The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The world of heists and robberies is intriguing; historically, some involving elaborate plots, while others were executed with simple plans. Some robberies involved a group of people, while others involved one or two people. There were even plots by leaders whom hired unnamed men to do their dirty work for them in an attempt to not look as if they were associated.
Did you know for example, that before his death, Saddam Hussein and his cohorts stole $1 BILLION from an Iraqi Bank? These heists were plotted against museums, banks, diamond stores, and even airports. The results were the same throughout; huge hauls of money, diamonds, and jewels for the criminals for however long it lasted until ultimate arrests, though some remain unsolved to this day!
There is something about the rush of stealing and theft of items. While many people would never dream of a heist, there are plenty of others who have made plotting, stealing, and thievery their livelihoods and careers. The best of the best may take days, months, or even years to plan their heists, sometimes even being hired for companies authentically, passing background checks, learning the ins and outs of the companies, the daily operations, and possibly even feeling out their co-workers who may be able to help them with their heist.
The majority are eventually caught and the penalties are harsh, usually leading to a life in jail. The desire for wealth and riches for some far outweighs the consequences, especially for those who get away with it. For those that end up getting away with it, however, they often continue their life of crime, regardless of whether they have stolen enough to be set for life or not.
This infographic discovers 10 of the world’s most expensive heists.
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World’s Most Expensive Heists
The world of heists and robberies is intriguing; historically, some involve elaborate plots, but others were executed very simply. The results were the same throughout; huge hauls of money, diamonds, and jewels for the criminals for however long it lasted until ultimate arrests… though some remain unsolved!
10. Harry Winston
Location: Paris, France
Heist: $108 million dollars worth of jewelry.
- 4 Robbers, 3 dressed in women’s clothes
- No shots fired
- In 2011, jewels valued at $25 million were found hidden in a Paris rain sewer at a home of one of the nine people charged with the heist
9. Antwerp Diamond Centre
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Heist: $100 million dollars worth of loose diamonds, gold, and other jewelry.
- The haul was so massive that the thieves could not carry all of it out of the vault.
- Escaped with 123 deposit boxes.
- Italian criminal, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was convicted of orchestrating the height, serving 10 years in prison.
- The haul he and his accomplishes stole has never been found.
8. United California Bank Robbery
Location: Laguna Niguel, California, U.S.A
Heist: Over $30 million dollars. (Equal to $100 million in dollars today.)
- A group of seven men broke into the bank and stole everything from the safe deposit vault.
- Group leader, Amil Dinsio and the group members were caught by the F.B.I., along with most of the money.
7. Schiphol Airport
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Heist: Over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds.
- Two men dressed as KLM workers entered the cargo terminal of Schiphol Airport in a stolen KLM car.
- Intercepted a truck carrying the diamonds and drove away.
- NO arrested but suspected ‘inside job’.
6. British Bank of the Middle East
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Heist: Over $100 million in stocks, currency, jewels, and gold.
- Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization in alliance with Lebanon’s Christian Phalang broke into the bank by blasting a hole in a near-by building.
- Using the help of a locksmith, they managed to open the vault door where they went on to remove its contents for over two days.
- A few of the stocks were returned back to their owners.
5. Knightsbridge Security Deposit
Location: Knightsbridge, London, U.K.
Heist: Over $174 million in cash, jewels, and silver.
- The robbery was led by Valerio Viccei.
- They broke open many of the safe deposit boxes.
- He had inside help for the raid in th eform of the managing director of the centre.
- Some of the haul was recovered.
4. Baghdad Bank
Location: Sa’adun district, Baghdad city, Iraq
Heist: $282 million in American currency
- It was believed that the three guards watching the loot had made off with the haul.
- Nobody has been brought to justice for this crime and no money has been recovered.
3. Boston Museum
Location: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, U.S.A.
Heist: Art worth approximately $300 million
- Two men dressed as police officers convinced two museum security guards that they were responding to an emergency call.
- Over the next 81 minutes, they stole 12 pieces of art.
- Case remains unresolved though in 2013, the FBI indicated they knew who the perpetrators were.
2. City Bonds
Location: Central London, U.K.
Heist: $292 million of Bearer Bonds (as good as cash)
- Keith Cheeseman received a six-and-a-half-year jail sentence for his part in the robbery.
- Crime was conducted with just a knife.
- All the bonds were found except for 2 thanks to an informant.
1. Central Bank of Iraq
Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Heist: $1 billion of US currenty in the form of 100 dollar bills in boxes
- Former dictator Saddam Hussein sent his son Qusay to make a withdrawal from the bank on behalf of a handwritten note.
- Entire operation took about five-hours. However, he was later killed by U.S. troops.
- $350 million dollars was never recovered and is still considered lost to this day.