There have been several robberies throughout history that can even amaze a Hollywood crime genre fan to the core due to their sheer amount of boldness and strategy. Here today we have compiled a list of the most intriguing robberies ever attempted to highlight some really interesting ones:
10. Claude Du Val Robberies
A Frenchmen, Claude Du Val became one of the most famous highwaymen in England during his time, he was written about extensively and was the talk of the town in numerous places. What set Claude apart from other highwaymen in that era was his gentlemanly demeanor and his proper clothing. He was always impeccably groomed; he was often seen wearing attire that was a trademark of England’s higher society. It is also recorded that he did not resort to violence when he carried out his robberies.
According to sources, Claude was very popular with women, with many wooed by his charm and wit. After he was captured and before his eventful execution, it is said that scores of women protested against his incarceration and worked toward him being issued a pardon.
Probably one of the most intriguing stories of his robberies was told by none other than William Pope, this was released after his execution. It is said that once Claude was robbing a local coach, the coach belonged to a nobleman and a wife. The lady, determined to seem scared took out a flageolet and started playing. When Claude saw this, he took out his own flageolet and began dancing with the woman in question. After they were done, Claude Du Val asked the nobleman for four hundred pounds because according to Claude, he had failed to pay for the musical performance.
9. Mona Lisa Robbery
The priceless masterpiece of Leonardo Da Vinci has on many occasions been stolen, but few robberies of the famous painting compare to the one pulled off by Vincenzo Peruggia.
Peruggia was an employee at the famous Louvre in Paris, one night he stationed himself in one of the closets and spent the night there. The next day, Peruggia emerged from his hiding place and walked out with the Mona Lisa. What is intriguing about the ordeal is that he pulled off the robbery without much forethought or meticulous planning.
It is said that he simply waltzed out of the Louvre carrying the painting, an investigation into the matter revealed that the guards appointed to watch the famous painting, were on a water break. Peruggia very easily cleared the guard’s station and simply exited the Louvre through the front door; he managed to pull all this off without arising suspicion. France was in turmoil after the Mona Lisa was stolen, with many conspiracy theories arising. One of the most interesting ones was the allegation that Pablo Picasso was the one behind the theft of Da Vinci’s masterpiece.
However, many years later Peruggia offered to return the painting to a local art dealer in the city of Florence. He demanded compensation for his actions, but understandably he was turned in to the authorities. Strangely enough, he was treated as a hero by the people of Italy, spending less than a year in jail. After it was paraded in different towns in Italy, the painting was returned to the famous Louvre in Paris, France.
8. Banco Itaú Burglary
In August 2011, twelve men disguised as furnishing workers entered one of the biggest banks in Brazil. The Banco Central Bank was at the time being renovated on different levels, and the group of twelve men took advantage of this by posing as laborers.
The guards, who were already warned of furnishing workers coming to the Bank at night, had little reason to check up on the men. Hence, in the next twelve hours without shooting a single bullet, the twelve men looted the many safety deposit boxes of the Banks. These strongboxes were reported to be owned by 120 of the most influential business moguls in the country.
With a few men stationed outside to monitor the situation in case the burglars had to escape, the Heist was carried out methodically all night. The next day, the twelve men retreated with about a hundred million dollars in stolen goods, this included jewelry, vintage watches, and gold bars (among other things).
However, what makes this matter even more jaw-dropping is that no official investigation was started into this matter immediately. The fact that police only started investigating a week adds fuel to the suspicion that this heist was an inside job.
It is also suspected that the mastermind behind the Banco Itau robbery and the Banco Central burglary at Fortaleza (one of the largest robberies in the world) might be the same.
7. The Beach Thefts
Don’t let the title fool you, the beach thefts don’t involve someone stealing a beach ball, or nicking some sun cream. The beach thefts involve thieves stealing containers worth of sand from the beach, seem unbelievable? It actually happened in Jamaica.
The illegal trade of sand is a profitable trade in Jamaica, with the market for the supply of sand booming. But the robbery that was carried out in 2008 is wholly unique; this is due to the sheer amount of sand that was stolen from the beach. A group of robbers, who were never caught even though the police carried out a thorough investigation, fled with 500 lorry loads of sand.
The trade is incredibly profitable because construction uses large amounts of sand; to add to this a hotel with a Beach nearby is considered a tourist hub. So one can only imagine the kind of profits that were amassed by the bandits, after fleeing with Lorries full of sand.
Things got so grave after the sand robberies, that opposition parties blamed the government for covering up the thefts. The matter of the Beach sand thefts is still a mystery to this day.
6. Gardner Museum Art Thefts
The Gardner museum thefts are popular for their sheer simplicity, the stolen artwork to this day has not been recovered. In 1990, a group of men posed as Boston Police officers entered the premises of the Museum, managing to convince a guard that they were actual police officers.
While in the Gardner Museum, they tricked the guard by telling him that they had a warrant for his arrest. The men told him to bring another security personnel who would watch over the security desk in their place, and the guard complied. The group of men then tied the two guards to pipes situated in the basement of the museum, their legs were tied together and duct tape was put on their mouths. The two security officials were placed forty feet apart, and to think all of this could have been avoided if the guard on duty would have just followed protocol.
