The Lufthansa Heist – A legendary robbery

There are hundreds of robberies that have taken place in the United States. Some are by chance, but few are considered to be planned out for a good amount of time and executed with great timing. Such robberies can be instances of expert master mind behind the plans. One such example is the Lufthansa Heist, which took place at the J.F.K. International Airport in 1978. This robbery according to historians was said to have taken place in well coordinated manner, with the robbers being successful to loot jewels amounting to $875,000 and cash of about $5 million. It is regarded to be the very first of its type in the whole U.S. history. This heist exposed the weakness of the law enforcement officials, which had left millions of citizens to be astonished and leaving at the mercy of the robbers and the Mafia families, with no adequate protection from the police and law enforcement officials.

Planning of the Heist

The plan to carry out the Lufthansa heist is known to have been drawn on Astoria Blvd., near LaGuardia Airport. It was the Mafia Jimmy Burke, who had come up with this master plan. With his associates, he had planned action during the Airline Diner. Information with regards to the airport was leaked out by knaves, who were one of the airport supervisor named Louis Werner and Peter Gruenwald, his co-worker. The reason for their participation in the plan and to pass on information to the Mafia was because they were immersed in huge debts and had to rely upon thefts.

They knew that American money flew once via Lufthansa airport in a month, which was used for tourists and servicemen living in West Germany to act as monetary exchange. The money within Lufthansa was stored inside a crypt at the Kennedy Airport. The information was passed on to the Burke in 1976. But it took two long years to be executed in 1978. The other associates involved in the plan as Henry Hill and Lucchese.

Ford Econolline van was used by the Mafia to reach the place, where loading of the vault was done. Cargo agents were injured during the raid a senior agent who was aware of the right key combination was forced towards opening up the crypt, after which the robbers got away with the cash.

It became thrilling news and two Hollywood movies and telefilms were directed having this incident depicted.