Even though most people dream of pulling a hundred million dollar heist and live happily for the rest of their lives, nobody actually goes through with it. In fact, for most of them robbing a bank and spending the rest of their lives worry free is nothing more than a fleeting though. However, some people decided to put their idea into practice and very few of them managed to get away with it. Well, at least temporarily. Perhaps the most surprising thing associated with the following robberies is the fact that they seem to bear the mark of a professional thief. And, even more surprising, nobody got killed during the robberies. Let’s elaborate.
1. The Central Bank of Iraq
This was by far the simplest way to steal from a bank: one day before the Coalition started bombarding Iraq, Saddam Hussein sent his son with a written hand note to the Central Bank of Iraq to withdraw one billion dollars. Interestingly enough the bank representatives did not suspect a thing, in spite of the fact that loading this large sum of cash took approximately five hours. The very next day war broke out. Furthermore, only 650 million dollars were recuperated by the Americans after Hussein got captured.
2. The Boston Museum
The robbery at the Gardner Museum in Boston will be remembered as the biggest art theft in history, although it happened more than a century ago. Contrary to the museum’s policy, the inexperienced guards allowed two burglars dressed as police officers on the premises. Even though they did not appear to be carrying any sort of weapon whatsoever, they managed to handcuff a guard in the basement and in less than 2 hours took off with 12 valuable pieces of art worth over 300 million dollars along with the museum’s surveillance tapes. The authors of the robbery were never found and currently there is a 5 million dollars ransom for any info regarding the heist.
3. John Goddard mugging
More often than not, mugging a person on the street will not land thieves more than a top-notch phone, credit cards and some cash. If they’re lucky! The last thing a thief would expect to find in a briefcase of a person is over 300 city bonds to the Bank of England Treasury, bills estimated to be worth around one million pounds each. This is precisely what happened to John Goddard, a messenger working for a famous London broker. Fortunately, with the help of the FBI, all but two bonds were recovered, while the low level thieves responsible were arrested and convicted.
4. Dar El Salaam bank
The forth most impressive robbery of all times took place in Baghdad, Iraq four years later after the Saddam Hussein heist. While it was not as simple and efficient, the mystery around this crime stems from the fact that the bank had a quarter billion dollars in US currency in there. Even though the authors are unknown, evidence suggests that the thieves were the guards of the bank who were working closely with the Iraqi militia to avoid detection at security checkpoints.
5. British Bank Of the Middle East
Even if the sum of cash stolen from the British Bank of the Middle East is estimated to be around 100 million dollars in today’s market, the reason why this robbery made it to this top consists of the methods that the thieves employed to get the cash. To summarize, they blasted off the wall of the bank connected to the Catholic Church in the area, opened the vaults with the help of an experienced Corsican locksmith and stole everything they found over the course of two days.
6. Knightsbridge Security Deposit
Wanted for more than 50 armed robberies in Italy, criminal mastermind Valerio Viccei decided to continue his successful trade in the United Kingdom. With the help of an accomplice, Viccei convinced the Knightsbridge Security Deposit manager to let him into vault. After ensuring he will not be disturbed by other customers of the security deposit, he facilitated the access for the rest of the gang and stole numerous deposit boxes that, in today’s economy, are worth a little under 200 million dollars. Since the police officers were alerted one hour after the assault, Viccei and his gang had plenty of time to leave and go into hiding.
7. Schiphol Airport diamond theft
The diamond theft at the Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands is considered by some as a perfect crime because most of the stones stolen were uncut, which not only makes them difficult to evaluate, but also almost impossible to track down. In addition to stealing a large haul filled with uncut diamonds, the burglars seem to have everything planned the operation thoroughly and paid great attention to the details: two weeks prior to the robbery, they assaulted a truck belonging to the airport and left with the uniforms of the employees. Since they could move around easily without raising suspicion at the airport, they knew exactly where to park and managed to leave with the haul of diamonds in broad daylight and surrounded by numerous witnesses.
8. Northern Ireland Bank
What makes this robbery incredible is the way it was carried, an action that deems it as a worthy plot for an action movie. Disguised as police officers, a gang of men infiltrated the homes of two bank officials and took their families hostage. After ensuring that all employees of the bank left home, the officials were forced to let the robbers in, who managed to steal two loaded trucks of cash. In order to cope with the situation the Northern Ireland Bank issued different colored notes and recalled the money out of circulation, making over 10 million pounds useless. Needless to say, while the police believe the burglary was carried by the IRA members, the authors were never found.
9. Banco Central do Brasil
The method utilized in robbing the Central Bank of Brazil is no less impressive: over the course of three months, a group of specialized robbers managed to dig a 255 feet tunnel directly under the vault room of the bank. Once the tunnel was finished, they disabled the alarm systems of the vault room and stole five huge containers of cash over the weekend. Since the cash was not sequentially numbered, it was impossible for the Brazilian authorities to trace them.
10. Antwerp Diamond Center
Since about 80% of the world’s uncut diamonds reach Antwerp, it is easy to understand why this location inspires criminal masterminds. Granted, this area has seen its fair share of robberies over the years, but the one carried out in 2003 was truly remarkable: overcoming more than ten layers of security including the notorious 100 million combination lock, a gang led by Leonardo Notarbartolo stole 100 million dollars worth of gems. This robbery is even more controversial, as the thieves claim they actually stole much less and were only victims of a mass insurance fraud.