Here are the very best heists in history that should inspire movies
Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? The drama of the theft itself, the adventure to get it back, the confrontation with the thieves, it’s all too good. Heist movies are some of the best adventures you can go on from the comfort of your couch.
Of course, some people decide to take it a little too literally, and go on their own heist on some of the world’s top museums, banks, and diamond centers. Some are lucky enough to recover the stolen goods, others not so much. But those unsolved heists are perfect material for a new batch of heist movies.
We dug around heist history and found ourselves the perfect fodder for a new heist movie. These heists aren’t just unsolved, but mysterious and fascinating that we can just picture ourselves sitting on the edge of our seats already.
Antwerp Diamond Center heist
In 2003, the diamond-exchange capital of the world got hit bad when thieves stole $100 million worth of diamonds. A group of Italian thieves known as the “School of Turin” broke into the underground vault in the center, and didn’t even sound one alarm.
Robbing 123 of the vault’s 160 safes, security for the center didn’t even notice they were robbed until the following day. They managed to not trip one of the infrared heat sensors, guess the combination lock that has over 100 million possibilities, and eight other levels of security.
The mastermind of the heist, career thief Leonardo Notarbartolo, was arrested after police discovered he rented an office in the Diamond Center shortly before the heist. But he never gave up the names of his accomplices, and especially didn’t reveal the location of the diamonds.
Surprisingly, this heist on the company known for their armored trucks didn’t just hit one truck. A group of men broke into the depot where Dunbar holds their trucks overnight in 1997. Making away with $18.9 million, they loaded all the money into the U-Haul truck the group rented for the heist.
But when the plastic tail light lens of the U-Haul truck was left behind, it was easy for police to find their thieves. Mastermind Allen Pace III, who was once a Dunbar worker, rented the truck and was first to be caught. All together, four of the men pleaded guilty to the crimes.
While the men were given time served for their crimes, police never fully recovered the money stolen. $5 million was recovered in purchases made by the thieves, but at least $10 million still remains missing from the heist.
Harry Winston heist
A good ol’ fashioned smash-and-grab jewelry heist is always a source of adrenaline when watching in the cinema. But four men lived the adrenaline for real when they did a smash-and-grab heist at the Harry Winston jewelry store in Paris.
Dressed as women, the four men pushed all the employees and customers into a corner at gunpoint. The group made off with over $100 million in jewelry from the cases and storage in the back of the store. To this day, the heist at Harry Winston remains the largest even done in France.
Eight men total were arrested for the crimes, but some served only as much as nine months for their role in the heist. The ringleader, Douadi Yahiaoui, only got 15 years. While $19 million of the jewelry was found stuffed in a drain, the majority of the jewelry has never been recovered.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist
Robbing a Boston establishment on St. Patrick’s Day is just a no-brainer. So when two men got away with over $500 million in art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, it couldn’t have been better timing.
Between the not-finished update of the museum’s security system, dressing as cops, and hitting the museum in the wee hours of the night, it truly was the perfect heist. Plus, Isabella Stewart refused to let any art be moved from where it hangs in the museum, so empty frames sit where the stolen art should hang.
To this day, the robbers and art remain missing. The museum is still offering a $5 million dollar reward to anyone who can give information to solve the heist. The heist on the Gardner Museum remains the most expensive heist ever done on private property.
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