Larry Lawton (@LawrenceRLawton) stole over $18m in diamonds and spent 11 years in some of the toughest federal prisons in the country. He works with The Reality Check Program to keep youth out of trouble that would land them in prison, and is the co-author of Gangster Redemption: How America’s Most Notorious Jewel Robber Got Rich, Got Caught, and Got His Life Back on Track. This is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here!
What We Discuss with Larry Lawton:
- How heavy is a million dollars in cash, and how quickly can you haul it away while evading the watchful eyes of authorities and tattletales?
- What major crimes do not carry a statute of limitations?
- How should you react if you’re ever threatened in a place that’s getting robbed?
- How much of a percentage does a professional robber get from fencing stolen goods?
- As a master of the skills important for pulling off successful heists — and then getting caught anyway — how would Larry have used these talents if he had it to do all over again?
- And much more…
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Larry Lawton stole over $18m in diamonds and spent 11 years in some of the toughest federal prisons in the country. But he’s also the only ex-con in the United States to be sworn in as an honorary police officer and only ex-con to ever be recognized on the Floor of the United States Congress for his work in helping young people and law enforcement agencies with The Reality Check Program he founded. His story is chronicled in Gangster Redemption: How America’s Most Notorious Jewel Robber Got Rich, Got Caught, and Got His Life Back on Track, a book he co-authored with Peter Golenbock, and he shares a lot of what he’s learned along the way on his fascinating YouTube channel.
On this episode, we talk to Larry about how he picked a crew when planning a heist, how long a heist would typically take, what happened when there were witnesses to deal with, how much a million dollars weighs, the percentage a robber gets to keep after the goods have been fenced, why the diamond industry is a scam even from the legal side of things, how Larry and his brother finally got caught, and what he now wishes he had used his talents for instead of crime. This is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here! Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the show we did with Dennis Carroll, the former USAID director for pandemic influenza and emerging threats? Catch up with episode 320: Dennis Carroll | Planning an End to the Pandemic Era here!
THANKS, LARRY LAWTON!
If you enjoyed this session with Larry Lawton, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Gangster Redemption: How America’s Most Notorious Jewel Robber Got Rich, Got Caught, and Got His Life Back on Track by Larry Lawton and Peter Golenbock
- The Reality Check Program
- Larry Lawton | Twitter
- Larry Lawton | YouTube
- Larry Lawton | Facebook
- Larry Lawton | Instagram
- Home Alone | Prime Video
- Thieves Pull Audacious Billion-Dollar Treasure Heist in Downtown German Vault | Slate
- Diamond Thieves Pull Off 100-Million-Dollar Paris Heist | Fashion Network
- Fontainebleau Miami Beach
- Time Limits for Charges: State Criminal Statutes of Limitations | FindLaw
- When Supreme Court Justices Defy Expectations | The Conversation
- How to Identify a Lazare Diamond | Lazare Kaplan International
- On the Economics of Diamonds, the Biggest Marketing Scam in History Orchestrated by the Most Successful Cartel Ever | American Enterprise Institute
- Arson Insurance Scam: I Burnt Down My Pizzeria | Larry Lawton, YouTube
- John Gotti | FBI
- John Franzese, Mafioso Who Consorted with Celebrities, Dies at 103 | The New York Times
Transcript for Larry Lawton | From Jewel Thief to Honorary Cop Part Two (Episode 433)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Larry Lawton: I always wanted to be that fly on the wall. It's such exhilaration. It's like you won. You know, your adrenaline goes for the first hour, and then once you start calming down, it's like, "Wow, I just did it." And then it's, you know, you're still good until you get rid of it until you get the cash in your hand. When I got the cash in my hand, then it was a whole different animal. Then it's like, "Oh," now you're really — then it's party time. Number one, I was Atlantic City and there was cocaine and there were women and it was everything you can think. So it was just like off the charts. I'm party time off the charts.
[00:00:43] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. If you're new to the show, we have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts, entrepreneur, spies, psychologists, even the occasional jewel thief. That's what we're doing today. This is part two of our interview with Larry Lawton. If you haven't heard part one, stop right now, go back and get part one. This is the continuation of that episode. You won't want to jump in, in the middle — it's going to make no sense. Come on, you knew that.
[00:01:13] If you're wondering how I managed to book all these folks, a quick reminder, Six-Minute Networking. It's our free course on building a network, personal or professional reasons. That's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Love it. If you go there that stuff's been a game-changer. All right, here we go with part two, our continuation here with Larry Lawton.
[00:01:34] I am curious when you go into the store and you're casing the store, you're acting like a normal customer. You're saying you're a contractor. You want to upgrade your wife's ring. Are you worried that — this might just be some movie stuff, but like, are you worried that you're leaving prints and that those people can see you and recognize you? Or is that not really a concern at that point?
[00:01:51] Larry Lawton: Not a concern at that point. I don't touch anything. Not only that I alter my appearance. I don't put a disguise on, but I alter my appearance. I might not have a mustache or a goatee. I always had one. So it'd be clean-shaven, all my hair — I had hair. It would be harder for a different way in a different color. So, I mean, I just did little things. And you should've seen some of the descriptions. Red-haired, five foot seven, 300 pounds. I've had six foot four. I'm 5'9", but I've had all these crazy descriptions. I used to laugh at those in the paper. And it just goes to show you how off eyewitness descriptions are. It's just so unreliable. I've proven it many times though.
[00:02:36] Jordan Harbinger: Eyewitness testimony is notoriously inaccurate, so there's no big surprise there at all. And so you go in, when you are executing this, you know what you're going to take when you get in, right? Because you only want to steal stuff worth stealing. It seems like —
[00:02:48] Larry Lawton: No, no, no, I empty the whole store.
[00:02:50] Jordan Harbinger: You empty the whole store. Oh really? Okay. Cause I've heard other feeds be like, "Just steal what's worth stealing. Don't take everything." So you just like screw that.
[00:02:57] Larry Lawton: When you go to a jewelry store, Jordan, it's all worth stealing.
[00:02:59] Jordan Harbinger: It's all worth stealing.
[00:03:00] Larry Lawton: You know, come on. I even had a — it's a funny thing on my YouTube channel. I used to take a clock.
[00:03:05] Jordan Harbinger: From the store?
[00:03:06] Larry Lawton: Yeah. They'd have like a little small antique clock or a little something. I just took it. I don't know what it was about that. I just took them. And I always took a clock out of a store. I don't know if it was symbolizing time or something. I don't know in my own head, but I emptied every shelf and the safe and the back room. So yeah, I got everything.
