Chances ( 2)
It was time to tell Bobby Philips my story.
“I work for a company called Bullen, Weisman and Stokes, three old gentlemen, all in their eighties. They’ve had the company for over fifty years and during that time have amassed a small fortune. Only the three of them know the combination of the Chubb safe, in fact only a handful of people even know it exists. And the reason for all this secrecy is that this safe is full of other people’s money. The call it “The Reserve.” You see they each have a master key that unlocks all of their 650 Safety Deposit Boxes. That’s illegal of course, but to be honest they just don’t give a fuck. So now and again they have a little rummage through their client's boxes and nick a few bits and pieces. These are then sold off to their contacts within the industry and the proceeds put into the safe. And, if one of their clients dies they go to their box, leave any paperwork that’s in there but take out the valuables. If the relatives complain, they just shrug their shoulders and say that the client must have withdrawn it before he or she died. The three of them are like little hoarders, they like to look inside the safe from time to time and see their spoils. It makes them feel good.”
Bobby was intrigued.
“So how much is in “The Reserve?”
“Well, I only got a small glimpse when one of the old gents was busy tucking some dodgy cash away. He’d fallen over and was having trouble standing up again. He called out for help and that’s when I got a brief look inside. From what I saw it was packed from floor to ceiling with bundles of £20 notes. And as you know the JX260 is a 6ft square safe.”
Bobby quickly did the math.
“Thirty-five, maybe forty million, give or take.”
I nodded in agreement.
“But we don’t want to be greedy. Six million can be taken in two very large sports holdalls and...I’ll escort you in and I’ll escort you out. Deal?”
We shook hands.
Three weeks later at exactly 4.45am, I met Bobby Phillips at the door of Bullen, Weisman and Stokes. I led him down seven flights of stairs, along a small corridor and into a room containing the Chubb Safe. At 5.28am I escorted him back up seven flights of stairs carrying two very full black sports bags. He placed them carefully into the back of a Ford Escort Van and was gone. I then went to the control room and pressed rewind on the VHS recorder that captured all the CCTV for the building. All traces of him entering and leaving the building would soon be gone.
I left the company ten days later. The stolen money was never mentioned. The three old boys were so paranoid that they probably thought one of the others had taken it, besides, they couldn’t make a fuss about it because it was money that really didn’t exist. None of the contents of the Reserve was on any balance sheet, it was quite simply the three old boys slush fund.
I invested my money in property. By the end of 1985, I owned sixty-three houses, all 3 Bedroom Semi Detached and converted them into bedsits. All close to Hospitals and rented by Nurses or Student Doctors. Back then the average price of one of these houses was around £30k. The rental income gave me a very, very comfortable living. Even when the property market collapsed in 1989 it didn’t affect me. All my properties were paid for, in fact it was a good thing. The prices came tumbling down and I just bought more houses for a fraction of what they were worth just months before.
So today, some thirty-three years later I’m back in Spain to attend Bobby Philips 75th Birthday Bash. It’s being held on his Super Yacht in Puerto Banus, Marbella. Bobby has done very well for himself over the years. Back in the eighties he started “Senor Bob” Scooter Hire. Every resort from Torremolinos to Estepona had a “Senor Bob”. People came over to Spain on cheap package tours and loved to hire an easy to ride scooter and explore the coastline. “Senor Bob” became a huge success. Bobby then decided to expand his empire into Nightclubs. “Philips” in Marbella and Fuengirola became where the rich and famous went to let their hair down. In 1990 he married the daughter of Mayor Linguista of Malaga. They now have three children and six grandchildren. Bobby Philips is a well known and much-respected businessman along the Costa Del Sol.
He spots me through a crowd of people and opens up his arms to greet me.
“I’d have recognised you anywhere my old mate. What is it? Thirty years?”
I raise my glass of Champagne and salute him.
“More like thirty-three Bobby.”
He looks around.
“You on your own. I thought you’d bring your brother with you. I’ve got a lot to thank that man for.”
He winks at me.
“He’s a workaholic Bobby. Over in California now looking at a land deal.”
He looks disappointed. But simply shrugs his shoulders.
“ Ah well, never mind. You give him my best when you see him. Enjoy the evening, help yourself to whatever you want. I’ve got to mingle.”
He gets swept away by a tide of people all wanting a piece of him.
I help myself to another glass of Champagne and think back to the first time I heard the name of Bobby Philips. It was at a New Years Eve party in 1981. My mate Steve Roberts family were having a party. It was late, probably about 3 am and I was sat with Steves dad, Danny. He was well pissed and wanted to impress me by telling me about the scams he’d pulled. One job intrigued me. He mentioned the make of a safe, a Chubb JX260 to be precise and told me how his mate Bobby Philips could open one in just thirty minutes. I recognised the name of the safe because it was the same as the one in a back room at the Safety Deposit Company I’d just started working at as a night security guard. I asked him what happened to Bobby Philips.
“Fucked off to Spain he has. Paranoid that the cops are after him. I spoke to his old mum a few weeks ago. She got a postcard from him. Apparently he’s shacked up in the middle of nowhere, in a place called La Tossa or something.”
So it wasn’t hard to track him down. What I needed was a reason for him to do the job for me. The truth was that no one was looking for Bobby Philips apart from me. Would he come back to England and help me steal the money, I doubted it. What I needed was leverage.
As I said before, I like to take chances and Bobby Philips was a chance I took that really paid off. You see I don’t have a brother. In fact I’m an only child. I read about Scotland Yard being computerised in one of the Sunday Supplements that I read on the plane on the way over to Spain.
As my old dad used to say, “You’ll never know unless you have a go.”