This big-budget production from Relativity Studios is based on an actual heist that took place in October of 1997. Starring comedic greats Owen Wilson, Leslie Jones, Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, and Kate McKinnon, the movie tells the story of one of the largest holdups in U.S. history—the robbery of Loomis, Fargo & Co.
Click below to watch a preview of the film:
The thieves got away with over $17 million in cash from the regional vault. The culprits included the vault supervisor David Scott Ghantt and his girlfriend and former co-worker, Kelly Campbell, as well as seven other co-conspirators. Eight of the crew members were later arrested and convicted, and around 88% of the money was recovered by the FBI.
In the film, the Asheville area serves as a stand-in for Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of the actual heist. Locals will recognize the Bomba cafe in the background of the scene where Kristen Wiig (as Kelly Campbell) leaves the "Park Street Citizens Bank” sucking on a red lollipop. The “bank” is housed in the former BB&T building on Patton Avenue, which recently reopened as the Kimpton Hotel Arras. The steps of the Buncombe County Courthouse, the parking garage in the Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville (formerly U.S. Cellular Center), and Pack Square were also used as filming locations for various scenes in the movie.
In addition to this comical retelling of the story, the robbery was the subject of a book called Heist by former Charlotte Observer reporter, Jeff Diamant, and one by David Ghantt himself. It was also featured on episodes of America’s Most Wanted and The FBI Files.
Although Kristen Wiig strolled past Bomba in the movie, take some time to come inside when you visit this location. Customers stop by for the friendly and knowledgeable staff, who can tell you all about Asheville, as much as the drinks and Latin-influenced food.
Cover image by Billy Hathorn is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.