20mm Burglary Tool

In 1965, Canadian criminal Joel Singer, a 22-year old member of the Montreal-based West End Gang syndicate, stole two WWII-era Lahti L39s 20mm anti-tank guns and 200 rounds of ammunition from a Plattsburg, New York gun dealer.

This thing

Singer and four other gang members later used one of these guns in a dramatic late-night burglary when they broke into the vault of the Brinks facility in Syracuse, New York. The Boombeast–equipped with a drum-sized improvised suppressor made from an oil drum filled with steel wool and rubber shavings, then dampened with a wet mattress– cracked open the bank vault after a hail of 33-rounds of AP, allowing the gang to flee with nearly a half mil in cash.

Oh my

Singer was the 221th person to be added to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List on November 19, 1965. He spent two weeks at large before authorities captured him and sent him up the river. Singer later suffered PTSD during the Attica prison riots in 1971 and was released just after on account of this. This 20mm bandit took his own life in 1973 at age 29. In the end, just $166 of the nearly $425,000 taken was recovered.

The use of a 20mm cannon in a robbery was never tried again after this incident. The Brinks job incidentally was the central plot device in a later 1970s Clint Eastwood film “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” but an unsuppressed US Navy surplus Oerlikon cannon (in puny 20x128mm caliber) was substituted for the Finnish hardware.

Of course, these things have a heck of a kick.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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