The Most Incredible Heists Of The Last Century

Some of the greatest heists in history are still unsolved. How did the criminals do it? Could it be possible they used magic? See the most magical of all bank heists in Now You See Me, in theaters May 31.

1. Security Pacific National Bank, 1978

After using a sophisticated code to break into the telephone system of the Security Pacific National Bank, Stanley Mark Rifkin was able to wire over $10 million dollars into foreign accounts. He then used that money to buy hundreds of karats worth of diamonds to sell back in the U.S.

2. The Bank of Ireland Heist, 2009

William Murphy / Via Flickr: infomatique

Through a complicated plot involving masked bandits and kidnapping, several perpetrators were able to steal millions of dollars worth of cash. Though the robbers were eventually arrested, most of the money has remained untraceable and it is believed the heist was an inside job.

3. The Brink’s-MAT Warehouse Robbery, 1983

Another group job, the Brink’s-MAT robbery involved six people who raided the Brink’s warehouse located at London’s Heathrow Airport. Instead of stealing 3 million pounds as they had originally planned on stealing, they ended up pilfering millions in gold bars, diamonds and cash, earning the heist the title of “crime of the century” at the time.

4. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft, 1990

In a crime as daring as any movie plot, two thieves dressed as policemen walked into this Boston museum, subdued the security guards on duty and had their way with millions of dollars worth of art. The pair was so clever they were not identified by the FBI until some 13 years later. Find out more in this video.

5. The Fortaleza Banco Central Heist, 2005

This Brazilian heist has been one of the most confonding to investigators. It is believed that some 25 people were involved in the heist in which robbers dug a hole into the bottom of the bank’s vault, but only eight have ever been arrested. The mastermind of the entire operation was reportedly killed by kidnappers several years ago, and the mystery of how the heist was performed might have been buried with him.

6. The Dunbar Armored Robbery, 1997

Stanislav Kozlovskiy / Via commons.wikimedia.org

When it’s too good to be true, it might be an inside job. This series of robberies was executed by a safety inspector at Dunbar who was able to carefully analyze the facility and cleverly make away with $18.9 million in cash, with a little help from his friends, of course.

7. The Great Train Robbery, 1963

Les Chatfield / Via Flickr: elsie

The facts of the great train robbery of 1963 read more like fiction than fact. For one, most of the money was never recovered, and three of the perpetrators were never found. Even stranger, two men who were convicted of the robbery successfully escaped. How did they pull it off?

8. The Antwerp Diamond Heist, 2003

On a weekend in February 2003, 100 million euros in diamond gold in jewelry were stolen from a protected vault two floors underground and behind 10 layers of security. How did they do it? Watch the video to find out some interesting speculations.

9. The Kent Securitas Depot Heist, 2006

Samulili / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Known as the biggest cash robbery in the UK, the Kent Securitas robbery closely followed the model of the previous Bank of Ireland robbery. Robbers reportedly kidnapped the bank’s manager after faking a traffic stop near his home and held his family hostage to force him and the bank’s staff to hand over the money.

10. The Reichsbank Robbery, 1945

German Federal Archives / Via en.wikipedia.org

The Reichsbank robbery refers to the movement of gold, money and jewelry from Berlin to the Alps in 1945. This might seem innocuous in and of itself, but none of those goods were ever recovered, leading to widespread speculation of where it all might’ve ended up over the last several decades. Gold doesn’t vanish in thin air, does it? Find out some theories on what might have happened in this video.

11. The Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery, 1987

One of the biggest robberies of the century was also amazing in its simplicity. A pair of bandits entered the security deposit center, requesting to rent a deposit box. Once inside, they restrained the guards and put up a sign on the door indicating that the center was closed for renovations. In the following moments, they were able to let in accomplices who aided them in breaking open countless safe deposit boxes.

12. The Harry Winston Heist, 2008

Disguises and slight of hand characterize this amazing $100 million diamond heist in which took place in one of the most luxurious districts in Paris. But that’s not where the mystery ends. Watch the video for a theory of how they might’ve done it.

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