[00:03:28] Jordan Harbinger: And he took this security system tape. So they'd have no footage
[00:03:31] Larry Lawton: Back then, I would take the tape. At times, I couldn't open the tape. I take all the machines.
[00:03:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's faster.
[00:03:38] Larry Lawton: Yeah. I would just rip it out literally and take the whole machine.
[00:03:41] Jordan Harbinger: You ever see Home Alone, that movie?
[00:03:44] Larry Lawton: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:03:45] Jordan Harbinger: The wet bandits where they turn the faucets on. So your thing was the clock.
[00:03:48] Larry Lawton: Yeah, it was kind of weird and it was not because of that, because I was robbing before that movie, but yeah, it was kind of weird. I loved clocks and it'd be some nice, like, you know, diamond-encrusted clocks, some of them selling or something. It was just, I always grabbed the clock. And they are bulky to a degree, some of them are smaller, but I wouldn't grab a clock like a grandfather clock or something like that.
[00:04:12] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, yeah, yeah.
[00:04:12] Larry Lawton: But it was something I could put in a bag. But it was just my thing. I don't know what it was, so it's crazy.
[00:04:17] Jordan Harbinger: Where are the clocks now?
[00:04:18] Larry Lawton: I'm sure I gave them away as gifts to everybody in the world.
[00:04:21] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay. So there's like somebody at home is like, "I got a clock as a gift and it's covered in diamonds. I wonder if this is real. He gave it to me for my bar mitzvah."
[00:04:29] Larry Lawton: I gave a lot of stuff away, jewelry. So there's some stuff people have out there for sure.
[00:04:35] Jordan Harbinger: I guess it's better than getting caught with a bunch of stolen clocks, which would be super embarrassing. That'd be a bad way to go away.
[00:04:41] Larry Lawton: You know, I never got caught in the store. Thank God. Never got caught with anything. So that's another good thing.
[00:04:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah,
[00:04:48] Larry Lawton: But you know, the close calls, all that kind of stuff, but that's the nature of the beast in whatever you do. And there is risk in everything you do. I don't care what it is. It's just a matter of what kind of risk. That's all it is.
[00:05:01] Jordan Harbinger: I heard that a lot of times people plan things backwards. Right? Like they plan the getaway first and then work backwards. Is there any wisdom in that?
[00:05:09] Larry Lawton: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, I used to make sure I could get away with it before I even did it. I mean you plan it to a degree backwards. If I had an alternate a little road here or there to go out and knew it was safe, I would still do it, but I knew my getaway beforehand. So yes, you do work backwards in its own way because what good is robbing something, if you don't get away with it, I mean that just defeats the purpose. The goal was to get out and you might get less, but you're out. You want to optimize everything you going to do. So you had your plan. That's what I said when I'm looking at the store and seeing — if nobody could see in me and what the getaway plan is, does the back entrance have a way to get out when no one will see you, and you can get another three-minute head start or whatever it is, they don't know what direction you went in. So there are all of those things come into play when you're casing a store.
[00:06:02] Jordan Harbinger: How long are you inside the actual store?
[00:06:04] Larry Lawton: Oh, one store here and there, it depends, 10 minutes sometimes. I was in one store for 20 something minutes. It was a cop car waiting out front. Not for me. He was just waiting out front for something else. And then I'm going up to the door, "Get the f*ck out of here." you know what I mean? And he was just talking to people. And then he finally left, I gave another a minute, then I walked out.
[00:06:26] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, so you're just waiting him out with a bunch of stolen merchandise in the store.
[00:06:31] Larry Lawton: Bags of bags, three pillowcases of jewelry.
[00:06:35] Jordan Harbinger: That must have been nerve-wracking. And he sitting there like opening up his coffee, looking at scratch-off lottery tickets. And you're like, "Why here?"
[00:06:42] Larry Lawton: Yes! Something like that. It wasn't, yeah — he was talking to people and I'm like, "Get out of here." This person walked down the street. He talked to her. "Get the fuck out of here." And all the staff is waiting at the back door. Ready to go out because I didn't want to have to go out and then I don't know he's right there. And then it would have been, "Oh sh*t. That would have been a close call."
[00:07:01] Jordan Harbinger: So there's no alarms going off. Like when you break the cases?
[00:07:05] Larry Lawton: I opened it with a key.
[00:07:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That seems easier.
[00:07:08] Larry Lawton: Why break it? I mean —
[00:07:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, avoid the alarm, right?
[00:07:11] Larry Lawton: Avoid getting caught and everything. Why just open this up, take it out, put it in a pillowcase, and goodbye? Again, that's not rocket science, that part of it. Rocket science comes in with the picking of the place, planning the place, and having the outs and everything else. But the inside is pretty cut and dry. I had plans. You go here, you go here, you take these cases. You take these cases. I got the safe and I got the person and I got the backrooms and we're done in maybe seven minutes, 10 minutes, whatever it's going to be. And you know, how many people, if somebody walks at the door, what do we do? Who goes and gets it? You know what I mean? Because if a person walks in they're in on a robbery and I put them down too. I used to use flex cuffs and put them down.
[00:07:55] Jordan Harbinger: Like zip ties. Right? Like plastic handcuffs.
[00:07:58] Larry Lawton: Right. Exactly. Zip ties.
[00:08:00] Jordan Harbinger: Is it just you? Who else is working with you? You got a crew with you or not?
[00:08:04] Larry Lawton: I had a crew with me, two other guys.
[00:08:06] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, how do you pick those guys?
[00:08:08] Larry Lawton: Well, you better know him better than you know yourself.
[00:08:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:12] Larry Lawton: And I did. I knew them both. One was my brother. That's not a secret. And he ended up going to prison. The other one is he ended up passing away.
[00:08:20] Jordan Harbinger: So yeah, you can't really just pick some schmoe off from the bar, like to go do this with you, because you need to be able to trust that they're going to come through on everything and not flip on you. Right?
[00:08:30] Larry Lawton: Well, yeah. It's not even a flip — yeah. first of all, you have to panic. I tested one time, one person and he couldn't do it. He ended up panicking, but I had a backup. I'm not going to be stupid and just trust someone on a major job without having a backup. And he did, he panicked, it takes a lot of balls to do what we did. That's number one. And once it's a go, it's a go. It's not like, "Oh shit. Maybe I can't do it." No, it's a go.
[00:08:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, so what happened? He just wouldn't go and do it, or was he the driver?
[00:08:57] Larry Lawton: Nope, he was in there. He was supposed to bring the car around back and want a single and he panicked and left, but I had an alternate plan. He's lucky he didn't get killed either. I had an alternate plan that worked that well.
