The most daring robberies ever!

Posted: April 27, 2015 in Africa, China, Europe, Kenya, USA
Tags: , , ,

Daring diamond heists, ridiculous art hauls and good old-fashioned cash robberies have been the fodder of innumerable movies since, well, since movies began. For criminals, there are no crimes perhaps more enticing than bank robbery. The fame, notoriety, and financial rewards of robbing a bank are enough to entice hackers, gunmen and even politicians into attempting to rob a bank. Robberies are committed left and right, usually for small amounts of money, however, some robbers choose to go-big-or-go-home.

We’ve got the low-down on the most incredible heists in history. From the ingeniously brilliant to the just plain dumb. Unfortunately for them, the robbers have almost always been brought to justice, although most of the money has never been recovered. We shouldn’t be impressed but…

Saddam Hussein $1 Billion loot
Iraq banks have been victims of multiple heists and, in fact, the city has been revealed as the “bank robbery capital of the world“. Although most have been extremely violent, none have been more sensational than the 2003 theft by then-leader Saddam Hussein which remains the largest heist in history. The president ordered his eldest son to take as much money as he could from Iraq Central Bank just hours before the US-led invasion of the country. Taking the order, Quasay and his men loaded cash from the vaults into a number of trucks waiting outside The value of the haul? A whopping $1 billion.

About $650 million was recovered by American troops from the walls of the Hussein palace but the $350 million leftovers were never discovered.

Tunnel vision
Brazil’s biggest bank heist took days to discover as a group of thieves stole $65 million by tunneling into a bank during its weekend hours. The group of up to 10 men dug a 200m tunnel into the bank from a nearby house in the city of Fortaleza, which they said they had rented to make artificial turf.

When the robbery was eventually discovered, local investigators told reporters, “It’s something you see in the movies… They dug a tunnel that goes underneath two [city] blocks. They’ve been digging for three months.”

The luckiest mugger
Snatching a briefcase would not generally make a list of daring actions but for one London mugger who set his sights on a briefcase belonging to a messenger working for Sheppards brokers, it was the luckiest. On grabbing the briefcase from 58-year-old John Goddard in 1990, the thief found himself the holder of 301 treasury bills, valued at about £1 million each. All but two were eventually recovered but that still made him a millionaire, twice over.

Mona Lisa
One of the most daring robberies in history was the kidnapping of the Louvre’s famous painting by the great master Leonardo da Vinci – “Mona Lisa”. This happened in 1911. Vincenzo Peruggia who worked as the Louvre glazier, one day noticed that the picture is not guarded so he could not resist the temptation to steal it, Vincenzo went straight to the painting and took it off the wall. On his way down the stairs he got rid of the frame, then he simply folded the “Mona Lisa” and hid it under his coat, after what he simply left the museum as if nothing had happened. For two years he kept her in his Paris apartment in a suitcase with a double bottom. The robber was caught while trying to sell a stolen painting in Italy.

Attempt to cash a $360 billion cheque.
Charles Ray Fuller, whose “last big score” was also apparently his “first, clumsy score,” kind of the premature ejaculation of bank fraud. One bright spring day, Fuller decided to walk into his local bank and attempt to cash a check for $360 billion. The bank, curiously, suspected something was up and notified the police. But that’s not the interesting part of this story. The interesting part is what was going through this guy’s head when he walked into that bank? Did he think this small bank had $360 billion in cash on hand? Did he really understand how much money that actually was? He could have tipped the entire planet into recession if he’d pulled this off. But of course the answer is that nothing was going through his head when he tried this. By even daring to consider this stunt, our man Fuller demonstrated a pretty horrendous lack of understanding about how cheques, banking, and possibly zeros work.

The Thanksgiving Skyjacker
D.B Cooper’s hijacking of a commercial airliner is probably the most legendary of all unsolved FBI cases. On November 24 1971 a man thought to be in his mid-40s boarded a plane at Portland airport, heading to Seattle. He proceeded to drink bourbon and smoke cigarettes – nothing unusual there. But then he handed one of the cabin crew a note stating he would detonate a bomb he had in his possession unless he was given $200,000 and some parachutes.

After receiving the ransom, he released the 94 passengers but ordered the pilot to fly to Mexico. He then jumped out of the plane somewhere over southwest Washington. He was never found and the case remains open despite a mammoth 1,200 suspects having been checked out.

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