very risky, especially when the FBI is involved in the case. But they had no control over their dopamine level and ended up ripping off another bank in Ohio. It is always said that criminals will always leave a piece of evidence for the cops, unwillingly, of course! With acute observation, the investigation team found a lot of similarities between the California and Ohio heists. They fetched each member’s information from the airlines to navigate the current location of the team members. And finally, they were able to disclose five names with the help of the records of phone calls and other sources.

Meanwhile, Mulligan called one of the men to get rid of all the evidence (specifically the car used in the heist), and that is when the FBI nailed it! The FBI agents somehow found the car with the information Mulligan shared over the phone. The car was not evacuated; hence all the masks, caps, and tools were recovered from the false trunk. The heist team was satisfied with the fact that they made a clean getaway. But it was the fingerprints that they left from place to place. Many currencies and coins found in Dinsio’s house belong to the United California Bank. Now it was a trouble-free movement for the FBI agents to catch the culprits.

After 215 days after the heist, Amil Dinsio, Mulligan, and Phil were convicted and sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment. James was sentenced to 15 years in jail, while Harry spent eight years behind bars. With the sophisticated plan, even the authorities called it one of the best burglaries and the most investigated manhunt in America. But some pea-brained mistakes led them to confinement, as admitted by Amil Dinsio; he added that he should not have hired any outsiders to make the plan work out.


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