Banks are the most commonly targeted places for heists, and Pierce Brosnan has already featured five episodes on bank, hotel, or airline attacks. But the 6th episode of “History’s Greatest Heists With Pierce Brosnan” is an exclusive and priceless heist. Behind every heist are the brainboxes with the master plan. They can observe what normal people usually overlook. Most people visit a museum to appreciate the beauty of art and sculptures. We go, take pictures, enjoy the vibe, and leave the place. What we don’t do is plan an extravagant heist to steal the valuables out of a museum. The American Museum of Natural History has more gems than any bank in the world. The craziest part is that it had no security. And if the crew could pull off the heist in perfect order, it could be the biggest museum robbery in history. So, let’s seek out what Brosnan conveys about this heist.
Banding Before Expanding
The age of the 1960s was considered to be the golden era as heists were so mainstream, happening within seconds. But the ultimate target was definitely the dream city of New York, which was a hub for millions. The American Museum of Natural History, one of the biggest museums, consists of 2 million square feet and is situated opposite Central Park. From skulls to skeletons to dinosaurs, the museum was decorated with antique and extinct models. But the most precious part was J.P. Morgan’s stone collection inside Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems (100 ft long and 60 ft wide) on the 4th floor of the building. There were 20 windows on one side of the wall, while the other side had a big iron-braided door that was usually locked during the night.
The rising minds from Florida teamed up under Jack Murphy, the surfer. Murphy, the tall and blonde man, was an intelligent and smart man with a badass vibe. He was already a pro at picking pockets among tourists, and with a sharp mind, he knew what position he would truly fit into. But the mastermind behind the heist was Allan Dale Kuhn. Allan belonged to a poor family and had already been to jail at the age of fifteen for stealing. After that, he joined the navy, and a few years later, he joined a hotel in Miami as a swimming coach. Allan and Jack are the best duos to carry out a heist, as both of them have many things in common. Roger Clark, the jack of all trades, became the getaway driver for this operation. The three partners planned to take this show on the road.
Real Mass Inside The Glass
In 1964, Murphy moved to New York to keep his eyes on their target. They visited the museums like random tourists to survey each corner of the building. They aimed at the star-like blue gemstone (500 carats), which is a very rare piece preserved in the museum, and also at the eagle diamond (15 carats), which is said to be the largest diamond in America. Another highlight was the star-shaped ruby, which weighs more than 100 carats. Following the list was the black sapphire from Sri Lanka, a real museum piece that weighs more than 1016 carats. Apart from listing down, the boys in their mid-20s were fully enjoying their life inside the hotel. From breathing to boozing, Allan and his team were living it up until the real heist began.
During that time, Allan found a different kind of partner, namely Janet Florkiewicz, his new girlfriend, who was also residing in the same hotel. He also took Janet to the museum to take another look at the gemstones. Right before the heist, Jack, aka “Murf the Surf,” was recognized by some people while roaming around the bars of renowned avenues. The dream will be dead if Jack backpedals, and Allan Kuhn has a feeling of being betrayed at that moment. Kuhn convinces him to stay back, and for one last time, Jack is finally in on the plan. They could get inside the building only through the giant windows, but it could be a physically demanding challenge.
The plan was that Roger would drop the two ringleaders on 81st Street, and then they would go directly to the fifth floor as the windows were easily accessible that way. They got the hammer, glass cutter, and duct tape to breach the display cases. It was the 29th of October, and the crew had fastened their seatbelts to start the adventure. While the other members masked up, Jack Murphy decked himself out in a nice suit, as he believed in the philosophy that he should look good even when he is being caught up. Roger was ready with the walkie-talkie, whereas Murphy and Allan were ready for their final physical tests to blow in the museum. They were supposed to cross a 125-foot ledge in the air that directly connected to the window. But they are very focused on passing the narrow lane as soon as possible. It gave them a sigh of relief to see the window wide-opened, as it wouldn’t let the alarm ring by the time they reached the Hall of James. Now, it’s showtime. They hid in a corner and waited for the security guard to go away.
Allan and Murphy took their positions to initiate a move. Starting from the blue gem, they tried to break the double-pane glass surfaces with different tactics. After lots of trials, they score, tape, smash, and grab the gemstones one by one, lurking up from the security guard who came for a rotation every hour. Taking out all their quarries, they started smashing more glass boxes to collect as many gems as possible. And they are much cooler for enveloping themselves in the darkness to hide from the flashlight of the watchman. From the midnight star to aquamarine, from emerald to garnet, they piled up dozens of extremely valuable gems from around the world. (more than $200,000)
Not A Hiccup-Free Heist
And they have to walk back the same way they entered the hall. They climbed down with rope, taking all the tools and treasures with them. They made a quick and clean getaway from the American Museum of Natural History. Before things got messed up, they wanted to split up the cache filled with rare gems and jewels. In the meantime, Murphy heard police vans arriving near the museum. They managed to flee to the hotel, and now all they wanted was to travel back to Florida, sell the jewels, and start their own club and bar. What they did was ask Janet to carry the bag full of eggs without revealing her own identity. Janet agreed to visit Miami with the trio. The NYPD and FBI blamed the museum authority for not having a proper alarm system. The security lapse caused a huge loss to the historic building. Within 24 hours, someone from the Cambridge hotel informed the cops about the three people.
The cops discovered many things in the hotel room, including floor plans, scales, books of gems, cigarettes, etc. The FBI found out about the trio but got no information about the jewels anyhow. The public loved the celebrity criminals for their charming looks and sharp brains. The DeLong ruby, the Star of India, and several smaller stones were retrieved within a few months by the very intelligent investigator from the Miami bus terminal. The Eagle Diamond, on the other hand, has not been reported and is assumed to have been snipped and sold into paver pieces. Murphy was found guilty later and sentenced to 3 years in prison at Rikers. While Roger and Kuhn started a fresh life after punishment, Murphy got involved in another dark business. Only ten out of twenty-four gems were brought back to custody as if the gems had relocated from their gossip rag days to the glass vaults of gemology.