Robberies – The Near Perfect Ones

This post is a part of A-Z Challenge for bloggers, that takes place every year in the month of April. Bloggers take part in this challenge for self improvement and to overcome the “writer’s block”. Each one of us writes one article everyday, starting from the alphabet ‘A’, right up to ‘Z’. My theme for this year’s challenge is – mind-blowing facts and theories.


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With all the hype going around about this TV show named Money Heist, I finally gave in into peer pressure and started watching it. 20 minutes into the first episode, and I was addicted to it. It’s near perfect plot coaxed me into reading about real money heists of all times. So, I couldn’t stop myself from sharing some of the biggest burglaries in the history here!

Banco Central Burglary

The Guinness Book of Records recognizes this 2005 heist in Brazil as the “Greatest Robbery of a Bank” of all time. The robbers posed as landscapers and rented a commercial property in the middle of the city. They spent three months digging a 256-foot tunnel to a position beneath the bank, and then spent a weekend breaking through a steel-reinforced bank vault, and made away with US $70 million at the time! Many robbers from the gang were arrested but only US $8 million of the stolen cash has been recovered.

The Great Dunbar Robbery

In September 1997, six men carried out the largest cash robbery of the United States. They robbed the Dunbar Armored Facility in Los Angeles stealing US $18.9 million in cash. The mastermind behind this was the regional safety inspector, Allen Pace who hired five of his childhood friends to ambush the guards at a stocked cash drop vault on a Friday night. They broke the metal cages containing the depot’s cash using bolt cutters and loaded the cash in a U-Haul (moving equipment and storage rental company) truck that one of them had rented. They smashed all of the security video cameras inside the depot and seized the videotapes. However, authorities recovered around US $5 million of the cash in the form of homes, cars and other valuables as one of the perpetrators got sloppy and eventually confessed. But, the remaining amount was never recovered.

Central Bank of Iraq Robbery

This bold theft was allegedly ordered directly by the then dictator of Iraq in 2003, just days before the United States forces entered Baghdad. He sent his son and a personal assistant with a hand-written note to the bank’s governor, telling him to hand over US $920 million. You cannot say “NO” to the dictator now, can you?

It’s unclear how much of the total stolen cash has been recovered, but it’s believed that at least US $650 million was discovered in one of the dictator’s palaces during a raid.

The Train Robbery

The theft that inspired a dozen movies and TV shows was carried out back in 1963 in a train going from Glasgow to London. 15 robbers were responsible for this heist of around US $3.2 million who rigged the track signals to stop the train in a remote location. The robbers didn’t have guns, but they did beat up the train driver before running away. They fled to a hideout, which police were able to find soon enough. Most of the gang members were prosecuted, but, the money was never recovered.

British Bank of the Middle East’s Robbery

On January 20, 1976, a group associated Palestine Liberation Organization exploited the chaos of the country’s civil war and broke into the British Bank of the Middle East in Beirut. They blasted through the bank’s walls through a church next door and hired a crack team of locksmiths to bust open the vault. They robbed somewhere between US $20 million to US $50 million worth of gold bars, Lebanese and foreign currency, stocks and jewels. Today the loot is valued to be more than three times what it was worth in 1976! None of the money has been recovered, and no one has ever been charged for the crime.

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