April 19, 1989. Eden Prairie, Minnesota. At 1 p.m., armored car company guards performing an ordinary afternoon pick up suddenly found themselves under siege by a band of thieves-- thieves with a plan to get rich in less than 60 seconds.
One guard grabbed one of the robbers' guns but was quickly overpowered. Immediately, another vehicle pulled up in front of the armored car, blocking its escape. A fourth robber then placed what looked like a bomb on the truck's hood.
In just under a minute, the robbers had stolen close to one million dollars in cash from the armored car, and then vanished without a trace. Robert Roman, of the FBI investigated the case:
"It seemed like kind of a commando type thing, like these people had been well trained at that type of thing. These robbers come very heavily armed and very much ready to shoot."
Using a rope and pulley rig, the bomb squad carefully removed the bomb from the hood. X-rays revealed that it was just a fake, a clever tactic to buy even more time.
The FBI linked the fake bomb to an identical device used in a Baltimore, Maryland robbery three years earlier. In that operation, the same gang of thieves made off with over $600,000.
It was thought that the gang would quit while they were more than a million dollars ahead. But one year later, they struck again.
Just ten miles from the scene of the last robbery, in the town of Burnsville, Minnesota, a Brinks guard was waiting in the cab while his partner began loading the back of the armored car with cash.
Suddenly, the armed gang arrived and forced the guard loading he cash to the ground. The Brinks driver was terrified:
"As I turned around, I could see this van was coming up in front of me. I hit the van real hard. I turned the siren on, shots went off, scared the living daylights out of me. I could see my partner on the ground. All those shots that were going on, I thought they'd killed him. I thought he was dead. He was just laying on the ground."
A getaway car pulled up and the thieves raced off. Robert Roman says it is fortunate that no one was injured:
"It's a real lucky situation that some innocent bystander wasn't killed, 'cause there were a number of shots fired and there were a number of shoppers passing and bank customers passing right by the area."
The robbers abandoned their car behind a nearby shopping center and fled on foot. The FBI believes they may have had another vehicle parked nearby.
Authorities brought in tracking dogs and set up roadblocks, but the gang had once again made a clean getaway.
The following morning, police found one of the stolen getaway cars less than a mile from the bank. It contained no evidence that could identify the robbers. Robert Roman, FBI:
"These individuals could be living anywhere in the United States, and we would like to get information from anybody who has any indication that people that may be able to perpetrate this type of crime have come into a lot of money, or that had the capability to commit these robberies in any one of these three cities."