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25 years later: The Loomis Fargo heist

David Ghantt, a Gulf War veteran, was finishing his shift as a vault supervisor for Loomis Fargo when he loaded $17 million into a company van and drove away.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tuesday is the 25th anniversary of the infamous Loomis Fargo heist in Charlotte, where a bank worker, with the help of two accomplices, stole almost $17 million before being captured in Mexico. 

Back in 1997, David Ghantt, a resident of Kings Mountain and Gulf War veteran, was finishing up his shift as a vault supervisor for Loomis Fargo when he started to load nearly $17 million into a company van and drove away. Most of the money was in $20 bills, according to the FBI. 

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Ghantt had a lot of help pulling off the heist. His accomplices included coworker Kelly Campbell, as well as friends Steve and Michelle Chambers. After the robbery, Ghantt took off to Mexico. The Chambers moved from a trailer into a mansion, which alerted the FBI to their newfound wealth.

According to court documents, federal agents began looking at the spending habits of Steven and Michelle Chambers after being tipped by a confidential informant about their "sudden wealth." Chambers himself was a former FBI informant who had provided information on a then future Loomis armored car robbery that never happened, court documents stated. 

Within 24 days of the real heist, Chambers went from a mobile home to a $635,000 home in Cramer Mountain Country Club, authorities said. His wife, they said, got breast implants and used cash to purchase a 1998 BMW Z3 sports car.

From Oct. 6 through Feb. 20, the couple made 47 deposits totaling $271,500 at a Belmont bank, and at one point Michelle Chambers tried to get an official bank check with $200,000 in cash, authorities said.

Eventually, federal agents found Ghantt, thanks to uncovering a plot for an assassin to hunt and kill him in Mexico. Seven others were convicted in direct connection with the heist. Sixteen others who were indirectly involved were convicted and federal agents recovered most of the money. 

Chambers finished serving his prison sentence in November 2006 and told the Associated Press in 2009 he was "changed." 

The story inspired the hit move "Masterminds" in 2016, starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Kristin Wiig and Zach Galifianakis. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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