[00:09:10] Jordan Harbinger: In heist movies, they always show the brains of the operation. That would be you in this case, conducted in a meeting where they go over the plan. Like there's a whiteboard and they're in a basement. Is that device they use in the film to explain the robbery? Or is there like a meeting you guys have where you're like, "All right. You know, this is the A-team plan where there's like little chess pieces.
[00:09:29] Larry Lawton: No, no, no. There is a plan and there was a meeting and there's a lot of talking and there's a lot on the way on the way back. A lot of communication, a lot of it to calm nerves, but a lot of beating into the people, what their job is, but it's nothing written down. You don't write down anything and then, oh, okay, let me — why don't I just get a diary then? And keep the cops really informed. There's nothing written. It's right here. It's in my head and I'm pointing to my head, but it's right in my head. Who's got to do what? Where did they get to go? Timing and if I say go and I'm forever pounding into them what to do, what to do. You got the right side; you got the left. When we go in, don't move. If anybody moves, I got them, don't go there. Don't go here. You just keep doing what you're doing. We got to get out in this amount of time, if the alarm goes off, we're on a go. If the alarm goes, get ready and we all hit the door and we're done. But you pound that into people. That's like training, it's like any kind of baseball team or anything, you train for that. You pound it into them. So, it's second nature that he does what you asked him to do.
[00:10:38] Jordan Harbinger: Are you yelling at the people in the store to do what you need them to do? Or are you being calm when you're in the store?
[00:10:46] Larry Lawton: Oh me. I'm being calm. When I originally jumped in, when I first took them down, it's, "Get down! Get down! On the floor! On the floor!" When I jumped over the counter, it's pretty intense. But after that initial thing, they're not the sound in the store. It's quiet. I mean, it's, "Okay. Don't open your eyes. Keep your head down, look to the wall. Don't open your eyes, close your eyes. We'll let you know, blah, blah." And they've tied up already.
[00:11:09] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, right, because you've got the flex cuffs and everything.
[00:11:12] Larry Lawton: Right. Never gagged somebody. I never gagged them. I don't want anybody to choke or anything like that.
[00:11:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I was going to say it doesn't seem that harmful, but yeah, I guess somebody could choke. Huh? Was there ever — I mean, people must've been scared to death in there. Did you ever run into anybody who tried to be like a brave guy or anybody who just didn't understand what was going on?
[00:11:31] Larry Lawton: Oh yeah. I ran into a guy. This was funny. I was robbing a jewelry store in South Florida and I ended up having like seven, eight people, maybe 10 people. I don't know. So many people, I ran out of flex cuffs. I couldn't do that. I used to do their feet and the hands ended up having only done their feet. So this one guy was just talking to sh*t like, "Yeah, this is bullsh*t." And I'm thinking, "Is, this guy a cop or something? Who the f*ck is this guy?" I go up to him and I take out his wallet and he's not a cop. He's a nobody. And I take his jewelry off. He had a gold chain band around his thing, and I looked and it was fake. And I started laughing. I said, "You fugazi, motherf*cker, shut your f*cking mouth." And two clerks, the employees started laughing because this guy, I guess, used to come in and try to think he was a big shot and he wasn't a big shot and they started laughing. And I just thought he cracked. He shut up and it was so funny.
[00:12:28] Jordan Harbinger: So he's over there flexing and you're like, "You're not even wearing a real gold."
[00:12:31] Larry Lawton: I said, "You f*cking fugazi!" Fugazi meaning fake. I said, "You fake fugazi f*ck, shut your f*cking mouth." Oh, was it funny?
[00:12:41] Jordan Harbinger: Now, obviously cash is the best because you don't need a fence to sell it, but cash is super heavy. I guess there's not enough cash to be too heavy in a robbery at a jewelry store, a few thousand bucks?
[00:12:52] Larry Lawton: No, no, no, bullsh*t. Oh no, no, not enough. Listen, you could carry a lot of cash, but the biggest robbery besides the billion-dollar jewelry art in Germany, the biggest robbery ever was in France, in a hotel room in Paris. And they were out $134 million worth of diamonds. Now, even if they only got 20 percent. 20 percent of 134 million is what? 26 million or 28 million. How would you lift up $28 million in cash?
[00:13:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, do you know how much that weighs?
[00:13:27] Larry Lawton: Yeah, we did it. I don't know what it's like 70 pounds per million.
[00:13:33] Jordan Harbinger: I'm going to look at this stuff right now. How much does cash weigh?
[00:13:37] Larry Lawton: A bill weighs a gram. So depending on the bills, obviously.
[00:13:40] Jordan Harbinger: What was the total amount in hundred — well, let's assume it's a hundred-dollar bill. What was the total amount of money?
[00:13:44] Larry Lawton: One bill is a gram and it's $134 million dollars.
[00:13:49] Jordan Harbinger: 134 times —
[00:13:51] Larry Lawton: You couldn't lift it.
[00:13:51] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah. So it's a lot. So a million dollars is 10 kilos. So I'm going to do this into pounds.
[00:13:58] Larry Lawton: So it's twenty-five pounds.
[00:14:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, 22. So if we do this on the calculator — so you said 134 million.
[00:14:05] Larry Lawton: Right.
[00:14:05] Jordan Harbinger: So that's like 3000 pounds of cash.
[00:14:08] Larry Lawton: That's over a ton. I mean, what are you going to do with that?
[00:14:10] Jordan Harbinger: That's like a pickup truck weight.
[00:14:13] Larry Lawton: Exactly. I mean, and they walked away with that kind of money and walked away out the door in a briefcase, in a briefcase. They just got up, left, and walked into a briefcase. I was on the news about that for a long time. Like I said, let's just say for a fact, he only got 28 million. What's 28 million? What'd you say it's 22 pounds a million?
[00:14:37] Jordan Harbinger: It's 22 pounds per million. Yeah. So 22 times — you said $28 million?
[00:14:43] Larry Lawton: Right.
[00:14:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, that's still 600-plus pounds.
[00:14:46] Larry Lawton: Right. You can't lift it. You can't lift that. There's no way you can't lift it. It's trips and trips or whatever it is. If you had to pick it up in 50-pound bags, 70-pound bags. You know, where are you going to go? How many trips are you going to make? I'm telling you; diamond is the way to go, but you have to have it out because there's always another man. Obviously, as I always say cash is king because listen, I wouldn't mind robbing an armored car vehicle. I knew guys who plan heists on depots, cash depots, where the armored cars pick up their money. It's like they have rooms of 20 million in it, 30 million. Now, get me a truck and get it all out of there and then get the truck to another place. And then, you're done and you just laid out for a while.
