Real Name: Unknown
Aliases: David Spalding
Wanted For: Robbery
Missing Since: June 6, 1986
Details: In June of 1986, a team of ingenious thieves tunneled from the storm drainage system and into a Hollywood bank using a number of tools to tunnel their way into the bank vault in the middle of the night. The following morning, when bank employees came to work, they were shocked to see a hole in the bank vault and over $2 million stolen. This robbery was the biggest in Hollywood history.
Later that year, another bank in California was robbed in the same manner. This time the burglars activated the alarm and fled before being caught, but not before absconding with $90,000. Motorized noises were heard, which matched quadrunners, or 4-wheeled all terrain vehicles, which the robbers used as their getaway vehicles. Investigators surmised that both bank robberies were committed by the same crooks, nicknamed the "Burrowing Burglars" due to their underground nature.
The burglars were believed to be methodical, engaging in extensive surveillance of the underground sewers and above-ground regions, and careful use of tools to burrow their way into bank vaults. In a storm drain not far from the sight of the second robbery, one quadrunner was found, along with fingerprints. Police identified the quadrunners as belonging to "David Spalding", which is believed to be an alias. However, the evidence was insufficient to determine if this was a first-time offender or the quadrunner was not part of the robbery and was simply abandoned.
As no bank robberies have occurred in the above manner since 1986, authorities believe the "Burrowing Burglars" have terminated their criminal careers. Fear of coming close to getting caught may have been a factor, but the more plausible explanation was the failure of the second robbery. Given the tremendous amount of time and effort applied to the robbery, an ill-gotten gain of $90,000 was a big disappointment to the robbers compared with the king's ransom of the first robbery.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 22, 1989 episode.
Results: Unresolved. Composite sketches have been made of two suspects, but they have never been positively identified. Police have called off their search for the robbers known as the "Burrowing Burglars" as the statutes of limitation for grand theft have run out.
- (2008 LA Times Article) Boring thieves had tunnel visions