Armored car (valuables)
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An armored car (or armored cash transport car, security van) is an armored van or truck, used in transporting valuables, such as large quantities of money (especially for banks or retail companies). The armored car is a multifunctional vehicle designed to protect and ensure the well being of the transported individuals and/or contents. The armored car is completely bullet proof and can withstand extreme degrees of heat. The car is mostly utilized by the military, but many companies such as Mercedes, Lexus, Toyota, Cadillac, Audi, and BMW have created armored cars for civilian use, usually to protect valuables and dignitaries. Armored cars have an armored shell and cab, and typically are customized on a basic van or truck chassis. These vehicles are designed to resist attempts at robbery and hijacking. Bullet-resistant glass and reinforced shells and cabs are designed to resist bullets from most handguns and rifles. They may or may not be manned by armed guards. Such armored cars are usually operated by security firms, and are therefore often referred to as "security vans".
The idea of the armored vehicle dates back to Leonardo da Vinci's sketches of an armored war vehicle, in 1485. It consisted of a circular platform on four wheels with light cannons arranged facing out. This design, however, proved to be flawed.
The earliest form of armored transportation for valuables that actually went into production, were the "ironclad" treasure wagons designed by the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Company during the American Old West. Back then, a platoon of soldiers and cavalrymen were used to transport valuables such as gold safely in the lawless frontier. They were not always successful in escorting their valuables and some robbers manage to hold up and rob these transports, such as what happened in the Wham Paymaster robbery and the Skeleton Canyon massacres. In Deadwood, the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Company suffered robberies in the criminal-infested Deadwood to Cheyenne trail that also resulted in the death of one of their shotgun messengers named Johnny Slaughter. In order to deter bandits and prevent future robberies, the Stage Company built two steel-plated treasure coaches named Slaughter (after the former shotgun messenger) and Monitor (after the famous USS Monitor in the Civil War). The stagecoaches have 5/16th-inches thick steel plates, portholes for guards to shoot from, and inside of each coach was a strongbox with walls three inches thick that was bolted to the floor, and was said to be able to resist assaults for 24 hours. Although the stage coaches were impenetrable, they still left its driver and shotgun messenger unprotected. On September 26, 1878, the Monitor was attacked Charles Carey Gang as it left Deadwood. The gang killed one of the passengers, stopped the carriage and hauled up over $27,000 worth of gold and valuables.
Among the first armored cars built was the Bellamore Armored Motor Bank Car, of 1910, which was meant to function like the banking service armored cars of today, but also as a mobile bank branch. The first armored car was built by Bellamore on an Autocar Type XXI truck. It was not until Rolls-Royce came out with the Rolls-Royce Ghost in August 1914 that the first armored vehicle was introduced to the British military. The vehicle proved to be superior during the war, creating a demand for armored cars across the globe. In 1930, Mercedes Benz introduced the Nurburg 460, which was an armored car used to protect Pope Pius XI. As the armored car became more and more popular, vehicle manufacturers around the world started creating their own versions.
Industrial business use
Financial industry: the armored car is used to transport money from one destination to another safely. This benefits the bank because it gives the bank employees more time to work with the customers, and provides a security net to the owner knowing their money is in good hands.
Education industry: schools utilize the armored car for safely transporting money made by school fund raisers or cafeteria profits. Many universities have within their confines a university bank, and they may require the use of an armored car to handle large amounts of money.
Jewelry industry: many jewelers such as Jared, Kay, Rogers and Hollands, and Tiffany Co utilize armored cars to transport their valuable jewelry safely to their stores. Jewelers work with precious metals and valuable gemstones, and they need to make sure that their work can be safely carried to the person who has ordered it.
An armored shell and cab are customized on a basic van or truck chassis. These vehicles are designed to resist attempts at robbery and hijacking. Bullet-resistant glass and reinforced shells and cabs are designed to handle bullets from most handguns and rifles.
Traffic safety and security
Some armored cars in certain countries may be cleared to have flashing warning lights or sirens. Most armored cars have a bull bar or extra strong bumper to ram blockades or other road objects if under attack. They normally have CCTV cameras which are watched by the driver, recorded in the van and also recorded at a remotely located control room in case the in-van recordings are stolen by thieves or attackers.
The vehicle may or may not be manned by armed guards. Such armored cars are usually operated by security firms, and are therefore often referred to as "security vans".
Most armored cars have two to three occupants:
- A driver, who is normally never allowed to leave the vehicle until it returns to the garage
- One or two guards who deliver the cash or valuables
Depending on the jurisdiction, the guards are armed. Most guards carry handguns, submachine guns or assault rifles; These guards are required to have training[clarification needed] before they can carry them.
List of firms using armored cars:
- Securicor—sold to G4S
- Wells Fargo—sold to Loomis
- Dunbar Armored
- Security Group
- Eastern Armored
Despite their primary function as a safe means to transport valuable materials from one place to another, armored cars are occasionally used for other purposes. For example, during the 1997 North Hollywood shootout, police officers in Los Angeles commandeered an armored car in order to extract wounded civilians and officers from the scene towards the end of the shootout. This later led to the introduction of specialist police vehicles for similar situations.
Armored cars and popular culture
The Armored car has been utilized in many action films because of its worldwide recognition as a high security level vehicle. Some films include:
Armored Car Robbery (1950)
The Breaking Point (1960)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2005): Appears as the Securicar and is drivable.
Armored (2009): Armored is an action movie starring Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, and Laurence Fishburne. In the film a handful of armored car guards decide to go rogue and rob one of their own armored vehicles carrying over 40 million dollars. The movie demonstrates how armored cars can still operate under extreme stress. The armored vehicle is shot at, bombarded by a series of explosives, and rammed by other vehicles. Even under these extreme conditions the guards inside of the armored car remained unscathed.
The Town (2010): The Town is a thriller-drama starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, and Jon Hamm. This film is about a group of bank robbers from Charlestown, Massachusetts, near Boston. The group robs an armored car prior to its delivering money to a bank. Afterwards, the team of thieves is given a job by the head crime boss in town, to rob Fenway Park. Once inside the park the thieves, disguised as police officers, fool the stadium guards and steal millions of dollars from the park. While trying to exit the stadium the thieves realize they are surrounded by the FBI with no way out. They make it down into the parking garage where the armored car is waiting to safely transport the money out of the stadium. The police enter the stadium and engage in a fire fight with the thieves. The thieves, knowing the armored car is bullet proof, use it to their advantage to take cover from the flying bullets. One of the thieves then uses the armored car to ram through the stadium garage door, creating a diversion which allows the rest of his fellow robbers to escape. The film depicts how armored cars are extremely bulletproof and can be used to smash through large barricades that may be in their way.
Heat: this crime film depicts an armed group of robbers' attack on an armored car.
Payday 2: (2013) The player(s) drill or blast open the doors of an armored truck and steal the valuables, which may contain blueprints to a turret for a separate heist.
Grand Theft Auto V (2013): the player can blow the doors off of armored cars with explosives or firearms to gain the money inside.
Metro Manila (film) (2013 British-Filipino independent crime drama movie)
- Hall-Geisler, Kristen. "How Armored Cars Work". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- Markley, Bill. "The Original War Wagon". True West Magazine. November 24, 2015
- Weis, Bernard J, "Dollars at Your Doorstep, Mr. Bellamore's Bank-On-Wheels", p.54, Special Interest Autos #81, June 1984.
- "Diplomatic Security". Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- A comparative overview of the legislations governing the Cash in Transit private industry in the 15 EU members. CoESS / UNI-Europa joint Report. October 2004, p. 14.
- Critical Situation, "North Hollywood Shoot-out".
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