The Greatest Heists in History

Posted on August 16, 2021

Are you fond of heist stories and films?

There's a reason behind all those top-rated Hollywood heists movies. It's not beyond us to fantasize about pulling off one and getting away with it. Watching cunning and bold protagonists gives us the adrenaline rush.

Technology nowadays is more advanced than ever. The likelihood of getting away with a major heist is low. With high-definition cameras everywhere, it won't take authorities long to identify those involved.

Here in Canada, the minimum penalty for robbery is four years, while the max a person can get is life. Heists stories are mesmerizing and exciting, but the consequences are real. Here's a list of some of the greatest heists in history.

They're sure to pique your interest. Read on to discover more.

1. D.B Cooper's Heist

D.B Cooper, otherwise known as Dan Cooper, is another infamous heist criminal. In 1971, he hijacked an airplane that departed from Oregon bound to Washington. He bought a one-way ticket for Flight #305 and remained one of the FBI's greatest mysteries.

D.B Cooper came to Northwest Orient Airlines in Portland dressed in only a black and white suit and tie. The man appeared in his late 40's and ordered a soda and bourbon as he waited for his flight. A few minutes after 3 pm that day, he handed a stewardess a note.

This note indicated that he had a bomb in his briefcase, along with an order for her to sit with him. The stewardess followed what he told her and soon handed another note to the pilot of the plane. In exchange for the passengers' lives, D.B Cooper got four parachutes and $200,000.

Cooper kept some of the passengers as leverage to set a new course for Mexico. At 8 pm that day, Cooper jumped parachuted out of the back of the plane, somewhere between Reno and Seattle. The plane and its passengers were safe, but what happened to Cooper after remains a mystery.

The FBI investigated this in-flight crime for years and later named it NORJAK. During the 5th anniversary of NORJAK, the FBI had interviewed over 800 suspects.

2. The Banco Central Heist

Known as the biggest bank robbery in Brazil is the Banco Central Burglary. The modus operandi of the perpetrators was similar to the Baker Street Robbery. They dug their way from a landscaping shop nearby into the vault room.

In August 2005, bank robbers took over R$164 million from locked storage containers and the vault. Converted to the 2005 exchange rate in USD, the sum amounted to about $71 million. Much to the surprise of authorities, they managed to evade the bank's alarm system.

This means that their crime was not detected until the bank reopened after the weekend. Unfortunately, most of the money and valuables stolen that day were not insured. To this day, the police could only recover less than 10% of the stolen value.

3. Société Générale Heist

The Société Générale is one of the biggest bank robberies in the history of France. To this day, the events that happened on July 19, 1976, remain a mystery. The Great Bank Robbery of La Société Générale started when the bank started having technical issues.

People could not withdraw money from the bank, and the bank couldn't open the doors to the vault. After hours of trying to break through the steel vault, they found it was more than a technical issue.

The jackhammers called the police, and within 15 minutes, all important figures in Nice came to the venue. The robbers had already gone, along with jewels and gold ingots. The bank had also lost $10 million in cash that day.

New York Times had dubbed the robbery on Société Générale as the heist of the century. Société Générale's vault mechanisms were not at all faulty. When inspected, authorities discovered that the robbers welded the vault shut from inside.

Upon further investigation, they also found that the robbers had dug a tunnel. In this tunnel, they found empty food packaging, a portable stove, and dirty dishes. The robbers, whoever they were, had worked on digging the tunnel for almost the entire weekend.

The robbers had also scrawled on the walls of their tunnel. The message read, "Without Weapons, Without Violence, Without Hate."

A few months later, on October 28th, the police found and arrested Albert Spaggiari. This once humble photographer was stubborn at first. However, he finally agreed to cooperate when the police threatened to involve his wife.

On the day of his trial, Spaggiari promised to give the names of his cohorts. He gave the judge a fake document littered with coded symbols. When asked for an explanation, Spaggiari jumped out the window and escaped with a getaway car.

4. Nokas Bank Robbery

The NOKAS bank robbery is one of the biggest heists that happened in Norway. On April 5, 2004, several armed men came to raid the Norsk Kontantservice AS. The police already had already received a warning that a raid would happen that day.

However, the police were unable to protect NOKAS. Most of the staff were gone because Norway was celebrating Easter, a national holiday.

The robbers had worn bulletproof vests, gloves, ski masks, helmets, and overalls. They also had Kalashnikov automatic rifles, AG3s, and MP5s. The robbers were able to delay response from the police while they raided the NOKAS depot.

The original plan was to complete the raid within 8 minutes. However, the robbers found that the bank had bulletproof glass. They attempted to break the window, first with a sledgehammer then with a battering ram.

NOKAS employees took this as an opportunity to escape. During this time, the robbers were able to break through the first floor of NOKAS. Though the police soon arrived, the robbers were able to acquire over 57.4 million kroner.

5. Antwerp Diamond Heist

The diamond heist that happened in 2003 in Antwerp is one of the largest in Belgium. This heist is one of the greatest in history because Antwerp is the biggest diamond capital in the world. Over 80% of the world's diamonds go through Antwerp first.

In only one night, robbers emptied up to 123 of the 160 safety diamond deposit boxes. The robbers were unable to carry that many diamonds. Employees found several loose diamonds around the vault.

Experts later caught the suspects; a gang called the School of Turin. The police traced the DNA of one of the thieves who left his DNA on a sandwich. This suspect worked as a diamond merchant for a few years.

The police were able to arrest all members of the School of Turin. However, over $100 million worth of diamonds and other precious stones remain unfound.

6. Baker Street Robbery

Starting small but sweet with the Baker Street robbery. This iconic heist happened in 1971 at Lloyds Bank in London. The real value of the stolen goods is still unknown.

Authorities believe that the stolen goods amounted to at least £500,000 or £5m in today's money. There was only one person convicted from the Baker Street Robbery. However, the complete details of those involved have never been completely uncovered.

It's said that the criminals dug a tunnel from a shop two stores away to get into the bank's vault floor. To this date, robbery is one of the most infamous crimes in the United Kingdom. It has also inspired The Bank Job, a film released in 2008.

Starring Jason Statham as Terry Leather, the film follows Terry as he tries to settle in London. Struggling to provide for his family, he decides to dip into a heist with his ex-girlfriend. The bank heist turns into something more than Terry bargained for.

7. The Maple Syrup Heist

When you think of high-profile heists, you may think about cash, diamonds, or even gold. The last thing you'd expect involves maple syrup. While tapping maple syrup is a legitimate Canadian side hustle, stealing it isn’t.

$18.7 million worth of maple syrup revenue gone - and it took authorities a year to expose. This heist, dubbed as the most Canadian heist ever, happened in 2011-2012. The perpetrators siphoned maple syrup from 600-pound barrels from a Quebec storage facility.

Inspections in the facility occur only once a year, so they replaced all the maple syrup with water. This heist made the most of the time given by stealing a fortune-worth of maple syrup. Despite this headstart, in 2017, the perpetrators received their sentence from the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Even the Greatest Heists in History Won't Help Your Finances

Some of the greatest heists range from train robberies to cyber-hacking to even grand theft Maple Syrup. One thing is certain. Despite the excitement and legend, very rarely do they succeed outside of the movies.

Don't bank on robbing the bank to secure your financial future. From health to banking and life insurance, the experts at Insurdinary have you covered.

Don't hesitate to get a quote with us at Insurdinary today to plan a future that doesn't involve grand larceny.

Next Post:
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram