Caleeb Pinkett is producing a movie based on Alyssa Keli Rose’s Medium article “The Dunbar Heist,” which is based on the infamous true story of the Dunbar Armored facility heist. It was the largest cash robbery to have occurred in the United States.
The article is based on the 1997 robbery that took place at the Dunbar Armored facility in Los Angeles in which five men stole $18.9 million in under 30 minutes. The robbery was masterminded by Allen Pace, a fired employee of the Dunbar depot. He worked for Dunbar as a regional safety inspector and planned the robbery for two years.
Within the two years, Pace photographed and examined the company’s Los Angeles armored car depot. He recruited five of his childhood friends, Erik Damon Boyd, Freddie Lynn McCrary Jr., Terry Wayne Brown Sr., and Thomas Lee Johnson to complete the robbery. On Friday night, Sept. 12, 1997, the team ensembled at a house party in Long Beach, a ruse designed to establish alibis. After a few hours, they slipped away, changed into black clothing and masks, and drove to the Dunbar depot, where they entered through a side door shortly after midnight.
Pace used his keys to gain admittance to the facility. Pace had timed the security cameras and determined how they could be avoided. Once inside, they waited within the staff cafeteria, ambushing the guards one by one as they took their lunch breaks at approximately 12:30 A.M.
Pace knew that on Friday nights, the vault was left open, due to the large quantities of money being moved. Rushing the vault guards, the robbers managed to subdue them before they could signal any alarms. In half an hour, the robbers had loaded millions of dollars into a waiting U-Haul. Pace knew exactly which bags contained the highest denominations and non-sequential bills. He also knew where the recording devices for the security cameras were located and took them.
The police immediately realized The Dunbar Heist was an inside job and closely examined Pace, but could find nothing. The gang worked hard to conceal their new wealth, laundering it through property deals and phony businesses. After four years of thwarting law enforcement, the scheme fell apart after one of the robbers, Eugene Lamar Hill, gave a real estate broker a stack of cash bound together with the original currency straps. Once arrested Hill confessed and named his co-conspirators.
Pace III was sentenced in 2001 to 24 years in federal prison. Less than half (US$5 million) of the money was ever recovered, with some US$13.9 million still unaccounted for.
Pinkett who recently produced Charm City Kings teamed up with production company Rebel’s Maverick Matt Nicholas and Nastassja Kayln, with Jane Kim Yang for the film. Clarence Hammond and Dougie Cash will also be producing the movie on The Dunbar Heist.
“What really drove us to want to bring this true story to the big screen is our love for heists and also, most importantly, seeing someone finally come out on top after always being at the bottom of the barrel. That was and is Allen Pace III,” the producers said in a joint statement.
Nicholas and Kayln, and Leon Langford are adapting the script from Rose’s article. Insecure’s Norman Towns brought in the project and will be executive producing it as well.
Pinkett is executive producing the series “Cobra Kai.” He’s also produced “After Earth,” “Annie” and “Life in a Year” for Sony Pictures Entertainment and Columbia Pictures, as well as “Hala” for Apple TV Plus and “Charm City Kings” for HBO Max.