9 of the largest robberies of all time
Thursday, 04 September 2008 11:07
1. Banco Central In Brazil - August 6 & 7, 2005
A Tunnel Robbery
Location: Brazil

Amount Stolen: $65 Million

$65 million was stolen from the Banco Central in Brazil, after a gang tunneled 255 feet to the bank vault. The gang had rented a nearby house and put it in a fake gardening business' name, and spent three months digging the sophisticated tunnel. This tunnel was lined with plastic and wood, featuring air conditioning and lighting. Neighbors saw the vans of soil being removed each day, however, they found this to be a normal occurrence due to the type of business being conducted on the premises.

On the final weekend of the 6 and 7 of August, the gang broke through into the vault and stole five containers of 50 real notes, the estimate value was 164,755,150 reais, which is $69.8 million dollars. This money was in this vault awaiting the decision if it should be recirculated or destroyed. In addition, the money was not number sequentially, making it almost impossible to trace. Five men were later found with $5.4 million of the money and admitted to digging the tunnel, while the mastermind was found dead on the side of the road. At this point in time only $7 million has been recovered.
2. The Central Bank of Iraq - March 18, 2003
War Robbery
Amount Stolen: $1 Billion in U.S. Dollars

Location: Iraq

The largest robbery of all time was done by none other than Saddam Hussein. On March 18, 2003, one day before the United States began bombing Iraq, Hussein allegedly stole $1 Billion from the Central Bank of Iraq.  $650 million dollars were recovered when US troops found the money hidden in the walls of Saddam Hussein's palace. The rest of the money is unaccounted for, however, a hand-written note, from Saddam to his son Qusay, has surfaced that ordered bank officials to give his son $920 million the same month of the robbery. Qusay has been killed by US troops and the money is considered lost.
3. Kent Securitas Depot - February 22, 2006
Hostage Robbery
Amount: $92.5 million

Location: England

The Securitas Depot robbery was one that involved kidnapping and hostages, creating the largest cash robbery in British history. It began as the manager, Colin Dixon, of the depot was driving home after a long days work. He was pulled over by an unmarked police car that proceeded to arrest him, and he was later transferred to a white van and held in an unknown farm in Kent. Meanwhile, the manager's wife and son were taken hostage at their home in Herne Bay, after answering the door for two "police officers." The following day, Dixon, his wife, and son were taken to the depot at gunpoint and Dixon was told they would be killed if he did not cooperate. At the depot, 14 more employees were taken hostage as the robbers loaded the  £53,116,760  in bank notes into their vehicles. Once the money was loaded, all the hostages were left tied up at the Depot. An hour after the heist was over, the hostages got free and notified the police.
4. The Boston Museum - March 18, 1990
The Largest Art Heist
Amount Stolen: $300 Million in paintings

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Many blame this robbery on a door being opened that was never to be opened, not even for God. However, that night at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum at 1:24 a.m., two "police officers" knocked on the security entrance side door. The two guards quickly learned that these were not real police officers, as they were handcuffed by the burglars. These art thieves stole three Rembrandt's, "The Concert" from Johannes Vermeer, and "Landscape with an Obelisk" by Govert Flinck. There was a total of 12 painting that were taken, worth an estimated $300 million, making this one of the greatest art heists in history.

5. The Great Train Robbery - August 8, 1963
Train Robbery
Amount Stolen: £2.6 million in bank notes (Equivalent of $74 million today)

Location: Buckhamshire

A gang of 15, led by Bruce Reynolds, caused the Royal Mail's Glasgow to London traveling post office (TPO) to halt by tampering with traffic signals. Although the gang did not posses any guns, they still badly injured the train driver by hitting him in the head with an iron bar. The gang proceeded to steal 120 mail bags containing used £1, £5 and £10 notes, for a total of £2.3 million. Eventually 13 of the 15 gang members were caught when Police took fingerprints from their hideout and matched them to the train.

6. Castle tourist theft - August 2003
Castle/Da Vinci Robbery

Amount Stolen: £50 million

Location: Scotland

In August 2003 a Leonardo Da Vinci painting worth up to £50 million, Madonna with the Yarnwinder , was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's home at Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland. The painting was stolen by two men who joined a public tour and overpowered a guide, disarmed the alarm system, lifted the painting from the wall, and escaped through the kitchen window to a waiting car.

Julian Radcliffe, chairman of the Art Loss Register, said such a heist "would probably be easier to do it when it was open to the public rather than at night when all the alarms were set".

The painting was recently recovered, in a police raid in Glasgow.

7. America’s most notorious hijacker - November 24, 1971
Plane Hijack

Amount: $200,000

Location: Seattle, Washington

“D. B. Cooper” is still at large after 35 years of being on the run. On November 24 ,1971 he hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 with a briefcase "bomb." He handed a flight attendant a note saying "I have a bomb in my briefcase. I will use it if necessary. I want you to sit next to me. You are being hijacked."

The flight attendant alerted the pilot, who was instructed by radio control to comply with Cooper's requests, which were a parachute and $200,000.

Passengers were dropped off at the Seattle-Tacoma airport, in exchange for the parachute and cash. With the money in hand, Cooper instructed the pilot to take to the skies again, this time headed for Mexico.

When Cooper jumped from the plane, it was flying through a heavy rainstorm with no light source coming from the ground due to cloud coverage. Because of the poor visibility, his descent went unnoticed by the jet fighters tracking the airliner. He is believed to have landed around Ariel, Washington, although his precise landing zone remains unknown.

The whereabouts of the man (or his remains) has been described as “one of the great crime mysteries of our time.”
8. Brinks Mat Warehouse - November 26, 1983
Warehouse Robbery

Amount Stolen: £26 million

Location: United Kingdom

In 1983, 6 burglars broke into Brinks Mat warehouse expecting to find  £3 million in cash, however,  when they arrived they found ten tonnes of gold bullion (worth £26 million).

The gang got into the warehouse thanks to security guard Anthony Black, who was the brother-in-law of the raid's architect Brian Robinson. Scotland Yard quickly discovered the family connection and Black confessed to aiding and abetting the raiders, providing them with a key to the main door and giving them details of security measures.

Robinson was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for armed robbery; Black got six years, and served three.

Three tonnes of stolen gold has never been recovered. It is claimed that anyone wearing gold jewellery bought in the UK after 1983 is probably wearing Brinks Mat.
9. Dunbar Armored - September 13, 1997
The Inside Job

Amount: $18.9 million

Location: Los Angeles, California

The Dunbar Armored robbery is the largest cash robbery to ever happen on U.S. soil. It was the mastermind of of Dunbar's regional safety inspector, Allen Pace. Pace had the full knowledge of all the inner workings of Dunbar, and recruited 5 childhood friends to perform the robbery. Pace used his keys to gain admittance to the facility. Pace had timed the security cameras and determined how they could be avoided. Once inside, they waited within the staff cafeteria, ambushing the guards one by one. Pace knew that on Friday nights the vault was open due to the large quantities of money being moved. Rushing the vault guards, the robbers managed to subdue them before they could signal any alarms. In half an hour, the robbers had loaded millions of dollars into a waiting U-Haul. Pace knew exactly which bags contained the highest denomination and non-sequential bills. He also knew where the recording devices for the security cameras were located and took these. With no signs of forced entry, the policed assumed it to be an inside job, however, there was no proof. It was not until one of the accomplices gave an associate of Paces a stack of bills still wrapped with the original cash straps, that the Police made their break. After some investigation, Paces associate gave him up and Pace was sentenced to 24 years in prison. However, most of the money has not been recovered. Some $10 million is still unaccounted for.

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 April 2012 16:54 )