There will be two movies depicting the infamous 1970s Bonded Vault Heist in Providence for audiences to enjoy in the near future. The first one, the lesser high-profile of the flicks, entitled Vault, begins shooting in Rhode Island this week. The second one, based on the book The Last Good Heist by Rhode Island television investigative reporter Tim White, Randall Richard and William Worcester, which was optioned by acclaimed New York Times Best-Selling author Don Winslow last summer, is still in pre-production.

Winslow sold the project to The Story Factory. He’s considered the most in-demand crime novelist today, having penned instant classics like The Force and The Cartel. White is the resident mob expert and historian in the Providence area.

Vault will star Oscar-nominee Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale, The Usual Suspects, Bullets Over Broadway) as storied New England mafia don Raymond Patriarca, the man who allegedly sanctioned and set the lucrative armed robbery in motion. The film is being directed by Rhode Islander Tom DeNucci, who co-wrote the original screenplay, and executive produced by Verdi Productions.

Patriarca lorded over gangland affairs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for three decades. He made his residence in Providence and held a seat on the American mafia’s “Commission”, a board of directors for mob activity in the United States during that time period.

One of the producers on the Verdi Productions project is Martin Scorsese collaborator Emma Tillinger Koskoff (The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street). Verdi Productions, helmed by Rhode Islanders Chad and Michelle Verdi, recently put out Bleed For This, the 2016 pro boxing biopic centering on former lightweight champion Vinnie (The Pazmanian Devil) Pazienza, starring Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart.

The Bonded Vault Heist, pulled off by a Patriarca crime family robbery crew, came away with $30,000,000 in cash and valuables from a private bank storing mobsters’ safety-deposit boxes located inside a Providence furrier. Raymond Patriarca died of a heart attack in 1984 at 76 years old while under indictment on murder charges.

On the morning of August 14, 1975, eight men held up the Bonded Vault Company inside the Hudson Fur Storage building in the West End of Providence on Cranston Street. Their $30,000,000 score would equate to close to $150,000,000 today. The intensely-covered 1976 trial of six of the perpetrators was the longest in Rhode Island judicial history. Three of the robbers were convicted, three were acquitted and two were the star witnesses at the trial.

The notoriously icy Patriarca was never charged in the case, but word filtered through the streets and to law enforcement that he okayed, handsomely profited and actually encouraged the heist as a way to steal from his own men. According to local underworld lore, the aging Godfather felt betrayed by members of his crime family when he was away serving time in prison throughout most of the 1970s.

 

 

 

 

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