[00:15:30] Jordan Harbinger: I heard you turned down a $12-million robbery. What happened there?
[00:15:34] Larry Lawton: You know, I'm so glad I did. It worked out for everybody. If I did it, it would have been a kidnapping, it would have been everything else. And it wouldn't have been a statute of limitations on it. Right? Anyway, it was a robbery in the Fontainebleau Hotel. I won't forget. It was in the Fontainebleau and it was H Stern Jewelers. And I planned. I had dynamite built. That looked just like dynamite. I was going to put dynamite on the manager to open the store and he opened it about 20 minutes before the guard came in. And I was going to put dynamite on and go in with him. Empty the store and go out. And I was going to have his family being held with dynamite and tell them, "If you do anything and you know you're dead, and he doesn't hear from me, we're going to blow everybody up and we'll leave. If you pull over, you're going to blow them up." I had this thing plan right down to the — I mean, really good. And we were waiting in the bushes of his house once and a dog spotted us. And I called it off right then and there. I said, "It's not going to go," too many variables. And it was the best move ever made, Jordan, obviously.
[00:16:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no kidding. You would have ended up with — and that's a lot of cash to trust people with. Like your brother, you can probably trust, but it's still so much.
[00:16:52] Larry Lawton: No, no, no, that would have been an easy out. I would have got about five million, four million, whatever. I was going to tell him, "Listen, give me a couple of million." He may pay me a million this month — me and the people I know. And get rid of it that I don't think I would have a problem with the money end of it. That would have been the easy part for me. The harder part for me would have been the — I mean, there's never a statute of limitation then. I never did anything when it's not a statute of limitation. So it's not like I murdered somebody and now they're going to get you. There's no statute of limitation on me.
[00:17:26] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Larry Lawton. We'll be right back.
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[00:19:53] Jordan Harbinger: Now back to Larry Lawton on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:19:58] For people wondering, in case you don't know, the statute of limitation is how long they can go after you for a crime. So if you rob someone or you do some fraud eight years later, or whatever the statute of limitation is, then it's like, "Oh, well you got away with it. It's too late." But things like murder, kidnapping, I think also certain types of —
[00:20:16] Larry Lawton: No treason, murder, and kidnapping. That's it. Most of them are five, not seven, and there's a couple of seven, but there are now a few that child's sexes stuff. They've made the statue for 10 years and even made some 20. So there are some changes for that crime, but no robberies or this, and the reason they can get drug dealers for a longer sentence.
[00:20:39] I know a guy who was a drug deal. He got out of the business. Totally out of the business, was out at a business for years already, a friend calls him and says, "Hey, listen, can I borrow your boat? I got a load of dope." He goes, "I'm not in that business." He hangs up on the guy, but that phone call kept him in the conspiracy, just kept them in the conspiracy.
[00:20:57] Jordan Harbinger: Because he knew about the crime,
[00:20:58] Larry Lawton: Right. And the statute of limitation went another five years. And he ended up getting caught and convicted. He was out of it but because he, that phone call that continued the conspiracy and that's what happened to him.
[00:21:11] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Yeah. You don't want to mess with the statute of limitations because of course, the court prosecution is going to look for any nexus, any connection to anything you've done. You're going to have a hard time finding a judge who goes, "Well, I like getting people off on a technicality where they will never get punished for the things that they've done." They're going to go, "All right. You know, if you don't believe it, challenge it all the way up to the Supreme Court, if you want to, but you can do it from jail, buddy."
[00:21:31] Larry Lawton: That's true to a degree. There are judges, especially in the federal system that are more really law-bound. And you'll see that more in the Fed. The state systems are corrupt because they're all elected. You got to remember that. They were elected people which is a bad system because they got to give favors and they got to campaign. They got to do everything. That's wrong with the system.
[00:21:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Judge Jordan is tough on crime.
[00:21:51] Larry Lawton: Yeah, exactly. The Federalist system once they're appointed, they don't give a fuck who you are.
[00:21:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:21:56] Larry Lawton: And that's why I don't ever worry about the Supreme Court picks a lot of people to do. But I have to ask him, I said, "Let me ask you a question. What about John Roberts? What did he do? When you get into that position, everyone thought he would go with Obamacare and this or that." He struck it down to — when you become a Supreme Court judge or a Federal judge, you don't answer to anybody, man. I mean, you can't get fired by the president. This guy, Congress, doesn't mean sh*t. Your real conscience comes in. And if you're a constitutionalist judge, you're going to go by the constitution, period. If you're an activist judge, that's different. Then you're going to be an activist judge. But if you're a pure constitutional judge, those are the kind of guys that are going to go by the conscience because they don't give a f*uck. Now what they said to get in there and to hearings and all the bullsh*t that counts who gives a crap. It's what they're doing there. They look at all the justices. All of them have changed in a lot of ways. Every one of them has changed deeply. And I just watched the study on this because it's in the news, Amy Coney Barrett — so I'm just reading a whole bunch of stuff on that. And it makes a lot of sense now,
[00:23:05] Jordan Harbinger: How do people react when they're being robbed? Are people freaking out universally or are there some people that just start crying? Like, you know, the one guy was acting tough. What's the usual reaction and what do you do?
[00:23:17] Larry Lawton: The usual reaction is okay and the silent stuff. I've seen him laugh. I've seen him cry. But their laughs make me laugh.
[00:23:24] Jordan Harbinger: That's weird.
[00:23:25] Larry Lawton: Yeah. It's just a reaction.
[00:23:27] Jordan Harbinger: Nervous. Laughter.
[00:23:28] Larry Lawton: That's exactly what it is. And most of them, "Just don't hurt me," and listen no professionals are going to hurt you. You're better off getting robbed by a professional than you are by anybody else. Obviously, you shouldn't be robbed and we're not promoting that on this channel or any channel, but the people that are the most freaked out are the ones you wouldn't expect. Like I've seen an old lady say, "Hey, you should get more stuff. This place robbed me." Are you kidding me? You know what I mean? And I'm like, "Jesus!" She was in there complaining or something and I'm like, "Holy sh*t." So, I mean, you don't know what the reactions are going to be. And it's kind of weird when to laugh or cry. You try to calm them down. Anything you calm them down.
[00:24:09] So, listen, nothing's going to happen. You're just shut up. Don't open your eyes. We'll be out of here in a minute. It's not your sh*t. I never even took the jewelry off the people. If he had a wedding ring on or something, I didn't touch it. That was something personal. Now, I'm not saying there wasn't one there. I'm sure I did screw up but what I was in the shop is in the shop, but if it wasn't in that shop, it was on that lady's finger. I wasn't ripping her finger off, you know?
