The movie practically writes itself: In 2015, a group of elderly British thieves pulled off the “largest burglary in English legal history.” Over the course of one holiday weekend these 60- and 70-year-olds managed to steal millions of dollars worth of jewels and cash from safety deposit boxes, without ever raising suspicion. It’s Ocean’s Eleven meets the Cornetto Trilogy meets The Bucket List. And while the story hasn’t been made into a movie yet, Vanity Fair has a fantastic profile on the Great Hatton Garden heist.
It’s a long article, but well worth a read. Writer Mark Seal profiles the various elderly working-class thieves involved, and details how they broke into the heavily secured vault by drilling a hole through concrete and crawling through it (CNN has photos of the scene). Seal also examines the various slip-ups that eventually led to their arrest a month later. There’s all of that, plus a character named “Billy The Fish,” an eccentric thief who wears a fez to bed, and an unexpected cameo from Forensics For Dummies. And the whole thing is dripping with British culture: At one point an arrested thief tells the police he’d rather have a cup of tea than ask for bail.
When the Great Hatton Garden heist movie does get made, it will be the perfect opportunity to explore the British class system. The thieves had few qualms about stealing from the rich, while many of the safety deposit box owners refused to even reveal what was stolen from their boxes because it was probably illegal or unregistered to begin with. And during their investigation, the police had to hire a special interpreter to translate the East London dialect and slang the thieves used when openly bragging about their theft at local pubs. According to the article, “A lawyer at the trial compared the work of deciphering their conversations to the work done by Shakespearean scholars.”
Read all of that and more—including the fact that $15 million of the stolen goods is still missing—over on Vanity Fair. Meanwhile Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Caine, and Bill Nighy should be expecting a call from their agents shortly.