"Flawless" is a true crime tale as entertaining as Hollywood's "Ocean's Eleven." The authors move their narrative from Antwerp, Belgium, the Mecca of the diamond industry, to Turin, Italy, where a highly skilled group of thieves plots to steal millions in diamonds. At the story's center is a charismatic Italian named Leonardo Notarbartolo, the gang's "inside man." Notarbartolo rented an office in the Diamond Center and spent two years studying its security systems, looking for weaknesses.
On Feb. 15, 2003, the gang broke into the Diamond Center, neutralized the vault's security systems with a number of creative strategies, and hauled away nearly half a billion dollars in loot. While escaping Antwerp, they made a fatal mistake, dumping their garbage in a forest. The garbage was quickly discovered and reported to police. "For the police, it was an astonishing break early in the case," the authors note. Using evidence collected from the garbage, the police soon had the gang in its sights. Notarbartolo was arrested when he foolishly returned to Antwerp.
In 2005, Notarbartolo and three of his absent associates were convicted in a Belgian court. The book ends with Notarbartolo finishing his sentence in 2009 and successfully negotiating the sale of film rights to his story. Most of the loot has never been recovered, and the thieves are now at large in Italy. Except for the garbage, it may have been the perfect heist. If the end of the book is any indication, it could yet be worth all the gang's trouble.