[00:24:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I guess that makes sense. It seems like you could have done it, but that's just purely conscience, right? Because you could have gotten it, you're getting away with it anyway, right? You just didn't want to do that to the customers?
[00:24:42] Larry Lawton: Yeah. Oh, absolutely, I could get away with it. It's not even close. Not even thinkable. Yeah, of course, I could have but no, I didn't.
[00:24:49] Jordan Harbinger: You get what? 30 percent of the stuff that you fence, like what sort of split do you get when you give it to somebody else who sells stolen goods?
[00:24:56] Larry Lawton: It depends. That's a rough estimate. It's a good one. There is a certain piece you'll get 40 percent. Some will get 20 percent depending on what it is, how hot it is at the time. A good pick is 30 percent and you'll be right.
[00:25:10] Jordan Harbinger: Those guys take a lot of risks because they're storing stolen stuff after receiving stuff from people who are being chased or investigated. Then they got to sit on it for a while and move it around. And then they got to find somebody to buy it and then they've got to take that money. And then they got to go back to you and give you some money. That's just such a risky gig, man.
[00:25:29] Larry Lawton: They take the diamonds. They give you the cash up front.
[00:25:32] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, upfront. Okay.
[00:25:33] Larry Lawton: You got a million dollars, that's 300,000. Okay. You got your 300. Now that they are ready to have that melted down, taken out. It's being reset as if they bought diamonds again. It's like they bought it low and now they put it out and it's maneuvered. And I knew a lot of my diamonds went to California. It was sent to California. And when it was sent to California, that's what they did. They moved that out of there unless it's such a signature piece. Then they break them right up, right up. But like a regular piece, that's nothing, it's normal, you'll see a thousand of them in a thousand. In two stores, you'll see 25 rings just like that. They're not going to touch that. It is what it is. And it's good now. Unless it has what they call Lazare Kaplan. Lazare Kaplan, they are laser cut diamonds. Those have a serial number in them.
[00:26:19] Jordan Harbinger: I was wondering about that because they could put that in there on the side. So small, you couldn't even see it, right?
[00:26:24] Larry Lawton: Right. Well, a Lazare Kaplan diamond can't be seen, except with a 10-pound microscope.
[00:26:29] Jordan Harbinger: The serial number can't be seen, right?
[00:26:30] Larry Lawton: Right
[00:26:30] Jordan Harbinger: On it you mean.
[00:26:31] Larry Lawton: 10-pound microscope, can't be seen with the naked eye. So it's very important that you don't rob that because you got caught with that. Now, you got caught with a serial number diamond. The other one's hard to prove. They have what they call De Beers that take diamonds are all bullsh*t. It's all bullshit. It's all a freaking diamond game. The diamond game is a big hustle game let me tell you. How do you take something and take 80 percent off because it's f*cking marked up a hundred percent? It's a crazy game. I often tell people the biggest mistake people make the third largest purchase you'll ever make, Jordan, is a house, a car, and then a diamond.
[00:27:06] Are you married?
[00:27:07] Jordan Harbinger: I am. And I went through and did a show about the diamond hustle. And about how it's just like complete BS. That's why when you go to return a diamond that you just bought yesterday, they're like, all right, I'll give you 30 percent of the value. And it's like, "What are you talking about?" The policies are bad, but even so, the whole thing, as you know, is set up to be a cartel by De Beers. So the prices are controlled. They're not worth anywhere near what they are sold for. So they're not an investment by any stretch because a wholesaler or somebody who buys them with their actual costs, it's maybe 10, 20, 30 percent of what if that, of what you're paying in the store, the margins are like enormous.
[00:27:44] Larry Lawton: Talk about pinning in. I know how it works in De Beers and how they make a jewel come there and they take three bags and put them in a room and say, "You each get — that bag is two million. That bag is two million. That bag is two million. Take which one you want or one million, two million, and you have to take the garbage that's in it or not. And, you know, a lot of people don't notice the Russians were going to open up mines they had and would have tanked the market, but De Beers went in and bought them out for billions and billions and billions of dollars because otherwise, the whole market's done. The whole industry's done the worth of stuff is just done.
[00:28:18] Obviously, it's a beautiful piece of stone. It's great. But what's the value. What's the intrinsic value of it? Like there is a value to copper, sort of conduction and zinc and certain things, but there are diamonds. There is some value, obviously. There are tools, certain other things that are made for, but you're right, the manipulation and I watched guys rob people and manipulate people and people don't do their research and they going in and getting hoodwinked on a purchase that's going to be the third largest purchase you'll ever make. Unless you buy airplanes and sh*t. I'm talking about a regular person who buys a house, a car, and then a diamond for their wife. They might buy a $50,000 car but they're not going to buy a 10,000 on a diamond. What else are you going to buy?
[00:29:05] Jordan Harbinger: What do you feel after a robbery? What's like going through your head as you're running out the door after you get back to your campsite or your motel room or whatever?
[00:29:13] Larry Lawton: I always wanted to be that fly on the wall. It's such exhilaration. It's like you won. You know, your adrenaline goes for the first hour, and then once you start calming down, it's like, "Wow, I just did it." And then you're still good until you get rid of it until you get the cash in your hand. When I had the cash in my hand, then it was a whole different animal. Then it's like, "Oh, now you're really —" Then it's party time, number one. I was Atlantic City and it was cocaine and it was women and it was everything you can think. So it was just like off the charts. It's party time, off the charts.
[00:29:51] Jordan Harbinger: What was your largest personal take from a robbery? Like how much — after you fence everything, you split it with the crew, you know, what's like the smallest you ever made in the largest you ever made in one gig?
[00:30:00] Larry Lawton: One gig 400K in my pocket after paying everybody doing everything. And then, that multiple times is up there. I was robbing like most of the stores around a million, million two, million three, depending smallest was about 75,000 in my pocket. And that was — I can remember that store that was in Savannah, Georgia. I think we got 250,000 worth. It was a sucked ass store. And after paying everybody and the trip, and I said, "What a f*cking waste this was," but it was a chain store. It was Freedman's. Most of them are pretty good because I cased them very well. I didn't just case them. They had to be right in all aspects. I left the cities. I left the areas because they weren't right. And then you go to another area and I hadn't planned out where to go before even started the trip. When I knew I was safe, I had on the 50,000 in it. I would then start thinking about the next robbery.
[00:30:54] Jordan Harbinger: How many a year were you running? Like eight, 10, or like five?
[00:30:58] Larry Lawton: No, no, no, no about three to five, because I robbed about 20 something stores in six years, seven years, something like that.
