The holy grail of criminals is probably to pull off the heist of the century, the perfect robbery during which you dig deep and never get caught. If Hollywood can make you dream with lots of films that deal with the subject, there are also real criminals who have achieved the impossible, and that’s what we’re going to talk about right away.
1. The 300 million yen heist
This case which took place in 1968 in Tokyo remains today one of the most important in Japan and above all a crime which has remained unsolved to this day. A car carrying almost 300 million yen (2,230,000 euros) with four employees on board is stopped by a policeman on a motorbike who tells them that he has just been told that a bomb was in the vehicle. The passengers get out leaving the policeman to inspect the car as smoke and flames come out from underneath. The four employees then move away and the policeman gets on board before fleeing with the car and the money.
The fake police officer had left several objects at the scene of the crime in order to cover the tracks and had himself thrown a smoke bomb under the vehicle during his inspection to keep the employees away. A master stroke given that the thief then changed vehicles before disappearing into the wild with the dough, never to be found.
2. The Antwerp Diamond Heist
In 2003, the diamond capital of the world was the scene of a heist amounting to more than 100 million dollars. The culprits are an Italian gang known as the “School of Turin” who managed to enter the basements of the “Diamond Center” despite hyper-sophisticated security systems (lasers, impossible-to-decode combination boxes, temperature sensors) and looted more than 120 chests out of the 160 present.
The job was so clean that it wasn’t until the next day that the crime was discovered. We arrested a man who would be the mastermind of the operation but this one never swung the location of the diamonds or the names of his accomplices, a real truth.
3. Henry Avery and the greatest heist in the history of piracy
Considered one of the most famous pirates and a huge puff in his time, Henry Avery is today most famous for pulling off the biggest heist of his time by taking the Indian ship Ganj-i-Sawai, whose riches represent the largest treasure ever looted at the time.
Mountains of gold and diamonds that Avery had loaded into his boat before packing up. After that several hypotheses have been made: he took it easy until the end of his life or lost his treasure and died in poverty, but one thing is certain he was never arrested.
4. The Theft of Tucker’s Cross
Teddy Tucker probably didn’t expect to find a diamond-studded gold cross while diving in a shipwreck in 1955, yet he did. He sold the cross to the government of Bermuda who decided to display the object in a museum that Tucker ran for many years until 1975 when the cross was stolen just before a visit from Queen Elizabeth II. Nobody knows who stole the object and it was replaced by a moldy plastic replica, well done thief.
5. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist
In March 1990, two policemen entered the museum telling the guards that they had received a call, but once through the doors they tied up the two security guards and recovered 13 paintings including several Rembrandt, Manet and Vermeer, which is equivalent to at a jackpot of $500 million.
No one still knows today who these two fake policemen were and where the paintings are, the museum even promises a reward of five million dollars to anyone who gives the information used to find them. The FBI reportedly announced that they had found those responsible in 2013 but still no news of the paintings.
6. The heist of the Carlton in Cannes
One man, 30 seconds, 103 million euros. In 2013, the Carlton Hotel in Cannes was the site of the largest theft in France during the day. The author arrives at the end of an exhibition by jeweler Leviev by entering through a window of the hotel while the exhibitors are in the process of repacking the stones. He points a gun, asks for the diamonds, and darts out the same window in seconds to disappear into thin air. A single man carried out in just a few minutes the biggest jewelry theft in history and no one has ever found his trace.
7. DB Cooper, the plane man
On board a plane that takes off from Portland for Seattle on November 24, 1971 is a guy dressed as a bank robber in a Melville film: suit, dark glasses, briefcase. No sooner has the plane taken off than the shady guy threatens to detonate a bomb and hijacks the flight. The plane arrives in Seattle and the man manages to deal with the cops: he releases all the passengers against 200,000 dollars in cash and 4 parachutes, officially for the personnel of the plane.
They are given to him: he is sure, like that, that the parachutes are not trapped. He forces the pilot to take off again in the direction of Mexico City and, in the middle of the flight, jumps out of the plane with the money and a parachute. We are looking for it, we are looking for it. In 1980, part of the ransom (about 5000 dollars) was found near a river. But that’s it: no trace of the guy. The investigation was closed in 2016.
8. The Plymouth Truck Heist
In 1962, a team of robbers disguised as police officers (that disguise works well) managed to block a transport truck near Plymouth in England. They had prepared the ground well by using accomplices disguised as road workers who blocked a highway and grabbed a nice bundle of bucks by taking control of the truck. The conveyors were tied to the back of the truck and were found with the vehicle emptied of its goods, unlike the robbers who were never arrested.
9. The robbery of the central bank of Fortaleza in Brazil
A plan straight out of a Hollywood script: the robbers rented a commercial space pretending that they were going to open a landscaping business but used the land to dig a 78-meter-long tunnel to enter the bank vault. They attacked the concrete walls to achieve their ends and collected nearly 70 million dollars in dough before making the trunk. But one of them was completely dumb because he bought almost 10 new cars in one day in a very poor part of the country, which resulted in the cops picking him up right away and several of his accomplices were nabbed, but not the entire gang nor that of the loot.