Attacks at Armored Car Facilities

While armed robberies are not new to the armored car industry, attacks on armored car facilities have been far and few between.  However, in the past few years there have been several incidents that made headlines. On February 18, 2013, eight masked men in two cars stole an estimated $50,000,000 in diamonds in Brussels Airport being transferred from a Brink’s vehicle to an airplane without firing a shot. Although this is not an armored car facility, it demonstrates the boldness of modern day heists that result from careful planning by criminals  looking for vulnerabilities within an operation. Normally, a well protected airport or armored car facility would be the last place that a criminal would target as it is well known in the security industry that crooks often pass on these sort of targets in search  for softer targets.

On July 14, 2011 an armored car company in South El Mont that services several hundred ATM’s in Los Angeles County was robbed and approximately a million dollars taken when several burglars gained entry through the roof catching the inside management team by surprise.

On August 12, 2011 news papers reported another robbery of a Garda Facility in Santa Rosa. The Warehouse is described as being located in a mostly residential area next to a church. As of this writing, no information is available on the amount of money stolen. Newspapers reported that on August 2, 2010 heavily armed masked men forced their way into ATM Solutions in St. Louis overpowering two guards and taking money 6.6 million from the vault.

In 2009 three men took a blow torch and gained entry through the roof at the Brink’s Columbus armored facility stealing nearly $2.8 million in cash and coin. On November 26, 2007 more than $8 million was taken from an Armored Transport (AT) Armored Facility in Liberty, Ohio during a burglary when an AT employee was able to access the vault during non-business hours transferring money to his personal truck.

The last major thefts reported at armored car facilities occurred October 4, 1997 when 8 people reportedly stole $17 million dollars from a Loomis Fargo & Company facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. On September 12, 1997 news papers reported nearly $19 million was stolen from the Dunbar, Los Angeles facility. Prior to these more recent events the last major robberies I recall occurred Jan. 5, 1993 at the Brink’s Rochester terminal which at the time was reported as the nation’s fifth largest armored-car robbery-$7.4 million. Another large facility heist occurred in 1983 when $7 million dollars was taken from a Wells Fargo depot in West Hartfort, Connecticut September 12, 1983. One of the better known international facility robberies occurred on Nov. 26, 1983 when robbers gained entry into the Brink’s – Mat Vaults at Heathrow Airport stealing millions in gold bars.
Although many facilities have upgraded their security equipment and processes, some have lagged behind in upgrading facilities with state-of-the art security equipment. With that said, security policies and systems have little value unless monitored for compliance.

Unless armored car facilities maintain on-going security risk assessments, facility robberies and burglaries may become more common. A security risk analysis could have benefited all of these locations. However, having state of the art secured facilities can also lead to complacency as was the case of the Paris Art Museum where burglars stole several hundred million dollars in art by gaining access into the facility without notice due to a faulty alarm that had not functioned in several weeks.
Maintaining adequate security is achieved when processes and systems are consistently monitored, managed and revised as necessary to meet changing threats and risk. Throwing money to purchase equipment and systems to fix a problem without first conducting a security risk analysis is not only a waste of capital but it may only create liability.  It is the maintenance phase of the security risk analysis that organizations often fall short when they fail to audit, maintain and revise the systems and processes that were installed as security strategies.

Jim McGuffey, M.A., CPP, PSP, PCI Owner of A.C.E. Security Consultants, LLC has 35 years of security management experience. Prior to becoming a security consultant Jim served 3 years in the military, 8 years in law enforcement and 26 years in the armored car industry where he held senior positions of Area General Manager, District Manager and Regional Vice President. During his career Jim had responsibility for numerous high risk facilities, a large fleet of trucks and several thousand employees.  Jim was awarded numerous national awards for producing leading results in safety, security, customer service, increasing sales and profit which are attested to by references from peers and supervisors.
Jim has a B.A. Degree in Criminal Justice, an M.A. Degree in Management and is Board Certified in Security Management, Physical Security, and Investigation by ASIS International of which he has been an active member since 1981. As of November, 2011 Jim was one of 57 security professionals in the world to hold all three board certifications from ASIS International.
Jim conducts security risk assessments for organizations and also conducts security risk assessment training. He has been retained as an expert witness in cases involving work place violence, death while in police custody, armored truck crashes, and armored car embezzlement cases. Jim is also called upon by financial investors from various parts of the world who invest in armored car companies to seek industry insight. He is active in his community and serves on several boards in leadership roles and also as a volunteer for organizations addressing homelessness, violence against women, drug and alcohol abuse, and prison ministries.
Please contact Jim at to learn how you can improve safety and security at your business with a security risk analysis or to assist in evaluating security and best practices that should exist at armored car facilities.

Disclaimer:  The articles contained on this website are written for general information purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be used as, a primary source for making security decisions. It is the responsibility of the end users and viewers to evaluate and seek out additional guidance as deemed appropriate for application.

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