The World’s Biggest Robberies
Crime does not pay. Some crimes, however, bring major paydays. Just ask the perpetrators of some of the biggest robberies of modern times.
Of course, looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives and getting caught or killed sooner or later comprises the “does not pay” part. But for one day at least, the criminals responsible for such scores probably felt like they won the lottery with the staggering amounts they’ve cleaned out of the places listed below.
1. Central Bank of Iraq
Almost $1 billion was stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq in March 2003 upon orders of Saddam Hussein, just before the first U.S. bombs fell. A hand-written note signed by the dictator surfaced that month, ordering the “withdrawal” of $920 million from the bank and that the money be handed to his son Qusay. As far as bank heists go, this one has come down as the biggest bank heist ever.
2. Dar Es Salaam Bank, Iraq
Three guards who worked at the private Dar Es Salaam bank in Baghdad's Karrada district stole about $300 million from the bank in July 2007.
3. Securitas Cash Management Ltd Depot, England
On February 2006, at least six men successfully carted away bank notes amounting to £53,116,760, or US$92.5 million at the time of the robbery, from a Securitas Cash Management Ltd depot in Vale Road, Tonbridge, Kent. This is considered as the largest cash robbery ever in British history.
4. Central Bank, Brazil
A gang of 10 to 20 robbers spent three months digging a tunnel from a house into the Central Bank in the city of Fortaleza, Brazil. Authorities believe the robbers successfully broke through between August 6 and August 8, 2005, and made off with 164.8 million Reals or US$71.6 million.
5. Northern Bank, Belfast, Northern Ireland
On December 20, 2004, a large group of robbers stole £26.5 million in pounds sterling, (roughly US$51.8 million today) from the Donegall Square headquarters of the Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The robbery caused considerable controversy, as it was publicly claimed that the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was behind the raid, which, naturally was denied by the group.
6. Brink's-Mat High Security Vault at Heathrow Airport, England
Six men broke into the Brink's-Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport on November 26, 1983 hoping to get their hands on £3 million in gold bars. Much to their elation, the high-security vault actually contained around 6,800 gold bars and 100,000 pounds of diamonds worth £26 million, all of which they promptly hauled off.
7. British Bank of The Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon
A group affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) hit the Beirut branch of The British Bank of the Middle East in January 1976, and, with the help of imported Corsican safe-crackers, carted away £25 million from its vaults.
8. Dunbar Armored facility, Los Angeles, California
Some US$18.9 million were stolen from the Dunbar Armored facility in Los Angeles, California, on September 13, 1997 in what is considered the largest cash robbery ever in the United States.
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