Top 10 Most Intelligent Heists Ever

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Have you ever thought why do people attempt heists by stealing money, jewelry or any valuables in front of the people itself. There are undoubtedly criminal masterminds behind such heists or robberies and there may be many reasons behind such brave attempts. You earn money and your valuables, and they are somewhere planning to steal them at once. Some robberies become successful when after such big act they do not get caught while there are many who come under the hands of law within no time. With growth in crime rates, even growth in heists have increased and you get to hear that a heist has taken place in some big showroom, bank, somebody’s home etc for which they go up to any extent. History has been a eyewitness for many greatest yet famous heists ever till today of whom many people may not be even aware. Below are some of the heists which shocked the whole nation because of its success:


On 26th November 1923, around 6 robbers broke into the Brinks Mat Warehouse at Heathrow Airport, England and thought of stealing 3 million in cash but instead they got to steal 10 tonnes of gold bullion of worth 26 million. It was later found that the gang was able to get into the ware house with the help of security guard Anthony Black who provided them with the keys to the main room. But the main mastermind behind the heist was Brian Robinson who was later arrested along with the gang leader McAvoy and sentenced to 25yrs of imprisonment. Black was also prisoned for 6 yrs. However, 3 tonnes of gold has never been recovered since then.


The heist which took place on 22nd February 2006 in England, was regarding the stealing of around 110 million in cash from the Securitas Cash Management Ltd. Depot in Vale Road, Tonbridge, Kent. The manager of the depot, Colin Nixon was abducted on 21st February while driving back home by an unmarked cops vehicle and was handcuffed by those imposed policemen taking him to a farm. Even his wife and son were held as hostages by those uniformed police officials who were then taken to Nixon warning him at the gunpoint to cooperate otherwise his family would be killed. All 3 were headed to the depot where those robbers even tied up other 14 members. After the heist, some of the robbers have been apprehended and imprisoned while around 40 million of the stolen cash has been recovered.


One of the biggest unsolved air piracy act in the American history which occurred on 24th November 1971 when an unidentified man but known by a common media miscommunication as D.B. Cooper alone hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft, extorted 20,000$ and then jumped out of the aircraft with a parachute somewhere in between Portland and Seattle. Even after years of searches and on going FBI investigation, the heister has never been able to get located neither identified and nor the ransom money was recovered, although it is believed he parachuted to an uncertain fate and did not survive his risky jump. But his case has grown up to 60 volumes of case files till today and remains one of the important cases in the Bureau.


Considered to be one of the largest bank heist of history in the world, it took place in 6th August, 2005 as a part of significant planning by a gang of burglers. According to sources, the gang rented a property near to the bank from where they made a tunnel of over 250 feet to the bank’s vault. These burglars used a signboard indicating that the property was a landscaping company and removed massive amounts of dirt and rocks making it look as a part of business to the residents. The tunnel was well built with plastic and wood having its own lighting and air conditioning system. It took them 3 months to dig the whole tunnel, after which finally they entered the bank’s vault, removed 5 containers of 50 real notes of estimated value of 70 million US Dollar or 165 million Brazilian reals. The robbers were even successful in disabling the bank’s internal alarms and sensors. Police arrested 5 men for this heist on 28th September along with 5.4$ million of money. Since then, only around 7$ million money has been recovered but rest of the 63$ million remains at loss.


Occurred on 8th August 1963, at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire, England, the Great Train Heist became popular because of the robbery of 2.3 million pounds in a post office train by 15 crooks led by the gang leader Bruce Reynolds. The robbers used a fake signal light to stop the train and knocked off the train driver with an iron rod but no use of guns were made. They then moved to half mile farther to the train and stole 120 mail bags containing 2.3 million pounds which is equal to 40 million pounds in today’s  time. Due to the fingerprints in the hideout area, 13 of the gang members were caught by the police and imprisoned. But two of the culprits, Ronnie Biggs and Charlie Wilson fled away from the prison. Biggs after eluding from Melbourne to Brazil was tracked down by the cops along with Wilson who was caught after 4 yrs in Canada.


Around world’s 80 % of uncut diamonds are passed through the city of Antwerp, Belgium before getting sold in the market. The city has already been a witness of many big heists but this heist which occurred on the weekend of between 15th to 16th February in 2003, is dubbed as the “Heist of the Century”. It was because large amount of gold, diamonds, and jewellery got lifted from the Antwerp Diamond Centre whose estimated worth was more than 100$ million. The robbers forcedly managed to open 123 boxes out of 160 safe deposits made of steel and with unique key and combination lock.

Leonardo Notarbartolo, 30 years old thief was the gang leader of all the robbers who posed as an Italian diamond merchant and lived in a rented office 3 years earlier prior to the crime near the centre to gain credibility and trust. They inserted fake video tapes into the security cameras to by-pass the vault. Leonardo was soon tracked down and arrested and is serving 10 yrs of imprisonment because of a evidence being left out along with some gang members through their DNA left at the crime scene. In a journal, Leonardo claimed of being a part of insurance fraud attempt by a diamond merchant who hired him for the heist and they actually stole roughly 20$ million. But those 100$ million has disappeared since then and has not been found still.


The heist took place on 12th July 1987 in Knightsbridge, England. A wanted criminal Valerio Viccei along with some more members went to Knightsbridge Deposit Safe Centre and asked for a Safe Deposit Locker. After being accompanied to the vault, they immediately took out their guns and subdued the manager and security guards. Valerio then hung a signboard outside saying that the Safe Deposit Vault is temporarily closed while letting his other gang members inside. They, then broke the safe deposits and stole estimated 60 million pounds (174$ million in todays money). It was not until 1 hour when one of the guard escaped and alerted the police after the robbers left. Because of the fingerprints on the crime spot it pointed towards Viccei, his accomplices were quickly arrested but he fled away. He was then finally caught when he came back to retrieve his prized Ferrari sports car in England and sentenced to 22years of imprisonment.


It is known to be one of the biggest heist in history where two thieves dressed as police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston on 18th March, 1990 after convincing the security guards. But it was just after few minutes, the guards learnt that they were not real policemen after they were tied up and knocked down in the basement in spite of not having weapons. While proceeding to the other parts of museum, they were successful to steal around 12 selected artworks along with few sculptures and historical artefacts whose total worth was 500$ million and even tampered with the security cameras. But since then, neither the 2 thieves nor the artworks have been discovered and case remains a mysterious and unsolved one.


One of the most brazen heists, the Harry Winston heist occurred in 2008 when group of 4 men 3 of whom were dressed as women, broke into an upmarket jewelry store just before the closing time and flew off with diamonds worth 108$ million. According to a source, they took the employees and customers to a corner broke the display cases and filled up the suitcases with diamonds and ran away but without any firings. The stock of Harry Winston store fell down to 9% the next day after the heist and no culprit has been arrested since then due to lack of evidence. But a criminal group of jewelry heists has been under the suspicion of the police named Pink Panther’s.


Believed to be the largest bank heist in history ever, Iraq Central Bank heist was perpetrated by non-other than Saddam Hussein. Nearly 1$ million was stolen from Central Bank of Iraq in March 2003, a day just before coalition forces started bombing Iraq. Hussein sent his son Qusay along with few men to withdraw 920$ million on his behalf with a hand-written note costing the dictator around 1$ billion. But Qusay oversaw the cash withdrawals and boxes of 100$ bills which was being loaded on a truck during a 5 hour operation. But he was soon killed by the US forces and Saddam was found hiding inside the hole of a ground. Approximately 650$ million was found hidden in Saddam Hussein’s house walls by the US troops and the remaining 350$ is considered to be lost.


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