Photo: via AFP
Admit it, we’ve all thought about committing the perfect heist: that one smooth score where a bit of planning and guts delivers more money than most people make in a lifetime.Some people though, they actually go through with their plan — stealing a load of diamonds, speeding on Bonnie and Clyde car chases, or military customs clerks smuggling millions home from war.
The following heists proceed from those requiring the least amount of chutzpah to the one requiring more guts than we can imagine.
Called the Agriculture Bank Heist, a banker stole a few hundred thousand at first, intending to buy lottery tickets and replace the money. Unbelievably, his logic worked out the first time.
Not the second or the third try, which totaled to about $7 million.
He was arrested and thrown in jail, along with his accomplice.
Police had them monitored from almost start to finish.
Immediately they set upon a well fortified display case with nail guns and sledge hammers. Just as they were about to gain entry to the 'Millennium Star,' a 203-carat diamond worth a quarter billion, agents pounced.
No shots fired, everyone arrested -- '12 inches from payday,' as the robbers would describe later, 'It would have been a blinding Christmas.'
A couple fellows dressed as Boston police officers gained entry, against museum rules, to the Gardner Museum after hours in 1990.
They subdued the guards, tied them up, and promptly headed for the priceless paintings.
They stole Rembrandt, Manet, and Vermeer pieces of art. The statute of limitation for robbery is up, yet no one has admitted the crime.
It remains one of the more mysterious crimes in history, and frames where the artwork was still sit empty on the wall.
Eleven men used copied keys to gain entry into a vault and steal about $3 million in assets.
Their plan was to sit on the money until the six year statute of limitations, but a combination of police sluethwork and suspicion eventually set the robbers on each other.
The whole thing turned into a war. There were several attempts at gang land style hits.
The remaining robbers were all eventually found out, and subsequently thrown in jail.
The media dubbed the man 'D.B. Cooper' after he hijacked a Boeing 747, extorted $200,000, and then jumped out of the plane with bags full of money.
Cooper, described as calm and polite, really knew his aviation. He gave the crew very specific instructions about air speed, angle of the wings, etc.
The last thing the crew noticed was Cooper tying something to his waist.
Then he was gone.
Though a lot of the money was recovered, Police still haven't found Cooper.
'The Great Train Robbery' involved 15 unarmed assailants and a postal train in 1963.
The heist was almost too simple to believe.
The team used a fake signal to get the conductor to stop the train, boarded the car, beat up the guards, and took the money -- $41 million in today's dollars.
Simple as that.
Later, cops were able to locate and arrest at least 13 members of the team.
In 1971, a group of criminals used a store as a front and literally blasted their way to a London bank vault, where they used metal cutting tools to gain access.
The take was about $3 million.
While blasting away, the crew used a lookout, and communicated via radio. A local radio operator caught some of the transmissions and called the police, who scrambled to about 700 banks before realised the robbers had gotten away.
Using an ingenious front as a landscaping company, a group of wily robbers managed to tunnel 250 feet, right beneath Banco Central of Brazil.
The thieves made off with about $70 million. Police made a number of arrests, and recovered $9 million. Many of the groups members are still at large.
Investigators noted the tunnel was well-constructed, with air conditioning and lighting systems.
At 5:15 a.m., a stolen helicopter (!!) lands on the roof of the cash depot and four armed men jump out.
Witnesses hear a bunch of explosions, and the men reappear carrying sacks of money. Meanwhile, cops are rushing to the scene.
The robber climb back aboard the helo and fly away. Cops later find the helicopter ditched in a field.
Two men are later arrested, and a mafia boss is implicated.
The kicker is that authorities had caught wind of the heist weeks earlier, and placed surveillance on the wrong cash depot.
Career criminal Valerio Viccei and company pulled off a brazen, dramatic attack on a U.K. bank just by posing as customers interested in renting a safety deposit box.
They then overpowered guards, forced their way into the boxes, and took off $90 million in merchandise.
Viccei left some of his blood at the scene, but got away clean initially. In a bizarre turn of events, he returned to the U.K. to retrieve his favourite car, and police arrested him.
This is the famous heist the turned into the movie 'Goodfellas.'
Going off inside information, Henry Hill and associates carefully planned the raid from start to finish. Their intelligence was staggering -- the knew layouts, guard names, protocols ... they even knew that the port authority police, located inside the airport, could auto-lock the doors and exits within 90 seconds of notification.
All said and done, they made off with the equivalent in today's dollars of about $20 million.
None of the money (or jewels, there were also almost a million in jewels) was recovered, but several gang members died in paranoid hits, and several were arrested.
Henry Hill got away though, into the witness protection program. He died at 69 of undisclosed health issues.
Robbers, who had previously stolen a KLM Air cargo truck, pulled on to the runway of the Schiphol Airport in Switzerland.
Not only did they have a truck, but they had KLM uniforms, so they went almost unnoticed. That is, until they pulled up to another truck, pulled out guns, and told its occupiers to get out.
The robbery took place in full view of witnesses. The robbers then calmly got into the truck and fled the scene.
That particular KLM truck was bound for Antwerp, filled with diamonds -- $118 million worth.
As U.S. troops hit Baghdad like a wrecking ball in 2003, Saddam Hussein sent son Qusay to the Central Bank of Baghdad to get some money.
All of it.
In total, the men made off with $1 billion in cash.
Later, Army soldiers would find $650 million of it stuffed into Hussein's walls.
The soldiers rightly reported the money, only so other soldiers could get caught skimming.
In one of the most bizarre heists in history, several men dressed as women stormed a super-exclusive Paris jewelry store.
The robbers, who police dubbed 'The Pink Panthers,' herded customers and employees into a corner and simply broke into display cases.
They left with $108 million in diamonds, and have yet to be caught.
Easily one of the most referred to heists of modern history.
Leonardo Notarbartolo moved to an apartment next to the Diamond centre and spent three years posing as an Italian diamond merchant to gain rapport.
Notarbartolo's crew, dubbed the School of Turin, then conducted one of the most elaborate heists in history -- relying on copied keys and fake security camera footage to compromise a multimillion dollar vault.
Notarbartolo was later caught, implicated in the crime for DNA left on a half-eaten sandwich.
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