Boston, Massachusetts, March 18, 1990, $300 Million worth of paintings
One of the largest art thefts in history, two more “police officers” knocked on a security entrance side door and quickly tied up the two guards on duty. The thieves stole three Rembrants and a Vermeer along with eight other paintings, all in all worth over $300 Million.
Buckhamshire, England, August 8, 1963, $4.5 Million ($75 Million today)
This train was actually en route to having the money destroyed when a gang of fifteen manipulated train signals to get the freighter to stop. Without using any guns, they bludgeoned the conductor and made off with around £2.3 Million. Most of the gangs members were later caught due to fingerprint matches. Damn you, 1960s CSI!
England, February 22, 2006, $92.5 Million
A large-scale hostage and kidnapping robbery involved thieves dressing up as cops and pulling over the bank manager. His family then fell for the same rouse and was kidnapped as well. Fourteen more employees were taken hostage as the manager was told his wife and kids would be killed if he didn’t cooperate. Over £53 were loaded onto a van and the thieves made off. It wasn’t until about an hour later that the police were tipped off.
Los Angeles, California, September 12, 1997, $18.9 Million
The largest cash robbery in the United States was an inside job done by an employee of Dunbar who mastered all the schedules and systems to pull of a well-executed theft. He got five of his childhood friends involved and on the night of the crime subdued the guards when the door to the vault was open. They loaded millions onto a waiting truck, got rid of security tracking devices and kept a low profile after the crime. Eventually one of the friends confessed and the mastermind was arrested but over $10 Million is still unaccounted for.
England, July 12, 1987, $110 Million
On the run from succeeding in over fifty armed robberies, Valerio Viccei continued his spree in England at one of the richest safety deposit centers in the country. He asked to rent a box, then let his accomplices inside. They subdued the guards and stole what amounts to over $174 Million in today’s money from the boxes. The cops, again, were not alerted to the crime until well afterwards. He wasn’t caught until years later when he foolishly returned to England.
Antwerp, Belgium, February 16, 2003, over $100 Million
Thieves spent over three years planning this crime by setting up shop, taking meetings and establishing credibility in the diamond-rich area. The convoluted crime involved fake security tapes, motion and heat censors, magnetic locks and even dopplar radar. Cops are still trying to figure out every detail. The mastermind was caught much later but the over $100 Million worth of gems is still missing.
Boston, Massachusetts, January 17, 1950, $3.7 Million
The largest robbery of the time and later adapted into three movies, an eleven-member crew started weeks in advance by picking the locks as an inside job then waiting for the perfect moment to strike. They dressed like Brinks employees, tied up the security guards and made off with a massive score then hurried off to solidify their alibis.
New York City, New York, December 11, 1978, $5.8 Million
The crime that inspired two TV shows and was a key plot-point in the film Goodfellas, gangsters found out about millions in cash earmarked for West Germany. The thieves neutralized the plane’s security guard then forced their way into the cargo hold. With a tremendous amount of inside info, they subdued over a dozen guards while skirting numerous security measures and made off with the cash. Scorcese will tell you the rest of the story.
Brazil, August 6-7, 2005, $65 Million
This robbery took months of preparation as a gang set up shop in a nearby house and set up a fake gardening business. They then spent over three months digging a sophisticated tunnel underground into the vault. This was no Great Escape tunnel either, these guys had air conditioning and lighting. Only around $7 has been recovered to date.