March 3, 2013 NY Times
Bruce Reynolds, the chief architect of one of 20th-century Britain’s most notorious crimes, the caper known as the Great Train Robbery, died on Thursday in England. He was 81.
His son, Nick, confirmed the death to The Associated Press. Sky News in Britain reported that Mr. Reynolds had died at his home in South London, a few months short of the robbery’s 50th anniversary.
In the early morning of Aug. 8, 1963, a gang of 15 men stopped a Glasgow-to-London mail train about 45 miles short of its destination by tampering with a signal. The train, which usually carried large quantities of money in the second car behind the locomotive, was loaded even more heavily than normal because of a just-completed bank holiday in Scotland, and the thieves escaped with about 120 bags of cash, mostly in small bills, totaling about £2.6 million, or about $7 million at the time — the equivalent of about $60.5 million today.
Mr. Reynolds, who was 31 at the time and known to the police as a burglar well-connected in the London underworld, had used insider information from the postal service to plan the heist, which he thought of as a painter would a masterpiece. Indeed, he referred to it in a 1996 interview as “my Sistine Chapel.”