[00:31:06] Jordan Harbinger: you're doing like a million bucks a year, give or take in like 1980s money, really.
[00:31:11] Larry Lawton: Oh yeah, the late '80s, early '90.
[00:31:13] Jordan Harbinger: A couple of million bucks tax-free in today's money, that's pretty good.
[00:31:16] Larry Lawton: Oh, more than that, after it was all said, I lost three million in casinos, but I also ended up buying stuff with it and then work in the money by putting it on the street, they call it and making loanshark money and being a bookmaker and buying nightclubs. And buying things that made money too. And then when you're not playing by the rules, you're making money until you f*cking burn it. Or I burned a pizzeria or I did so many things.
[00:31:38] Jordan Harbinger: When you say burn it, do you mean literally like light it on fire? Because it's not making money anymore.
[00:31:42] Larry Lawton: Went for the insurance money. Yep. If you read the book that's all in there.
[00:31:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I mean, I just want to make sure we get all the good juicy details for everybody.
[00:31:52] Larry Lawton: Yeah. I did a video on that. I actually went back to the pizzeria. It's not a pizzeria, it's a Mexican restaurant now, but it's the plazas there and everything. It was surreal going back to that area.
[00:32:02] Jordan Harbinger: Did you ever think I might get caught doing this?
[00:32:05] Larry Lawton: You know, you always know you're going to get caught or that you're going to die. There's no question about that, but it wasn't like I said, "Oh, this is the time I'm getting caught." If you did, you'd be an idiot because then you wouldn't do it. But you know, deep down, this is the life you live and there's only two ways to get caught or not.
[00:32:27] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Larry Lawton. We'll be right back.
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[00:35:57] Jordan Harbinger: I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for supporting the show. I know the ads can be a pain. I try to make them entertaining for you. And I only picked products that I liked. So please do support those who support us. Visit jordanharbinger.com/deals if you need a quick link to all of the sponsors in one place with all of our little codes, jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don't forget, we've got worksheets for every episode of the show. Those are in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. And now for the conclusion of our episode here with Larry Lawton.
[00:36:29] I know your brother got shot during one of the robberies. What happened there?
[00:36:33] Larry Lawton: Wow. The last robbery was in Fairless Hills.
[00:36:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, it was your last time?
[00:36:37] Larry Lawton: That was the last robbery.
[00:36:38] Jordan Harbinger: Was it your last because he got shot or was it just "luck" that he got shot on the final round?
[00:36:44] Larry Lawton: Because of that one though, the police work was so intense that they ended up getting us. I did not know this at the time the FBI would flood an area. And when they would flood the area, they used to go to every jewelry store in the whole 20-mile radius and ask, "Did you see these, anybody with this ammo, blah, blah?" This one lady said, "Yes. Oh, this nice young man came in here." And I got his license plates. I was going to sell him a ring or something of that nature. And it happened to be a car. I rented it, but I didn't rent it. A guy worked for me; Fat Tommy rented it. And when he rented it, I was a co-driver and when they looked me up as a co-driver — boy, the alarms went off organized crime.
[00:37:25] I had a couple of other convictions for drugs, not major like I was caught with 35,000 cash and five grams of coke back in the day. And that was all from jewelry robberies. They thought they had a drug deal and I was never into a drug deal, but they thought they had a drug deal because of the money and the stuff, but it was really jewelry money and I was going to gamble. But anyway, unbeknownst to us about three weeks before the robbery somebody's stolen air conditioner on the roof of the building, none of us knew this. It was a Plaza. And when we went into this store, a neighbor heard the commotion, but just thought it was something maybe on the roof or something. Again, it was coming over and she looked in the window and when she looked in the window, it was going, go, go. And that's when we ran out and the guy somehow got out of his flex cuffs and I took six guns with me. Like he had six guns, he was a gun nut. And all of a sudden, we're running out. We hear the glass above us goes because it splat us, shot fire. Holy sh*t! We're bucking out of there. I jumped in the car, I ducked down, and I see the guy level, his gun at my head.
[00:38:38] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:38:38] Larry Lawton: Right at the windshield because the cars pulled in straight. He levels the gun levels. Right at my head, I ducked the bullet skims the top of my head. I mean, another inch I'm dead. And my brother leaned forward to go low too. And it went in his back then it was the arm and it's still in his arm. He goes, "I'm hit! I'm hit!" I go, "I'm hit. I'm hit." Because there was blood coming down my head a little bit. It was a scrape. I didn't feel anything. The adrenaline was pumping, but again, having a planned getaway, literally where to go, what road to hit, everything was planned to the ninth. And we ended up getting back to Brooklyn and getting cleaned up. I was going to drop him off at the hospital. He says, "I'm hit." I say, "I'll drop you out here." "No, no, no. I'm all right. I'll be all right." And he was, thank God. I think about that. If he would have died, that's murder.
[00:39:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And he's your brother.
[00:39:33] Larry Lawton: And I was just about to say how do you live with that. So anyway, and we ended up getting back to Brooklyn, getting him cleaned up, getting me cleaned up, getting the car fixed, and everything. And because of that FBI work more intensely on that robbery than ever, they got us.
[00:39:50] Jordan Harbinger: Really. So did any family members go like, "Oh," I don't know your brother's name but, "How did he get shot or how did he get his arm hurt?"
[00:39:58] Larry Lawton: No, no, no. The only one who knew about it — we have a funny story. We were going to take him to a vet. We had a friend who went to the track. I said, "Hey, Uncle Louie, I need a doctor. My brother got shot." He goes, "Wow. I doubt a veterinarian will do it," you know, under the table. It can't be a doctor that you know. At the time, my mother worked — she's an RN and she worked at a doctor's office. And when we got back to Florida, my mother didn't know. My mother is the most innocent woman — I'm not kidding — in your life. We ended up telling my mother, "Hey mom, we were playing with guns in the bar. Davey got shot. He's all right, but what do we do now? And we can't go to the hospital because if he does and I shoot him, I go into trouble." So my mother took him to the clinic and fixed him up and didn't take it out. She knew that it would be more damaged taking the bullet out than trying to leave it in there. As you gave him tetanus shots and antibiotics. She fixed them up so to speak.
[00:40:54] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God, your mom must have been freaking out.
[00:40:57] Larry Lawton: I don't know. You think she would be but she wasn't, Jordan. And my mother is a New York woman. My dad was a union construction. He was a union delegate. He built the World Trade Center. He was in the fringes of little things.
[00:41:11] Jordan Harbinger: Do you think she knew like, "Oh, they were playing with guns at the bar," and she's just like, "I don't want to know." She had to know. Right?
