Villainy of the Old School

British thieves pulled off a heist for the ages last week, but stealing money is becoming a drag

They won just one medal at the Torino Olympics, and the shipping company P&O, which once held the Empire together, has been sold to an Arab sheikdom, but the British still lead the world in heists. Since the Great Train Robbery in 1963, a succession of raids--each seemingly larger than the last--has provided a stream of ripping yarns for crime writers. Last week's entry into the genre, which may have netted £40 million ($70 million in U.S. currency) or even more--the precise figure has not been revealed--will doubtless spawn its own literary offspring. It has certainly got the goods: a daring robbery, a...

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