This content discusses the 10 most memorable heists in modern history. The list includes famous heists such as The Great Train Robbery of 1963 in the UK, The Lufthansa Heist in New York City in 1978, and The Banco Central Heist in Brazil in 2005. Other notable heists discussed include The Hatton Garden Heist in London in 2015, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist in Boston in 1990, and The Antwerp Diamond Heist in Belgium in 2003. The content also highlights The Dunbar Armored Robbery in Los Angeles in 1997, which is considered one of the largest cash heists in US history.
10 Most Memorable Heists in Modern History
1. The Great Train Robbery of 1963
The Great Train Robbery is undoubtedly one of the most infamous heists in modern history. It occurred on August 8, 1963, when a gang of 15 robbers targeted a Royal Mail train traveling between Glasgow and London, in the UK. The gang managed to make off with £2.6 million (equivalent to tens of millions of pounds today) worth of cash. This heist captured the public’s imagination and became a significant event in British criminal history.
2. The Lufthansa Heist
The Lufthansa Heist was a meticulously planned robbery that took place on December 11, 1978, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Organized by notorious mobster James Burke, also known as “Jimmy the Gent,” the heist targeted the Lufthansa cargo building. The thieves managed to steal $5 million in cash and $875,000 in jewelry, making it one of the largest cash thefts in American history at the time.
3. The Banco Central Heist
In 2005, the Brazilian city of Fortaleza witnessed one of the most audacious heists ever recorded. The Banco Central Heist involved a group of criminals tunneling into the Banco Central’s strong room from a rented house. The gang spent three months digging a tunnel that stretched more than 78 yards. The heist resulted in the theft of approximately $70 million, making it one of the largest cash robberies in history.
4. The Hatton Garden Heist
The Hatton Garden Heist occurred over the Easter weekend in 2015 and targeted the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in London. A group of elderly burglars, known as “the Bad Grandpas,” broke into the vault and stole an estimated £14 million worth of jewelry, cash, and other valuables. The heist garnered significant media attention due to the advanced age of the perpetrators and the precise planning involved.
5. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist
Considered the largest art theft in history, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist took place in March 1990 in Boston. Two men disguised as police officers convinced the museum’s security guards to let them in, claiming to be responding to a disturbance call. The thieves then subdued the guards and stole 13 works of art, including paintings by renowned artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas, valued at over $500 million.
6. The Securitas Depot Heist
In February 2006, the small town of Tonbridge in the UK witnessed one of the most significant cash robberies in British history. The Securitas Depot Heist involved a gang of armed men who kidnapped the depot manager and his family, forcing him to deactivate the security systems. They then stole approximately £53 million in cash from the depot. It remains one of the most audacious and largest cash robberies recorded.
7. The Antwerp Diamond Heist
Considered one of the most daring heists, the Antwerp Diamond Heist took place in February 2003 in Antwerp, Belgium. A group of Italian thieves stole an estimated $100 million worth of diamonds, gold, and other precious stones from Antwerp’s Diamond District. The heist was meticulously planned, with the thieves gaining access to the vault by renting an office space in the building and digging their way in from the neighboring basement.
8. The Banco Central Burglary
In August 2005, a group of burglars successfully carried out one of the largest heists in Brazilian history. Taking inspiration from the more famous Banco Central Heist, they rented a property near the central bank in Fortaleza, Brazil. Over a weekend, they dug a sophisticated tunnel, walked into the bank’s vault, and stole approximately $69.8 million. Unfortunately for the perpetrators, most of the gang was captured and tried within a few months.
9. The Carlton Hotel Heist
The Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France, became the stage for a spectacular heist in July 2013. Armed robbers, some wearing masks and others posing as hotel guests, stormed the hotel and managed to steal an estimated $136 million worth of jewelry and watches from the display cases. Despite the heavy security present, the thieves pulled off the heist in a matter of minutes and made their escape before authorities could respond.
10. The Dunbar Armored Robbery
The Dunbar Armored Robbery is one of the largest cash heists in U.S. history. It occurred on September 12, 1997, when a former employee of Dunbar Armored, an armored truck company, orchestrated an inside job. A total of $18.9 million was stolen from the company’s cash depot in Los Angeles. What made this heist particularly audacious was the level of planning and the use of security codes and company keys by the perpetrator, who meticulously disabled security systems to commit the theft.