MOST AMBITIOUS HEISTS AND ROBBERIES IN HISTORY
Added on: 14th Dec 2016
THE BRUSSELS AIRPORT DIAMOND HEIST
On February 18, 2013, eight masked gunmen robbed a
Switzerland-bound plane containing around $50 million in
diamonds, property of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.
The team used two vehicles with police markings to
approach the plane where the gems were being transferred
from a Brink’s armoured van. The whole job took about
20 minutes, and the thieves took about 130 bags of gems.
THE SONALI BANK HEIST
On January 26, 2014, a Sonali Bank branch in Kishoreganj
was robbed of 169 million Bangladeshi taka after two men
tunnelled their way into the vault from an abandoned
room of a neighbouring house. Unfortunately for the
robbers, the Hollywood-style heist didn’t have a happy
ending even though it was almost perfectly executed:
the mastermind behind the biggest bank robbery in
Bangladesh history was eventually arrested.
THE BRITISH BANK OF THE MIDDLE EAST ROBBERY
On January 20, 1976, a group associated with Yasser Arafat’s
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) exploited the chaos
of the country’s civil war and broke into the British Bank of the
Middle East in Beirut. The robbers blasted through a wall
which the bank shared with a Catholic church then cracked
the bank’s vault and plundered its contents (anywhere from
$20 million to $50 million in gold bars, Lebanese and foreign
currency, stocks and jewels). Today the loot is valued at
more than three times what it was worth in 1976.
THE 1798 BANK OF PENNSYLVANIA HEIST
Known as America’s first bank robbery, the 1798 Bank of
Pennsylvania heist occurred in the predawn hours of
September 1, 1798. $162,821 was stolen from the bank,
which may not seem like much, but back then, that
was a lot of money.
THE CHELEMBRA BANK ROBBERY
The Chelembra Bank robbery in Kerala, India is considered one
of the biggest bank robberies in Indian history. In the early
hours of December 30, 2007, the robbers made a hole in
the floor of the Bank of Kerala and got away with eighty
kilograms of gold and five million rupees, a total value of
eighty million rupees. The culprits were arrested
two months later.
THE HISTORIC BANK OF AUSTRALIA ROBBERY
The Bank of Australia robbery was the first bank robbery in
Australia. On September 14, 1828, a gang of five robbers
tunnelled through a sewage drain into the vault of the
Bank of Australia and stole about £14,000 in promissory
notes and coins. Unfortunately for the gang, the theft was
discovered the next day and all five members were arrested.
THE EPIC STEPHANE BREITWIESER HEISTS
Between 1995 and 2001, Stéphane Breitwieser stole 230
works of art from museums and exhibitions, approximately
thirty-eight objects a year. In the space of six years he
compiled an impressive art collection with an estimated
value of $1.4 billion. On January 7, 2005, he was
sentenced to three years in prison by a court in
Strasbourg but only served twenty-six months. He later
wrote about his exploits in Confessions of an Art Thief,
published in French in 2006.
THE PLYMOUTH MAIL TRUCK ROBBERY
On August 14, 1962, two men stopped a US Mail truck that was
on its way to deliver a shipment to the Federal Reserve Bank
in Boston. The delivery consisted of bags and pouches
containing more than $1.5 million in cash. Armed with
shotguns and aided by accomplices who were diverting
traffic away from the scene of the robbery, the thieves
got away with all the cash.
MEXICO CITY’S MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY HEIST
Back in 1985 thieves stole 140 priceless Mayan, Aztec and
other artefacts from Mexico’s world-famous National Museum
of Anthropology on Christmas Eve in the biggest heist ever
of pre-Columbian art objects. Eventually, in 1989, federal
officials recovered most of a cache of gold, jade and stone
artefacts and arrested one of two men who were accused of
staging the robbery.