Final Confession

The Unsolved Crimes of Phil Cresta

Brian P. Wallace and Bill Crowley

Phil Cresta was no run-of-the-mill thief. Mastermind of the legendary Brink’s armored truck robbery and a string of countless other high-stakes heists, he stole more than ten million dollars in escapades that often were breathtakingly daring and at times marvelously inventive. The robberies baffled both police and fellow outlaws for decades, and most of the crimes remain unsolved today. Now the open case files of these memorable thefts can be closed as Cresta himself provides the true story on how they were planned and carried out. Born in Boston’s North End in 1928, Cresta was raised in an abusive household. He was sent to Concord Reformatory as a teenager, where he learned the craft of picking locks, a skill later honed during stays at the Charlestown and Walpole prisons in Massachusetts. Following the Brinks robbery in 1968, he was put on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, but eluded the law for five years, living in Chicago under an assumed name. After serving time at Walpole for the Brinks job, Cresta died penniless in Chicago in 1995. Yet shortly before his death, he revealed the full extent of his astonishing capers to coauthor Bill Crowley, a retired Boston police detective. Drawing from their extensive conversations, this riveting page-turner chronicles how Cresta, along with partners “Angelo” and “Tony,” pulled off robberies of jewelers, rare coin dealers, furriers, and armored trucks, detailing the meticulous planning that marked his criminal career. Cresta’s final accounting is brimming with vivid tales of betrayal, murder, and intrigue as well as a colorful cast of characters, including mob bosses, wise guys, informants, paid “ears,” corrupt judges, a Hollywood starlet, and even the Mayor of Chicago. Filled with drama, tension, and humor, this absorbing saga takes the reader inside the dangerous yet exhilarating world of a life dedicated to crime.

Cover Image of Final Confession: The Unsolved Crimes of Phil Cresta
E-book: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9781611683790
Pages: 192 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: February 12, 2013


  • You wouldn’t necessarily expect a true-crime book to be a whole lot of fun, but this one is. . . . It’s exciting, lighthearted, and completely realistic. . . . Phil Cresta and his cohorts were a band of thieves-very clever thieves, to be sure, but thieves nonetheless. They weren’t particularly honorable, and they certainly weren’t wealthy, but this chronicle of their adventures gives us more excitement than a whole fistful of novels. . . . Even though [Cresta] was a ‘bad guy,’ it’s awfully hard not to like him. Put this at the top of every true-crime fan’s reading list.

    Booklist (starred review)
  • An affectionate look at a true craftsman of crime, one who cared as much for his friends as he did for the rush he’d get whenever he opened the back of a stolen armored car. . . . It’s the details of the Cresta story that give Final Confession its charm-because Wallace and Crowley make plain that Cresta’s wild run lasted not because of the fear he engendered on the street but because of his painstaking dedication to craft. . . . Final Confession also charms because of the eye that [the authors] have for the humorous moments that flecked an otherwise grim and unforgiving life.

    Michael Rezendes
    Boston Globe

About the Author

BRIAN P. WALLACE is a former Massachusetts state representative. Bill Crowley is a retired Boston police detective.

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