[00:41:17] Larry Lawton: A part of me thinks that a part of me does think that. Yes, what you just said, but I don't know my mother never — this is a true statement. My mother never in her life used the word f*ck. And I'm not that I use it every day either, but you know, it's a word that comes out when you're doing a story or whatever, but she's never even cursed ever in her life. She's 80 — I take care of my mom, Jordan. I don't think you know that.
[00:41:41] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, she's still around. You got to ask her if she knew.
[00:41:44] Larry Lawton: You know, she's not great. She's 87. She'll be 88. She's still with it and I take care of it. That's what I do now. I am home to take care of my mom. I mean, she took care of me those years, so I take care of her.
[00:41:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. She might not remember. And she might not want to revisit that now that I think about it.
[00:42:01] Larry Lawton: No, she's all right. She'll be like, "I'll be quiet. Who cares about that?" You know, that's how she'll do it. She doesn't care. She sits and plays Sudoku all day and watches Steve Harvey in a Game Show Network. I mean, it's just so — you know, Jordan, it's so funny. My mother's watching Match Game 74. I say, "Mom, everybody on this show is dead." She goes, "I know, but I didn't see the show." Isn't she crazy. Match Game 74, the show is 56 years old. I say, "It's crazy. It's crazy. 56 years old."
[00:42:37] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God. Yeah. It's like watching Johnny Carson host something or whatever, or like Ed McMahon and like all these old shows. So, all right, so you said you finally got caught by the FBI. How did they piece this together? They didn't catch you in the act, right? They did investigative work and found you. Do you have any idea what it was?
[00:42:54] Larry Lawton: Oh yeah. I told you that it got the lady and then they ended up putting it together. They had a file on me. I didn't notice they were looking for me for six years. And they're the ones who said I was the biggest that ever did it. They were looking for me for a long time and they put all these cases together. So come a while to almost a month and a half just to figure it out. They ended up having four eyewitnesses after the fact of knowing me. But they ended up closing the case on over 20 stores.
[00:43:20] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow.
[00:43:21] Larry Lawton: Yeah, they got their man, so to speak. And then what we did was what they would call it Rule 20. A Rule 20 is when you're in court, Jordan, and you'd get all your cases brought to one district. So it gets handled in one spot and that's it.
[00:43:36] Jordan Harbinger: How many stores in total did you rob, or should I say, how many stores did you get caught for?
[00:43:42] Larry Lawton: Well, yeah, good point. I was convicted for four stores and closed, I think,21, 22. I don't even know there might be a few more out there.
[00:43:54] Jordan Harbinger: Might be.
[00:43:55] Larry Lawton: Yeah, it might be. But I ended up getting four 12-year sentences. I had a beat at a gun charge. They charged me with a gun. I didn't use a gun. So I beat the gun charge and when I beat the gun charge, that's when it got the 12 years.
[00:44:09] Jordan Harbinger: Did you stash any money? I mean, I know everyone probably asks you that and the answer is always no, right? Like every time I talked to somebody who's in the mob, they're always like, "I wish I did, but I didn't. What can I say? Every single one.
[00:44:20] Larry Lawton: Exact answer.
[00:44:21] Jordan Harbinger: Nobody ever stashes any money?
[00:44:23] Larry Lawton: No. Well, well, you know, let me tell you something. That's a funny story because John Gotti once said, "Any man who has a 401k or he's got a retirement fund, I'm going to kill him," because you didn't retire in this life. You live to the hustle. You'll see them up until Sonny Franzese, which is Michael Francis, his father just died, I think it was near a hundred and he was hustling right up to the day died. Literally that age he thinks, "I'm retiring." F*ck. No, you'll see them 75. They slowed down, but they're always scheming, always conniving, always bookmaking, always doing something. It's in their blood. It's in your blood. I don't know how it got out of my blood. I think seeing the destruction I've seen in my own life and not wanting to lose my grandkids. You know, I lost my kids and my son was six years old when I went to prison, I got out and he was 18. My daughter was 15 months old. I got out and she was 13 years old.
[00:45:19] So if that doesn't hurt you, nothing's going to hurt because I lost their lives. Now, I have two grandkids. And he's four and the others too. You think I'm going to do anything to go lose their lives? Not a chance. So I always say if I go back to prison now, I'm going to kill you because I'm going forever, it's not going to go, have asked for the deal. And I look at that, like I was a lucky one, Jordan, to be able to get out in my life because of going to do time and not ratting. I wouldn't rat. I don't believe in ratting to this day. To this day, I believe a person's word should mean something.
[00:45:56] Jordan Harbinger: I've heard you say that the most important skills in a heist are organization and planning, staying calm under pressure. Knowing that you've built all of those skill sets in spades and you were successful at what you did, do you wish you'd chosen a different profession? And if so, what do you think you would've done if you did choose a different path?
[00:46:15] Larry Lawton: Great question. Great question. You know, I'm a believer in fate. I think things happen for a reason. Why am I alive? Literally, people say I'm like nine lives. I got about three left. So I don't know. I think it's fate. I think I would have been good at anything. To be honest with you, I think I had to be a great lawyer. I did law work in prison. One case in the law. And it was very good at the law. I still am. I like to help people. I know it's weird to say. Well, look at a profession you want, you want to rob people. But I was also like a Robinhood. I threw parties, did crazy things with people. But as far as I think I would have been a lawyer. People would say, "Do you regret it?" I don't regret a thing, Jordan. What I do doing is different. Absolutely. Bill Gates said that. Guy is the richest man in the world. And he says, "I'd do different things. That doesn't mean he's not going to be rich. It means he's going to do things differently. Take away the bad. I mean, I wish I could and go back and do it, but you can't, so you have to live with it. And then when you live with it, you have to accept it and forgive yourself and then hope people forgive you and make amends, which I've tried many, many times to do, but you can only do so much.
[00:47:27] And now it's about helping people, more to not make the choices I made. Listen, I'm not the only guy like me who thinks like me, who might go down that drug path. Like you said earlier, how about the kid who doesn't know his dad was drunk, drugs, and you named the great scenario. That was a great, great scenario you did. And I look at that and I'm hoping, and I get — you know, one of the blessings I do have, Jordan, is I get many, many, many emails of people saying to me, "Larry you saved my life. This meant more to me. I'm not doing drugs anymore. I was in a bad place. I had depression and you helped me out of it," or a lot of things and those things that are ones. I get the idiots too, "Fuck you! You'll always be a criminal." Yeah. You get some of those, but not, I got so weighted to the good and that makes you keep going and make say you're doing the right thing.
