Home Pop Culture The ten most famous robberies in history

The ten most famous robberies in history

Most famous robberies
Most famous robberies in History: Pictured, the Antwerp Diamond Centre heist.
Most famous robbery heists
Most famous robberies in History: Pictured, the Antwerp Diamond Centre heist.

Ten most famous robberies in history that have captured the public’s imagination, in its scale, size and bravado and the public appetite of how it all went down. 

The assault on the Glasgow train, the Antwerp Diamond Centre, the Harry Winston jewelry shop in Paris or the armored van with which ‘El Dioni’ escaped are some of the most resounding thefts in recent years.

Every day there are robberies anywhere in the world. Many of them are small thefts without relevance or media interest, but there is another type of theft, much more spectacular, which have been carried out with mastery and cunning, leaving police security in evidence and becoming a source of inspiration for numerous films.

In these lines you will not find all those who have starred, but the most spectacular. Also in the next article we will talk some of the best planned heists for Casinos mostly in Las Vegas which will be shared by s1288 that is one of the best online betting sites in Indonesia.

1. Assault on the Glasgow train

For many years it has been considered the most important theft of the 20th century. The stolen loot was 2.6 million pounds (3 million euros), a record then and today would be equivalent to about 46 million euros. The famous coup took place in the early hours of 8 August 1963, so this year marks the 50th anniversary.

The mail train, which ran from Glasgow to London loaded with money, was assaulted by a gang of 15 men led by Bruce Reynolds, who died last February 28 at the age of 81. They did not use firearms. However, the train driver, Jack Mills, was hit in the head with an iron bar during a struggle. Thirteen of the 15 gang members were captured by fingerprints left in a Monopoly they played with while hiding from the police. Reynolds managed to evade justice for five years and was finally captured in 1968 in England, where he served his sentence until 1978.

2. Antwerp Diamond Centre

You could say it’s the perfect, best-planned robbery of all time. An Italian band of robbers took a 100 million euro loot in 2003 in one of the richest cities in the world. The thieves had to overcome ten levels of high security, and even so, they managed to steal the diamonds without leaving traces. Nor did they use violence to achieve their goal.

Ten years later, the loot has still not appeared, although the boss of the gang, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Filmmaker J.J. Abrams, the creator of Perdidos, plans to bring this fast-paced story to the big screen in the near future.

A month and a half ago another film robbery alerted the diamond industry. A group of armed men stole a shipment of diamonds valued at 50 million dollars (about 37.4 million euros) at Brussels International Airport. The eight assailants entered the airport enclosure in two vehicles and threatened with firearms the entourage transporting the jewelry for delivery. The thieves were disguised as police uniforms and committed the robbery in just five minutes. So far there have been no arrests.

3. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston

The largest art theft in history occurred in this museum on the night of March 18, 1990 with a loot of $300 million. The thieves took thirteen works of art from Degas, Rembrandt and Vermeer, and on their way out they also took the security tapes. The coup was simple and incredibly effective, as the two thieves, disguised as policemen, entered the compound when it was already closed, assuring that they were coming for an emergency call. Once there, they reduced the security guards and toured the galleries of the museum as they pleased. The thieves are still unaccounted for, but recently FBI officials said they believe they know where the works of art were transported and know the identity of the thieves.

Most Famous Heists
Most Famous Robberies: Pictured, Securitas robbery in Kent.

4. Securitas security deposit in Kent

In February 2006 a gang of thieves entered a Securitas warehouse in Kent taking 53 million pounds (about 77.8 million euros) with them. The figure makes it the largest robbery in the UK’s history, ahead of Northern Bank’s headquarters in Belfast in December 2004, where £26.5 million (EUR 38.5 million) was stolen.

The thieves were fearless: two of them dressed as police officers went to the home of the depot manager in Kent to inform his wife that her husband had been involved in a car accident. Once inside, she was taken hostage, as well as her young son. Meanwhile, the depot director was stopped on a road by other masked and armed gang members, who took him to Securitas Depot and forced him to open it, seizing the precious booty. All those involved were arrested and tried.

American director Darren Aronofsky, author of The Black Swan and The Wrestler, among other films, plans to bring this story to the cinema.

Famous Heists
Most Famous Robberies: Harry Winston Jewelry in Paris

5. Harry Winston Jewelry in Paris

On December 4, 2008, four armed robbers entered this central Parisian jewelry store in broad daylight and made themselves out of 85 million euro worth of jewelry. The establishment was packed. The robbers, some disguised as women with blond wigs and sunglasses, cornered them in a corner of the premises and, without shooting, began the looting.

