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Ronnie Biggs of ‘Great Train Robbery’ fame dies, 84

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Ronnie Biggs, one of the gang members who played a part in Britain's notorious "Great Train Robbery" of 1963, died in a nursing home in Northern London on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Biggs was 84.

NBC News reported he was one of the members of a gang that staged a nighttime heist on a mail train as it wound the tracks through Britain, making off with a stash of about $4.2 million. In today's dollars, that would translate to about $64 million.

The gang actually stopped the train by changing its wiring signal. The members then carted off the cash to a van they had waiting — but were later caught and convicted. Police put together the pieces of their identities and locations after discovering fingerprints on a board game they played in an old abandoned house that served as their temporary hide-out, NBC reported.

But Mr. Biggs' notoriety rose to folk hero status when he broke out of London's Wandsworth Prison by scaling down a wall with a rope ladder. He then fled to Brazil — where Britain had no extradition agreement and where he spent the next 36 years of his life.

He surrendered to police in Britain in 2001, but was released from jail after a few years because of poor health.

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