[00:48:19] Jordan Harbinger: Larry, thank you so much. Is there anything I haven't asked you that you want to make sure that you get out? Of course, we'll link to your channel, your book, everything in the show notes, but other than that, am I missing anything?
[00:48:29] Larry Lawton: You got everything. Yeah.
[00:48:31] Jordan Harbinger: Well, good. Well, hey, Larry, thank you so much. Super interesting story. I really appreciate the candor and your mission now to keep people away from what you were doing back then is admirable. I mean, a lot of guys could have just got out of prison and said, "Screw it. I'm just going to write a bunch of, you know, glorify this and make some money."
[00:48:48] Larry Lawton: Dig up some money and leave.
[00:48:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:51] Larry Lawton: Thanks Jordan.
[00:48:54] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, here's a preview of my conversation with Dr. Dennis Carroll. He chases the flu and other pandemics all across the planet. This interview was recorded at the very start of COVID-19 and it's even more relevant now.
[00:49:09] Dr. Dennis Carroll: A new influenza virus that is transmissible and is deadly, that is what will then sweep around the world as a pandemic,
[00:49:19] Jordan Harbinger: The 1918 flu at the end of World War I, we had 50 to 100 million deaths
[00:49:24] Dr. Dennis Carroll: That was 50 to 100 million deaths when the world's population was 1.8 billion. So think about it today, even if it took us 300,000 years to hit the billion mark, we've been able to add six billion in just 10 decades.
[00:49:38] Jordan Harbinger: That’s six billion people.
[00:49:38] Dr. Dennis Carroll: Yeah. And by the time we get to the end of this century, we're going to be right on the edge of 12 billion.
[00:49:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God.
[00:49:46] Dr. Dennis Carroll: The speed with which an influence virus can move is staggering. Where a virus would emerge today within one year, a year later, two billion people would likely be infected. And if it were as lethal as the 1918, which had a mortality rate of three percent, you're talking about hundreds of millions of people.
[00:50:07] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God.
[00:50:08] Dr. Dennis Carroll: The fact of the matter is time marches on the societies we live in today that we take for granted will be a footnote in history 500 years from now, the architecture that we surround ourselves with, they will be ruined or forgotten. It's not a question of if. There will be epidemics. There will be pandemics. It is a question of when.
[00:50:31] Jordan Harbinger: For more on why influenza could be the next catastrophic global pandemic and what we can do about it, check out episode 320 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:50:43] This was epic. I told you it was going to be amazing. That's why we do two parts because it's freaking worth it. Larry's dad was in construction. He said, "Nothing goes up or down in New York City unless you're mobbed up." So he would go with his dad on payouts to drop off construction money to the mob guys. And I think that was kind of his first entree into that world. He saw a lot of these folks and he had an unnatural distrust of authority. He mentions this in his book. We didn't talk about it in the show, but he was abused by a priest in church as an altar boy when he was younger. So he stopped going to church and started pocketing the money his parents gave him for the collection plate and he bought beer with it on Sundays instead of going to church because he's working through some stuff.
[00:51:23] And obviously, back then, people didn't talk about that kind of thing. It just wasn't talked about. That's why this is such a problem now. So there's a part of me that thinks maybe this instilled a distrust of authority because the system had failed him. So it's no wonder that he gave in to some of that baser more primal instinct, which is fear violence, mafia, organized crime.
[00:51:42] He later joined the coast guard though, and he told a story in his book about finding 80 bales of marijuana floating. And I think it was like the Hudson River, something like that between New York and New Jersey, 77 bales made it back. The other three were under a bridge and he went and picked him up later with a boat. So this is a guy who sees opportunity everywhere. He was loansharking. He talks in the book. This is a fun book. There's a lot of videos about this too. He talks about loansharking and if people didn't pay, what he would do is either steal their car. Or he would put a Sterno can underneath the car. So if you ever go to a buffet, those little canisters that are on fire heating food for long periods of time, that Sterno. It's like really pure alcohol, I think. And what it does is it burns pretty clean, but they would light that, put it under the car, and it would light the car on fire or blow up the car. So this guy was a freaking mess that you already heard earlier in the show that he threw up a Molotov cocktail at somebody fishing and the guy to jump off the pier.
[00:52:36] I mean, this is a troubled kid. He used to rob drug dealers and take the cash and the dope but never used violence. He was however armed. I wanted to clarify this because it sounds like he's just this violent, horrible guy, but he never used violence against people, supposedly according to him but he was armed. He also mentioned that if they're robbing a place in a different city, they don't drive crazy. They don't park poorly. They stay in the hotel. They don't go out. They don't want to be known in that area. Kind of the opposite of Grand Theft Auto, right? Where you're just running people over because they're in your way. Right? So this is a guy who maintains a low-profile, went in, studied the area, and got out. And of course, when they got out of the robbery, they got out of town, they went to the fence — the person where they could sell all the loot, they would sell it in under 24 hours. They had multiple drivers, multiple vehicles. They torched the one they left behind. There's a time they even went camping after a robbery to lay low. This kind of stuff, it's just an insight into a completely different world. Just absolutely unbelievable.
[00:53:35] Another interesting tidbit here was that after prison, Larry told me after he got out, he couldn't make any decisions because inside prison you make so few decisions that when you get out, it's harder to make decisions again. So for example, he'd go to eat at a restaurant with a friend and he would just say, "Uh, I'll have what he's having," because in prison you don't have a choice. And his friend eventually stopped him and said, "No, no, no, no. Hold on. We're going to look at the menu. We need a few more minutes. We're going to look at the menu. You get what you want. Let's do this." Because he didn't even have that mechanism in his brain anymore. That said, "Okay, I'm going to think about what I want and pick." It's interesting that the system just sorts of broke him of that. He's out now. He's doing a lot of good.
[00:54:15] We'll link to his stuff in the show notes on the website, please do use our website links if you buy the books or anything else, that stuff adds up and supports the show. Worksheets for this episode in the show notes. Transcripts for this episode in the show notes. There's a video of this interview going up on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:54:39] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people. Certainly, interesting people and manage relationships, using systems, using tiny habits. So it doesn't feel like a bunch of work. It's not awkward. That's our Six-Minute Networking course. That's free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. dig the well before you get thirsty. Most of the guests on the show, you'll find them there in the course, they contribute a little bit here and there. So come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[00:55:02] This show is created in association with PodcastOne and my amazing team. That's Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabe Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's into the true crime stuff, interested in something like these crazy stories and wild times, please share this with them. I need people to listen to the show. That's how I'm feeding my kid over here. So, hopefully, you find something great in every episode, please share the show with those you care about in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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