Historical Heists – The Dunbar Armoured Robbery…

Share Post:

The Dunbar robbery is the largest cash robbery in the United States. 

On the 12th of September 1997, six men robbed the Dunbar Armoured facility on Mateo Street in Downtown Los Angeles, California of US $18.9 million (equivalent to $30.5 million in 2020). The robbery was orchestrated by Allen Pace III, of Compton along with his childhood friends Erick Damon Boyd, Eugene Lamar Hill Jr, Freddie Lynn McCrary Jr, Terry Wayne Brown, and Thomas Lee Johnson.

The group left almost no evidence, two years later Hill accidentally gave a real estate broker a stack of cash which was bound in the original Currency straps – the broker contacted the Police. Hill then confessed, implicating the further five robbers, and three other men who had helped with laundering the money. 

Pace was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2001, Boyd was sentenced to 17 years, and the further four robbers received sentences ranging between 8 to 10 years. Two of the men assisted in money laundering were sentenced to 2.5 years. 


The robbery was masterminded by Allen Pace III, Pace worked for Dunbar as a regional safety inspector. While working for Dunbar, Pace had time to start planning the robbery, taking photos, and examining the company’s Los Angeles armoured car depot. He then recruited five of his childhood friends, providing them with detailed floor plans & camera locations along with ski masks, a shotgun, pistols, and radio headsets. On the day before the robbery was due to take place, Pace was fired by Dunbar for tampering with the company vehicles. On the night of Friday 12th September 1997, the six men gathered at a house party to plot their alibis before leaving. Once they entered, they waited inside the cafeteria ambushing the guards one by one as they took their lunch breaks around 12:30am.

Pace knew that Friday nights the vault was left open, due to large amounts of money being moved. Pace and his childhood friends managed to subdue all employees with duct tape before they could raise any alarms. Within 30 minutes the group of men had loaded $18.9 million into a waiting U-Haul truck. Pace knew exactly which bags had the highest denomations and non-sequential bills. He also knew exactly where the recording equipment was located for the security cameras, and these were taken too. After the robbery had taken place, the group returned to the party they had been at earlier in the evening. 

The police immediately knew it was an inside job that had been carried out and kept a close eye on Pace due to him recently being fired, after examining Pace they couldn’t find anything on him. The only piece of evidence left behind during the robbery was a plastic taillight lens which matched a U-Haul truck. The group worked hard trying to conceal their new wealth, six months later the group attempted to launder the $18.9 million. They took on board David Matsumoto who was an Immigration attorney along with office manager Joaquin Bin.

The group paid them $1million each for their assistance. Matsumoto laundered the money in structuring transactions via buying cars and property, he also invested in companies and wrote cheques. Matsumoto did W-2 tax forms to make it look like the robbers were earning wages. Pace also carried out his own front companies to launder even more money and he used another man to help buy the property so they would not be listed under Paces name. Boyd managed to launder $177,000 through his father’s company. Most of the group were laundering cash through real estate. 

Two years after the robbery took place, Hill made a mistake when he gave a real estate broker friend a large amount of money bound together in the original branded currency straps. Hills friend went straight to the police. Detectives noticed that Hill had rented a U-Haul on the day the robbery took place. Hill was later arrested and confessed while providing the names of his co-conspirators. 


Allen Pace try to claim his innocence when arrested, Pace was found guilty and was later sentenced to 24 years in prison on the 23rd of April 2001 he was incarcerated at a Federal Correctional institution in Safford until his release date on the 1st of October 2020. Boyd was sentenced to 17 years due to the use of his gun and a previous criminal record. The other four men pleaded guilty and received sentences between 8 and 10 years. Matsumoto was also implicated; he and Bin were indicated on 71 counts relating to laundering money and was sentenced to 2.5 years. 

Less than half (US $5 million) of the money was ever recovered, With US$13.9 million still unaccounted for. 

In September 2020 Charm City Kings producer Caleeb Pinkett announced a film based on the robbery. (Wikipedia.org)

Do you want to sign up to our quarterly newsletter?

Enter your details below.