5 most daring robbery cases in history – the best robberies of the 21st century

A person demonstrates their resourcefulness and ingenuity not only in engineering and solving complex intellectual tasks, but also in criminal activities.

Often, great imagination is needed even to rob an apartment or a train, “remove” a person, and especially to organize fraudulent schemes to make money. Robbing a bank is an especially challenging task. How have different thieves managed to reach the most guarded vaults in the world?

Bank Robbery at Knightsbridge

On July 12, 1987, Italian Valerio Vicchi and his accomplice entered the Knightsbridge bank in London. This pair pretended to be wealthy clients who wanted to keep their savings in this establishment.Bank robbery

They managed to persuade the bankers to show them the bank’s main vault. As soon as it was opened, the criminals pulled out well-hidden weapons and, threatening them, neutralized all the employees.

Immediately after that, one of the robbers approached the bank entrance and hung a sign saying that the bank was closed “due to technical reasons” today. Thanks to this trick, no one outside the building, including the police, knew that a robbery was taking place right now. As a result, the criminals had over an hour of free time and were able to take almost $113 million from the vault.

The robbers even managed to leave for Latin America with their loot, but later Valerio Vicchi decided to return to London to pick up his Ferrari. Here he was arrested by the police. Only $18 million of the stolen money was recovered. The name of the second robber is still unknown.
Baker Street Robbery

Another robbery in London occurred on December 11, 1971. The target of the criminals was the Lloyds bank. It was located in a large building on the first floor, with offices of other companies nearby. Next to the bank was the Chiken INN restaurant, and further on was the Le Sac store, which the criminals rented.

They then began digging a tunnel to the vault, and for the sake of secrecy, all work was carried out on weekends when no one was working in the other buildings, and therefore, no one could hear loud noises. As a result, a 15-meter tunnel was created over three weeks, after which the robbers hit a concrete foundation.

Initially, it was planned to make a hole in the floor with a gas cutter, but the material did not yield. Then the criminals took a risk and used explosives. Precise calculation allowed them to create a passage to the vault without destroying the tunnel.

As a result, the robbers obtained about £3 million, as well as valuable items from private safes. Before leaving, they left a message for the police: “How will Sherlock Holmes solve this?”

Two facts of this robbery are notable. Firstly, the negotiations were conducted by the criminals over a radio, and one amateur radio enthusiast managed to intercept them and inform the police that a robbery was taking place nearby. Law enforcement officers checked many banks, including Lloyds, but found nothing suspicious at the entrance to the vault, and therefore could not prevent the theft.

Secondly, the case was quickly hushed up in the press. There is a suspicion that the robbers found compromising material on Princess Margaret, sister of Elizabeth II, in the vault, and British intelligence agencies feared the disclosure of such information.

Robbery Using a Helicopter

The most unusual robbery. A very audacious robbery occurred in Stockholm on September 23, 2009. The target of the robbers was the vault of the G4S company. Previously, the criminals hijacked a helicopter, on which they simply landed on the roof of the building they needed.Robbery using a helicopter

They broke the glass part of the roof and, using ropes, descended into the office itself. Then the criminals blew up several safes and gained access to the vault, from which they took almost 40 million Swedish kronor. This is approximately 4 million euros. After that, they ascended to the roof with the loot and flew away. It took less than 20 minutes from landing to takeoff.

To evade pursuers, the robbers intentionally flew at low altitude – a similar tactic used by military pilots, as radar cannot detect low-flying objects.

Police officers who arrived at the scene of the robbery cordoned off the building, but no one came out. When they realized that the thieves had escaped by helicopter, the police set off in pursuit, but wire with spikes was stretched across all the streets, puncturing their tires. Additionally, there was a car accident at one point, blocking the road. It later became known that it was staged.

When the police attempted to take off the helicopters, it turned out that warnings about them being rigged with explosives were posted on all hangars. Bomb disposal experts determined that there was no danger, but by then, time had been lost. In the evening, an empty helicopter was found on the outskirts of the Swedish capital.

Some time later, the robbers were found, but the money was never returned to the affected company.

Robbery of a Belgian Diamond Vault

The capital of Belgium, Antwerp, is known as one of the centers of the jewelry industry. Uncut diamonds from all over the world converge here, which are then processed and put up for sale. In 2003, thieves targeted one of the diamond vaults belonging to a diamond trading exchange.Robbery

The mastermind of the robbery was the thief Leonardo Notarbartolo, who had 30 years of experience in his “profession” at that time. Three years before the actual robbery, the criminals rented an office in the same building where their target was located.

During this time, they studied the security system of the vault. They had to create a dummy company, to which all the necessary keys for access to the building were provided.

Notarbartolo himself got a job in this office and actively traded in diamonds. At the same time, he studied the internal security organization of the exchange and recruited some company employees.

It turned out that the vault had the following sensors:

  • motion sensor;
  • light sensor;
  • heat sensor;
  • magnetic sensor.

They managed to bypass all of them on the day of the robbery. Also, the recruited accomplices infiltrated the surveillance system and altered the recordings to leave no evidence of the crime.

The total loot of the robbers is estimated at over $100 million, and to this day, the stolen diamonds or the money obtained from their sale have not been found. The police quickly arrested Leonardo and three other accomplices, but the other criminals were never found.

Interestingly, Notarbartolo claimed that the exchange itself staged the robbery. Allegedly, at the time he opened the vault, it contained treasures worth only $20 million, while the rest had already been stolen by other people. At the same time, the exchange received insurance for the stolen diamonds. However, law enforcement authorities did not believe this version.

Robbery of the Central Bank of Brazil

An unsolved robbery. Rarely does anyone dare to rob not just a bank, but the Central Bank – the main bank of the state. However, this happened in Brazil in 2005.

The criminals rented a building located in the adjacent quarter and organized an office there, allegedly engaged in landscaping. Therefore, no one suspected the trucks that pulled up to this office. In fact, they were digging a grand tunnel there, and the trucks were carrying away the soil.

The work took three months, and the length of the tunnel exceeded 80 meters. The tunnel was equipped with ventilation and electricity. On the day off, the thieves broke into the vault, first disabling the sensors and alarms.

After that, they took away more than 3.5 tons of money. Converted from Brazilian reals to US dollars, their loot amounted to over $70 million!

Not all the robbers and the stolen funds have been found to this day. However, the police managed to catch two of the criminals. The thing is that a few days after the robbery, two people arrived at a car dealership on a tow truck.

They bought 8 cars and paid for them in cash. This behavior seemed unusual to the seller, who reported it to the police. As a result, the buyers turned out to be involved in the robbery.

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