Oh This Day, January 17th
1. 1950: The Great Brink’s Robbery
It was on this date in 1950 that a group of eleven men broke into the Brinks Armored Car depot in Boston and robbed them of more than $2 million worth of cash, coins, money orders, and checks, without leaving a trace. The men were led by Anthony Pino, who was a lifelong criminal, and they scouted out the location of the robbery for a year and a half prior to ensure they could steal the most money possible. They were extremely diligent and professional with the heist, they even stole plans for the alarm system and managed to replace them before anyone knew it was missing. They dressed up in navy blue coats and chauffers-caps similar to the other Brinks employees, only they were wearing Halloween masks to hide their identity. Once the men entered the counting room they tied up all the employees and over the next 30 minutes they filled numerous canvas bags with a total of $2.7 million that reportedly must’ve weighed almost a half of a ton. Pino and his men didn’t leave a single clue. They met up afterward to split up the loot and then all went their separate ways. The plan was to lay low and stay out of trouble for six years so the statute of limitations would expire. But one of the men was forced to serve a prison sentence for an unrelated crime so he had to leave his share with another member of the gang. However, he was concerned that he wouldn’t get his money and threatened to tell authorities about the robbery. The other members sent a hitman to prevent him from talking but the hitman failed. This caused him to spill the beans on the rest of the crew. Eight of the robbers were caught, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. The other two members passed away before they went to trial, unfortunately, the money was never recovered.
2. 1953: Corvette prototype revealed at Motorama
During the Motorama car show at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, General Motors revealed its new prototype car that would eventually become one of the most popular cars made in the United States, if not the entire world. They named it Corvette, which was a fast naval warship, and it was GM’s first two-seater sports car. Prior to the Corvette, the Europeans dominated the sports car market. Considering that General Motors was the largest car manufacturer at the time, they felt as if they needed to build something that could compete in that segment. Lead designer for GM, Harley Earl, came up with the concept car that was dubbed EX-122 internally that featured a full fiberglass body painted in a bright white, and vibrant red interior. Less than six months later the Corvette was sold with only a few small changes from what was seen on the prototype.
3. 1994: Earthquake causes billion in damages to Los Angeles
One of the most damaging and costly earthquakes in United States history took place on this date in 1994 when a quake measuring 6.7 magnitude devastated the San Fernando Valley in California. The area that was hit the hardest was Northridge, which is located roughly 20 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Buildings were reduced to piles of rubble, overpasses collapsed, and many of the highways received critical damage. Had the quake occurred during regular business hours the death toll would have reached epic proportions. Luckily, it occurred just after 4:30 a.m. so most people were at home asleep. With that being said, there still ended up being at least 54 casualties. The damage to the roads, buildings, overpasses, and parking structures was estimated to reach well over $20 billion, making it one of the most costly natural disasters in U.S. history. The damage would’ve been much worse had L.A. not made dramatic changes to its building and safety codes following a similar earthquake that hit the area back in 1971.