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11 Unsolved Crimes That Will Blow Your Mind

We all know crime doesn't pay — but what happens if the criminal gets away? Tune in to True Detective on Sky Atlantic HD, Saturdays at 9 pm.

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1. The Scotland Yard Crime Scene / Via

Though Jack The Ripper went on to become Victorian London's most famous monster, the lesser-known murder known as The Whitehall Mystery proves to be just as chilling.

In October 1888, workers discovered a woman's torso in a sealed underground vault on the site of Scotland Yard. Over the following weeks further discoveries were made along the Thames: a leg and an arm belonging to the same person.

Though police discounted the idea that this was the work of Jack The Ripper, neither the victim nor her killer were ever identified.

Of course, London's police headquarters being built on an unsolved crime scene still raises the odd eyebrow.

2. The Thieves of Baghdad

Thaier Al-Sudani / Reuters

Since the 2003 invasion Iraq has depended on a cash economy, making the country vulnerable to bank robberies.

The daddy of them all was discovered on the morning of July 11th, 2007 when workers at the Dar Es Salaam Bank in Baghdad arrived at work to find their three man night security team missing - along with £146 million ($292 million) in US dollars.

Neither the security team nor the money were never found, making this one of the biggest unsolved robberies of all time.

3. The Sky High Heist

Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

One of America's most intriguing crimes took place in the skies above the country. On November 21st 1971, a well-dressed man going by the name Dan Cooper hijacked a flight from Portland to Seattle. Cooper courteously told flight crew he had a bomb, and demanded $200,000 and four parachutes.

After the other passengers were traded for his ransom on the tarmac at Seattle, Cooper told the pilot to take off - before parachuting from the plane with his loot, never to be seen again.

Though a portion of notes from the payoff was later found, the polite, skydiving hijacker's true identity has never been discovered.

4. A (Literal) Double Cross

Peter Stackpole / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Here's one worthy of Hollywood treasure hunters: the Tucker Cross, named after the diver who discovered it on the wreck of a Spanish galleon in 1955, was made from gold and inlaid with enormous emeralds and was pretty much priceless.

When the cross was moved to a museum by the Bermudan Government to be viewed by the Queen on a visit in 1975, it was discovered to have been switched with a cheap plastic replica.

The original has never been recovered, with experts speculating it was melted down and stripped of its gems for sale on the black market.

5. The Zodiac Killer


A masked gunman known as The Zodiac Killer terrorised Northern California in the 1960s, killing five people and injuring two, but has never been identified.

The killer's penchant for courting the press via coded messages, as well as their threats to kill at random, both terrorised and sensationalised the media.

The story went on to inspire pop culture as the basis for the villain in cop movie Dirty Harry and the story of the investigation, 2007's Zodiac.

6. The Art Of Crime

Rembrandt van Rijn / The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee / Via

As the people of Boston hit the hay after a typically loud 'n' proud St. Patrick's Day in 1990, two men dressed as police officers entered the city's elegant Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The pair threatened and tied up the museum's overwhelmed guards and set to work committing the largest property theft in history.

Working methodically for over an hour, they stole paintings by masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet with a total value of £350 million ($500 million).

The art and the culprits were never seen again - and the hunt is still on.

7. Breaking The Bank

PETER MUHLY/ AFP / Getty Images

On December 20th 2004, just as the Northern Bank in Belfast was preparing to top up cash machines across the city ahead of Christmas, a highly organised team of thieves carried out what was at the time the biggest bank robbery of all time.

Holding bank workers' families at gunpoint, they gained access to the bank after closing time and made off with £26.5 million in cash.

Coming at a critical juncture in Northern Ireland's peace process, the raid had far-reaching political consequences, but remains unsolved.

Though charges of money laundering have been brought against one man, the culprits remain unknown.

8. The Vatican Kidnapping


Vatican resident Emanuela Orlandi disappeared on June 22nd 1983, last seen on her way home from flute practice in Rome.

Though Orlandi has never been found, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican clerk's disappearance marked the beginning of a long chain of theories, false leads and accusations that implicated organised crime, secret societies, intelligence agencies and the Vatican itself in her disappearance.

Though the Italian media continues to report on Emanuela almost weekly, it seems her fate may never be known.

9. The Monster's Ball

Sankei Archive / Getty Images

Starting in 1980, an unknown person or group waged a violent campaign to extort Glico and Morinaga, two of Japan's most-loved confectionary companies.

The group, who called themselves The Monster With 21 Faces, went as far as kidnapping Glico's CEO, burning cars and claiming to have poisoned sweets in shops, causing huge losses for both businesses.

After 17 months of intimidation, the group announced the end of its campaign when a besieged police official took his own life.

Their goodbye note ended by saying 'It's fun to lead a bad man's life' - and to this day it's unknown who The Monster With 21 Faces really was.

10. The Servant Girl Annihilator


Between 1884 - 85, Austin, Texas was rocked by a series of brutal murders, leaving 16 people dead. The killer, nicknamed the Servant Girl Annihilator still sounds like the stuff of horror movies: eyewitnesses variously claimed the killer wore a mask or a dress, and some thought the crimes were part of voodoo rituals.

The case remains unsolved.



Just before Christmas 2008, four men dressed as women talked their way into the famous Harry Winston jewellery store in Paris just before closing time.

As shoppers scurried past the door, they got to work.

Brandishing a gun and hand grenade, they made off with £65 million of jewels in just 15 minutes.

Their flair and professionalism (they even knew some of the shop assistants’ home addresses) led police to believe the raid was carried out by a group nicknamed The Pink Panthers, a shady fraternity responsible for enormous robberies and prison-breaks all over the world.

Though there have been occasional victories in capturing the Panthers and recovering some of the jewels stolen in the Winston heist, the culprits and the bulk of their loot have disappeared with catlike ease.

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