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Bank Robbers Steal Worthless £50m

This article was written by in Consumer. 11 comments.

You’ve probably heard about the Great Tornbridge Robbery, in which £50 million (about US$85 million) was heisted from a bank in the United Kingdom last Tuesday. That’s a large sum of cash to have around; in fact, it’s so large, it might as well be Monopoly money. While the story has sparked discussions of what one might do with a vast pile like what was stolen, the robbers may not be able to do much.

According to a money laundering expert cited by CNN, the robbers have three options: stash it, try to spend it, or launder it. Spending it would be difficult. You can’t just go to a car dealer with tens of thousands in cash and expect to buy a car. There are rules put in place to protect the seller from money laundering.

The money would have to be broken into smaller sums and distributed in order to be more likely to evade detectives. Even so, getting away with the job is going to be extremely difficult. Last week, a woman tried to open an account
in southeast London with just a few thousands of pounds in cash. Whether or not she has anything to do with the heist, she has now been taken into custody as a suspect.

While £50 million is a lot of money to have, when you can’t use the money for anything, it has no value.

Updated July 16, 2010 and originally published February 25, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar samerwriter

I get a chuckle every time I think about these 10 guys sitting around the perimeter of a room with $85 million sitting in the middle of the floor, looking at each other and thinking, “now what?”

It reminds of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”

Of course right now they’re probably still at the stage of trying to figure out how to knock off their cohorts (or, alternately, how to avoid getting knocked off).

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avatar jim

I’ll take a worthless $85M any day… :)

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avatar Sean

Tonbridge Robbery….one thing British bank staff are trained to death on is detecting Money Laundering.

Is it the same in the US?

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avatar retireat30

So because they have $85 million it is worthless. Let’s think out the logic here:

If they had stolen $1 million, they would have about $1 million.

Because they stole an additional $84 million, they now have less than $1 million?

Uhm… No. It makes for a fun story, but these people were smart enough to pull off the largest heist in british history. Lets give them some credit for being able to extract at least half: $42 million out of their $84.

Nevertheless, talk about diminishing returns to scale.

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avatar jim

They make it sound like they have to launder all $85m in one shot… heck, I can launder a few grand every week and be perfectly content. Plus, don’t you think there are “services” out there that can launder money for a fee? Of course there are.

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avatar george.hardwicke

Dear Sir,

I am a personal accountant of George Hardwicke, who recently came upon $85 million due to a personal windfall. Due to some misunderstandings with the British Exchequer and Scotland Yard, Mr. Hardwicke requires that the monies be repatriated to your country. I seek your partnership in assisting Mr. Hardwicke with this transaction.

For your efforts, Mr. Hardwicke is prepared to offer you the generous sums of 30%, or $25.5 million. To facilitate the transaction, I will require from you only your bank account number. Please provide this to me posthaste and I will initiate the transfer of $85 million to your account forthwith.

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avatar jim

Who’s “george”? :)

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avatar Luke Landes


Very amusing. :-)

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avatar Empty Spaces

I was thinking exactly the same thing when i heard it on tv. how the hell are they going to dispose of the money. they’ll probably have to bury it and leave it for several years or try to smuggle it abroad.

i think they’ll get caught pretty soon. someone’s bound to get sloppy.

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avatar RS

Sure would be fun to try to spend that much money. Reminds me of that movie Brewsters Millions where Richard Prior has to spend a certain amount of money in a specific way.

They could just use it for a lot of small things such as groceries and clothes…stuff that you just pay cash for.

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avatar Curios

$85 Million in toilet paper and toothpaste? Sounds like a fun Friday night to me.

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