Desperate Robbers And Outlandish Jewelry Heists

POSTED BY Heather Johnson, UPDATED ON June 27th, 2022

outlandish jewelry heists image

There’s an old axiom about crime: that many people are driven to it not because they’re necessarily bad people, but because of the desperate nature of their circumstances. Is it true? Maybe; there are certainly plenty of examples of it in the past. In fact, whatever you believe about criminals, it’s not difficult to concede that many of them have turned to a life of crime out of desperation. But sometimes a “desperate” criminal is not one who’s down on his luck…but simply a criminal who wants to commit outlandish crimes such as jewelry heists! Let’s take a look at some of the world’s most famous and outlandish jewelry heists and maybe we can learn a little more about what’s going on in the mind of a criminal – or, perhaps, about what’s not going on up there:


The Millennium Star

the millennium star

The more spectacular the heist, the more of a desperate move it is. Yes, the rewards for stealing one of the world’s largest diamonds can be great, but that means that the risks are that much greater as well. This was the case in 2000 when thieves went after the Millennium Star diamond, a giant diamond owned by none other than international diamond company De Beers.

In fact, the attempted theft of these diamonds almost has an eerie movie-like quality to it; when you read about it, it’s like you’re watching “Ocean’s Eleven”. As it turns out, the thieves did have some planning going for them – they used tear gas and sledgehammers to get through the appropriate areas – but didn’t count on police guards dressed as janitors, who quickly recognized what was going down and moved in to stop the theft before it happened.

Yes, the diamonds the thieves could have stolen are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and would have been a spectacular reward for theft; but the risks turned out to be too great this time.


The Fake Jewelry Heist

fake jewelry heist

Of course, the above story is not so much an example of desperation out of avoiding bad things as it was desperation to steal a good thing. In this case, however, the opposite is true: it was really a crime of desperation. The crime in question was that of two people who wanted to stage a jewelry heist in order to get insurance money for the “stolen items,” even though the items weren’t technically stolen. The two people conspiring with one another to make this happen were convinced in 2011 after it was found that their claims of a real robbery were quite dubious indeed.

Although criminals are desperate in different ways  – some to get money when they need it while others are just desperate for a thrill – there are lots of examples of desperate criminals getting caught. It just goes to show that crimes motivated by desperation don’t pay the way the criminals intend them to, no matter how shiny the diamonds or how expensive the designer jewelry in question may be.

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