Thirteen pieces of art were stolen by a group of men, including Vermeer’s The Concert. The next morning a security officer discovered the two tied-up guards, the three then notified the police but by that time the thieves had already escaped into the night.
5. Craigslist Bank Robbery
In the year 2008 a man from the small town of Monroe, Wash pulled the most unique robbery in recent times. The man, according to eyewitness reports was wearing along with a blue full-sleeved T-Shirt, sunglasses, and a light blue baseball cap. He robbed an armored truck parked outside the branch of the Bank of America.
He first sprayed the van driver with pepper spray, stole the bag of money from his hand, and fled the scene. The van driver received medical attention at the scene once the police arrived two minutes later, but their efforts proved futile as they were unable to catch the thief. It is reported that he escaped by jumping into a nearby creek while using an inner tube, his accomplices were waiting on the other end with a motor vehicle, and the group then managed to escape.
What makes this robbery so strange is that the man posted an ad on craigslist to hire road maintenance workers. At $28.50 dollars an hour, they were told to dress in yellow jumpsuits, and blue shirts with surgical masks covering their faces. Furthermore, they were told to gather near the branch of the Bank of America. Unbeknownst to them, they were accomplices in a robbery, and while the police were questioning them the real robber managed to escape. The workers have used an ingenious ploy in order to create a diversion while the real robber managed to escape.
4. Twin Jewel Thieves
In what is known as the closest to the perfect crime ever committed, a group of three men broke into a German luxury departmental store. According to security camera footage, they broke into the store by climbing the store’s main ground hall.
Once inside, they broke the cabinets and fled with expensive jewelry. It is estimated that they escaped with 5 million dollars worth of goods. However, the twist in the story comes when the men left behind a single glove at the crime scene. The police scanned the glove for DNA, but what transpired baffled everyone involved.
The DNA matched not one but two people; they were twin brothers who had the fortune of being among the rare people who had a near-identical DNA. The twin brothers, Hassan, and Abbas (their last names were not revealed due to German Law) managed to locate a loophole in the German legal system. It is law in Germany that individuals would be trialed separately for a crime that they commit.
Because the two had near-identical DNA, it was impossible to differentiate them, in simpler terms they were considered one person under the Law. Due to this loop whole, the two suspected robbers walked scot-free. The third person of the group is yet to be found, and so is the loot.
3. The Northern Bank Robbery
In the year 2004, a group of men pulled a high stake robbery in the Northern Bank situated in Belfast, Ireland. According to reports, the thieves managed to successfully get away with 50 million pounds in cash. The provisional IRA was the main suspect early on in the investigation, but they immediately denied any wrongdoing on their part.
A group of armed men broke into the house of the bankers working in the institution, instead of holding up the bank first; they threatened the life of two bank executives. The armed robbers then proceeded to kidnap the relatives of the Bank’s employees and blackmailed the executives.
One night the bankers stayed after closing time and allowed the robbers to steal from the bank, under the threat of blackmail the bankers complied with every wish of the assailants. The group of men emptied the bank, loading the money on vans and fleeing, the relatives of the bankers were released after the robbery.
2. The Brinks Robbery
In the year 1950, a group of men emerged from the Brinks building in Boston, cradling millions of dollars of cash. The robbery had the largest take in the history of the United States; the fact that very minor clues were left behind has led many to brand it as the “Crime of the Century”.
A group of eleven men entered the famous Brinks building wearing attire that was similar to the uniform at Brinks. It consisted of Navy pea coats and chauffeur caps, Halloween masks, rubber gloves, and shoes. The shoes were specifically designed to make minimal noise while on the premises of the Brinks building.
The crew had copied keys with which they entered the building, bounding and gagging five Brinks employees; they took their time in collecting their loot. The robbers escaped from the building, counting their loot and stealing guns from the tied-up workers. They then worked on establishing their alibis and promised not to touch the stolen money for at least six years.
1. Dan DB Cooper
DB Cooper is the name given to the man who is part of the only unsolved case in aviation history. The story starts when Cooper boarded a flight from Portland that would take him to the city of Seattle. The suspect known as DB Cooper has been extensively investigated by the FBI for years now, but to no avail. He is known by the name of Dan Cooper; because that is the alias he used in order to purchase airline tickets.
Cooper boarded the flight in 1971, it is said that he ordered a bourbon, cigarette, and soda from the flight attendant. He passed a note to the same attendant, at first she discarded the note, believing that Cooper was just another businessman looking for companionship. However, when Cooper spotted this he leaned in closer and whispered to the attendant:
“Madam you may want to look at that note, I have a bomb”.
He demanded 200,000 dollars in cash and four parachutes, after alerting the pilot the airplane had to make a shortstop. During the period, the rest of the passengers were told that the delay was due to a slight mechanical failure. Furthermore, during the stop, Cooper requested that he buy food for the entire crew on the airplane.
His ransom money was paid and consequently, he jumped out of the airplane after this point little is known of what happened with DB Cooper. Years of investigations by the FBI have yielded very little; the closest link that they have been able to establish is a sum of money that was washed up on a nearby island.
Feel free to share some more intriguing attempted robberies in the comments section below!