It took them only 15 minutes to commit the robbery, the largest ever perpetrated in France. A year earlier, the establishment had already suffered one of the most important robberies perpetrated in the country in recent decades. Then, the amount was about 20 million euros in pieces of fine jewelry.

6. Knightsbridge depot in the United Kingdom

One of the greatest thefts of history occurred on July 12, 1987, when the Italian Valerio Viccei, along with an accomplice, managed to take the sum of 60 million pounds from the Knightsbridge Safe Deposit Center, located in the town of Knightsbridge, England.

To achieve their goal, the two men asked to rent a safety deposit box. After accessing the vault, they tied up the director and the security guards. Valerio hung a sign on the outside indicating that the depot was temporarily closed to deter customers and then introduced more accomplices.

The gang looted the safe deposit boxes at will. Valerio fled to Latin America, while his accomplices were arrested, but was captured shortly after returning to England to recover his prized Ferrari Testarossa. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. In 2000 he was killed during a shooting with the police.

7. Bank of Baghdad

The last of the largest robberies took place on 18 March 2003 at the Central Bank in Baghdad, Iraq. There was no need for careful planning or the use of brute force. It was simple and effective. One day before coalition forces began bombing the country, Saddam Hussein sent his son Qusay to make a retreat on his behalf with a handwritten note. In an operation that took nearly five hours, Qusay oversaw how boxes were filled with $100 bills and deposited in three trucks. The sum totaled about a billion dollars.

As is known, Hussein was captured in December of that year and his son was killed by U.S. troops. About 650 million were found by U.S. soldiers hidden in the walls of one of the palaces, but the remaining 350 million are considered lost.

And we are not moving away from the Iraqi capital because a few years later, on 11 July 2007, another historic robbery took place from a bank in the country, Dar Es Salaam.

On the morning of July 12 of that year the bank employees went to work and found the door open. All the money was missing. It is believed that the three security guards working at the site were responsible for the theft of 282 million dollars. It is unknown how they were able to circumvent various security checks, but investigations indicated that they had the cooperation of the police. To date, the wall of the thieves and the loot have not been found.

8. Central Bank of Fortaleza in Brazil

A gang of about 35 men took 150 million reais (about 52 million euros) from this bank on the weekend of 6 and 7 August 2005. It was a highly planned film robbery in which thieves dug a tunnel about 80 meters long that led directly to the vaults where the money was kept.

The gang rented a neighboring house and used it to set up an alleged gardening business. From the house they dedicated themselves to digging the tunnel, which took them three months of intense work. Despite the fact that almost all the members of the gang were captured, the authorities have only been able to recover little more than 10 percent of the stolen money. The film Assault on the Central Bank (2011), directed by filmmaker Marcos Paulo, is inspired by this event.

9. Societe Generale Bank of Nice

Albert Spaggiari was the organizer of the spectacular “robbery of the century” at the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank in Nice, which took place between 16 and 20 July 1976. Together with his team of cronies, they built a tunnel in the city’s sewers for three months, which reached the bank’s underground wall. It is estimated that some 60 million francs were stolen in cash, bonds and goods. “No weapons, no violence, no hatred” were the famous words he left written on a bank wall.

During the trial, he orchestrated an escape plan and threw himself into an open window where he landed on the roof of a parked car and fled on a motorcycle waiting for him. He was never caught again. In 1979, after a secret pact with a publishing house, he published his autobiography, detailing the details of the theft. He assured that he had not kept any money and that he had sent it to the oppressed people of Yugoslavia, Portugal and Italy. He died of throat cancer on 8 June 1989.

In 2008 the French director Jean-Paul Rouve brought the story to the big screen.

10. Armored van of the company “Candi S.A.”

In Spain, the most resounding robbery is undoubtedly the one that starred in El Dioni almost 24 years ago. On July 28, 1989, Dionisio Rodriguez Martin was the head of the custody of an armored car of the security company Candi S.A. At ten o’clock in the morning of that day took the decision to steal it, as he commented years later. Taking advantage of the absence of his two comrades, he escaped with the 298 million pesetas.

The Dioni assures that he delivered part of the booty to three friends and later traveled to Brazil. There he changed his image and lived in style. He was arrested by the Brazilian police on 19 September 1989 and spent ten months in prison until his extradition to Spain. He was released from prison in May 1995 on parole after serving three quarters of his three-year and four-month sentence. Of the stolen money, 175 million pesetas could be recovered. The crime led to the bankruptcy of the Candi company.

Also don’t forget to read The 20 Biggest Gold Heists in History.