Dubbed ‘America’s Greatest Bank Burglar’ by the FBI,
Amil Dinsio Has Become a Subculture Folk Hero
More than four decades after the FBI’s most-wanted burglar stole $12 million from the nation’s most infamous president in modern history, Amil Dinsio is finally telling his side of the story.
“After federal agents perjured themselves and falsified evidence against me, I told the media I’d give them a story – the real story,” says Dinsio, author of “Inside the Vault” (www.amildinsio.com).
Long the object of folk hero worship in the subculture of “Oceans 11”-style criminals and those fascinated by their deeds, Dinsio has been the focus of secondhand articles, fictionalized pulp novels and secretive FBI files.
“None of them could possibly get it right – my brother and me and our crew are the only ones who know the full story,” he says.
The following is a summarized breakdown of the heist, and later developments.
- What he and his team managed to do … In a small Orange County, Calif., bank, millions of illegally obtained dollars sat in the vault of America’s most infamous president, Richard Nixon. Dinsio – the alarm expert and mastermind of the heist – and his crew from Youngstown, Ohio, pulled off the burglary in April 1972, resulting in a score of more than $12 million dollars – the biggest bank vault burglary in U.S. history. They penetrated the building’s thick steel-reinforced walls, circumvented multiple alarms, and dropped down into the state-of-the-art vault, where they emptied hundreds of safe deposit boxes over the course of three nights.
- Why they did it … “I am what I am – a master burglar, which means I broke the law, but I think most people would see this heist as something of a victory, since it was against a man who is arguably America’s biggest war criminal,” Dinsio says. He and his crew had inside information about the source of the dirty money, some of which came from the dairy farmers’ lobby in exchange for a promise to increase the price of raw milk, he says. At least $3 million came from then-Teamsters Union head Jimmy Hoffa – money paid to have his prison sentence commuted by Nixon in 1971. Hoffa helped lead Dinsio to the vault in order to get some or all of his money back, Dinsio says.
- Why he wrote the book … Dinsio, described by the FBI as “America’s greatest bank burglar,” and the historic heist have been the subject of numerous documentaries and books. All of them, he says, got a lot of it wrong.
“For 40 years I’ve come across so much speculation, and among my more than 100 successful burglaries, this is one history should get right,” he says. “Many might say that I wasn’t so successful since I went to prison, but the reality is that government officials had to break the law in order to convict me.” If nothing else, the book is a reliable document available for future historians, he says.
- The lengths government officials went to in securing a conviction … “In order to send me to jail, federal agents, prosecutors and judges had to break their oath to the Constitution by stealing, perjuring themselves and planting evidence on me,” he says. “They weren’t smart enough to convict me honestly.”
Officials supposedly found a flashlight battery with prints found in the getaway car, as well as some coins. “I’m telling you – there’s no way we left anything like that for investigators,” he says. “I watched as one FBI investigator after another sauntered into the courtroom and lied about the evidence right to my face.”
About Amil Dinsio
Amil Dinsio, mastermind behind the greatest bank burglary in U.S. history, had committed scores of bank burglaries before stealing $12 million from President Richard Nixon in 1972. Because the law was unable to catch him, he says officials committed criminal acts such as perjury, falsification and burglary in order to secure a criminal conviction. “Inside the Vault” is his first book and the first insider revelation of the details behind one of the greatest heists in U.S. history.