The story of the notorious Bonded Vault Heist is going to the big screen with a big name attached to shepherd the project to multiplexes nationwide. Earlier this week, scorching-hot novelist Don Winslow and The Story Factory production company optioned The Last Good Heist, a 2016 book chronicling the largest bank robbery in American history pulled off by a Providence, Rhode Island mob crew in 1975, for a future feature film (you can purchase a copy of the book here).

Don Winslow is an incredibly popular and critically-hailed crime novelist, having penned recent smash hits The Force (2017) and The Cartel (2015) – both also currently being developed as movie projects -, and will write the screenplay for The Last Good Heist. His 2010 book Savages was his most recent writing endeavor to be made into a movie: a 2012 film directed by Oliver Stone and starring Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro and Blake Lively.

The Last Good Heist was written by award-winning television investigative reporter Tim White (WPRI) and local authors Wayne Worcester and Randall Richard. White is the leading “mobologist” in the Providence media. Worcester is a college professor.

On the morning of August 14, 1975, eight armed burglars boosted $30,000,000 of cash and valuables from the Bonded Vault Company, a safe-deposit storage facility located inside the Hudson Fur Storage building, a converted brick church on Cranston Street in Providence’s West End neighborhood. Today, the haul would be worth an estimated $135,000,000.

The Bonded Vault Company housed safe-deposit boxes for dozens of Rhode Island wiseguys, thieves and gangsters. According to FBI informants, legendary New England mafia don, Raymond Patriarca, sanctioned the heist. The robbery crew consisted of Bobby (The Deuce) Dussault, Joe (The Dancer) Danese, Chuckie Flynn, Gerry Tillinghast, Ralph Byrnes, Jake Tarzian and John and Walter Ouimette, relatives to high-ranking Patriarca crime family lieutenant Gerard (The Frenchman) Ouimette.

Bobby Dussault and Joe Danese turned against the mob and entered the Witness Protection Program. They were the star witnesses at the other six’s media frenzy of a trial the following year in the spring of 1976. Flynn, Byrnes and John Ouimette were each convicted, while Walter Ouimette, Tarzian and Tillinghast were all found not guilty. It was Dussault who first implicated his mob boss, Patriarca, in blessing the job, claiming the then-incarcerated Godfather felt betrayed by his men for their lack of financial support with him being behind bars and wanted to steal from them.

Patriarca dropped dead of a heart attack in 1984 shortly after his release from prison. Dussault died of a heart attack in a North Dakota federal halfway house in 1992.

Raymond Patriarca (L) entering a court date in the 1970s

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