“Great Train Robber” Ronnie Biggs Dies at 84

Notorious criminal Ronnie Biggs, who played a role in Britain's "Great Train Robbery" of 1963 and escaped jail to spend almost four decades on the run in South America, died Wednesday at the age of 84. Biggs was a part of a gang that staged a heist on a night mail train almost exactly 50 years ago and stole $4.2 million--equivalent to about $64 million today. The gang halted the train by altering the wiring to a signal and carried the cash down an embankment to a waiting van. They were later caught and convicted when their fingerprints were found on a board game they had played while hiding at an abandoned house. However, Biggs’ folk hero status was sealed when he subsequently escaped from London’s Wandsworth Prison by scaling a wall with a rope ladder before fleeing to Brazil where he could not be extradited. He spent 36 years on the run and even recorded a song with the Sex Pistols. He eventually surrendered to British authorities in 2001 but spent only a few years in jail before being released due to ill health.

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