AMBUSH: THE BRINKS ROBBERY OF 1981
Chipper, Ed and Pete
Police Officer Waverly Brown, 45, sipped his coffee while sitting in the diner on Broadway in the village of Nyack, New York on the afternoon of October 20, 1981. Nyack was a small community of 6,000 people situated on the banks of the majestic Hudson River. Officer Brown, known to virtually everyone as "Chipper," was a popular figure in the village, especially to young people, who frequently saw him as a counselor and friend. He was on the job for 13 years and, since the retirement of another African American, Officer Brown was the only black cop on the 22-man force. He served in the United States Air Force after the Korean War and later both his daughters also joined the military. When he finished his 20 years with the police, Chipper planned to retire to Virginia where he owned a house and some land. He was a solid six feet tall, had an easy smile and loved to garden and cook. He finished his coffee, tipped the waitress and walked out to his parked police unit.
At the same time, a short distance away in the Nyack Police Department radio room, Sergeant Ed O'Grady, 33, was talking with the police dispatcher. O'Grady was born and raised in Nyack. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. He served with the Marines in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and when he returned home, he joined the police department. O'Grady retained the discipline and conservatism of the Marines; his uniform and appearance were always exemplary. He was enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas College and was close to receiving his bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Ed O'Grady and his wife, Diane, had three small children, Edward, 6, Patricia, 2, and Kimberly, six months.
A few miles away, on Route 59, a busy highway that runs east and west through Rockland County, an armored car was approaching the sprawling Nanuet Mall. Inside the truck, Brink's security guard Pete Paige, 49, was looking forward to the last pickup of the day. He was a hard-working, quiet sort of man and a veteran of the United States Navy. Pete was the guard that day. It was his role on that shift to guard the carrier of the money. Pete and his wife, Josephine, had three children, Susan, 19, Michael, 16, and Peter, age 9. He worked as an armed guard for the Brink's Corporation since 1956 and had never been involved in a robbery.
This would be his first, and his last.