The relationship between San Bernardino County and the Brink’s armored car company appears to have gone south.
The board of supervisors this month moved to rescind approval of an earlier agreement made on June 28, 2016 with Brink’s, Inc. to provide armored car service to county locations from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2021.
The contract was worth roughly $300,000 per year to Brinks.
According to Laurie Rozko, the director of the county’s purchasing department, “Following a competitive solicitation process, the board of supervisors approved an agreement with Brink’s, Inc. on June 28, 2016 that was still under review by company officials in Texas and had not yet been signed. The board delegated authority to the chief executive officer to approve minor changes to the agreement if necessary. However, in July, as a result of the delay in the review process by Brink’s, the county’s banking vendor was able to extend service on a month-to-month basis through September 30, 2016.”
Rozko gave a somewhat elliptical account of how the county’s once-solid relationship with Brink’s has eroded.
“On December 21, 2015, the purchasing department released a request for proposals for armored car service,” Rozko said. “Proposals were received from two vendors by the submittal deadline: Brink’s, Inc. of Coppell, Texas, and Dunbar Armored, Inc., of Hunt Valley, MD. Proposals were evaluated by the purchasing department based on qualifications and experience, technical and service criteria, references, and cost. Brink’s, Inc. was determined to best meet the overall needs of the county. Brink’s initially indicated acceptance of the county’s standard contract language during the solicitation process, but later objected to numerous provisions of the recommended agreement in late July.”
In her report to the board of supervisors dated September 13, 2016, Rozko recommended that the board “rescind the agreement previously approved with Brink’s. Staff remains engaged in negotiations with Brink’s to finalize and present a revised agreement to the board for approval, but has determined that the county’s best interest will be served by having contracts with multiple vendors. As a result, staff began negotiating with the other qualified vendor who submitted a proposal in response to the request for proposals.”
Rozko then called upon the board of supervisors to “establish an agreement with Dunbar Armored, Inc. as a new county vendor. The county will have ability to add or delete locations at any time without penalty, and each department will be direct billed for its locations. The agreement provides for the county’s right to terminate without penalty with 30-day advance written notice.”
Among bandits, successfully knocking over a Brink’s truck is considered a pretty impressive accomplishment.
Many companies and entities operating armored cars – Purolator, Berkshire, Loomis, Wells Fargo RAM and the U.S. Postal Service among them – have fallen victim to daring and brazen robberies. Nevertheless, several robberies of Brink’s trucks, planes and facilities are the stuff of legend.
On February 18, 2013, eight masked gunmen pulled off what is now known as the 2013 Brussels Airport diamond heist. The perpetrators, in two cars with police markings and armed with Kalashnikov-type assault rifles and dressed as police officers, stole approximately €38 million worth of diamonds being transferred from a Brink’s armored van, which had driven from Antwerp, onto a Fokker 100 twin engine jet Swiss Flight LX789 operated by Helvetic Airways, which was bound for Zurich. The Fokker 100 was on the apron at Brussels Airport, Belgium, just before 20:00 CET. The heist was accomplished without a shot being fired.
On September 30, 2008, in Monroe, Washington, an innovative robber of a Brink’s truck took place. As a Brink’s armored car pulled up to make a delivery to the Bank of America, a landscaper, who was working the grounds and wearing a blue shirt, blue hat, and yellow safety vest, approached the armored car guard, pepper-sprayed him, stole $400,000 in cash, and fled the scene. When police arrived, they found the bank’s parking lot was full of men wearing identical clothing to the mysterious robber’s. All were “hired” by a phony ad, placed on Craigslist by a culprit whose identity was not immediately determined, instructing them to show up at the bank at the same time, wearing a blue shirt, blue hat, and yellow safety vest.
Months later, the FBI received a tip from a very attentive homeless man who had witnessed a “practice run” weeks prior to the robbery. DNA evidence later convicted former college football player Anthony Curcio of the crime.
On January 5, 1993, $7.4 million was stolen from the Brink’s Armored Car Depot in Rochester, New York, the fifth largest robbery in US history. Four men, Sam Millar, Rev. Patrick Moloney, former Rochester Police officer Thomas O’Connor, and Charles McCormick, all of whom had ties to the Provisional Irish Republican Army, were accused of the crime.
On November 26, 1983, there was an armed robbery at a warehouse near London’s Heathrow Airport, operated by Brink’s-Mat, a former joint venture between Brink’s and the London-based company MAT Transport, which specialized in the transportation of valuable goods. Three tons of gold bullion worth £26 million was stolen. Only a small amount of the gold has been recovered.
On April 24, 1980, 29-year-old Brinks guard Larry Roberts and his partner were delivering money to a Toronto Dominion bank inside the Agincourt Mall in Scarborough, Canada. Just before 1:30 PM, they were walking back to the armored truck, and Roberts was wheeling through the mall with three bags, which contained $178,500, the equivalent of US $144,000. Roberts, 29, a married father of a baby boy, was shot in the chest at close range and died at a nearby hospital. The other shot guard, Theodore Montgomery, eventually recovered. A third guard remained in the truck and wasn’t hurt. The two suspects who opened fire on the guards and grabbed the bags of money before fleeing into a nearby library were assisted by a third known accomplice, who fired shots into the ceiling. They exited the library through a rear door and fled in a green car. Two vehicles linked to the murder were later recovered. The blue 1975 Ford Gran Torino and the green 1977 Oldsmobile Delta were both stolen from the Montreal area and their license plates were stolen from the Ottawa area. The perpetrators have never been identified.
The great granddaddy of them all was the Great Brink’s Robbery, an armed robbery of the Brinks Building at the corner of Prince St. and Commercial St. in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts, on the night of January 17, 1950. Led by Boston small-time hood, Tony “Fats” Pino, 11 men broke in and stole $1,218,211.29 in cash, and $1,557,183.83 in checks, money orders, and other securities. At the time, it was the largest robbery in the history of the United States. Skillfully executed with only a bare minimum of clues left at the crime scene, the robbery was billed as “the crime of the century.”
All 11 members of the gang were later arrested, and all were paroled and released by 1971, except for one member, who died in prison. Despite ongoing efforts by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local authorities, only $58,000 of the initial $2.7 million stolen was ever recovered.