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Crime

10 Truly Successful Thieves

Josh Fox . . . Comments

Everyone knows that these days, with our enhanced technology, such as CCTV and DNA evidence, being a successful criminal is almost impossible. Because of the over-glamorous heists portrayed by Hollywood, most people assume that, in reality, crimes are almost impossible to get away with it. However lots of high-value robberies or burglaries have been attempted in recent times, and many criminals do get away with it. I have described, here, some cases in which people have been able to successfully steal cash or objects of high value, without having to suffer the consequences. It goes to show that, on occasion, crime does pay.

10

French “Vacuum Gang”

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Since 2006, in France, an unknown gang of thieves have been emptying supermarket safes, using nothing more than a drill and a modified vacuum cleaner. The innovative group of bandits found a weakness in French supermarket Monoprix’s system of storing cash, and have been exploiting it ever since. Envelopes of cash are funneled into the safe via pneumatic suction tubes. Whereas breaching the safe itself might be considerably difficult, requiring explosives or safecracking, the thieves realized that if they just drilled into the delivery tubes near the safe and hooked up a powerful vacuum, they could suck the money out and get at it much more easily.

This mode of robbery is very unique as most thieves would resort to safecracking methods, which leave more evidence. Techniques such as using explosives, or tools like a thermal lance or plasma cutter, are the common choice of career burglars. As of 2011, the vacuum gang have successfully stolen almost $800,000, in fifteen night-time heists, leaving only a few CCTV tapes of masked men for evidence.

9

2010 Credit Lyonnais Paris Burglars

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On March 30th, 2010, burglars got into a Credit Lyonnais bank, in central Paris, and emptied over a hundred safety deposit boxes, getting away with millions of Euros in cash and valuables. The gang tunneled into the bank’s basement from a neighboring cellar, and entered the vault through a small hole they cut using a thermal lance. The branch itself was closed for renovations, however, a security guard who heard noises from the basement confronted the robbers, who lashed him to a chair and told him not to move. Meanwhile, the gang ransacked 125 safe deposit boxes over the course of a few hours. They then set fire to the premises to eliminate any evidence. The fire set off the sprinklers, which alerted the tied-up guard, who assumed the robbers had left, so he raised the alarm. The full operation took around nine hours. As of 2011, the thieves are still at large, and because of the lack of evidence it is unlikely they will ever be brought to justice. This raid bears similarities to the 1971 Baker Street burglary, and shows that security hasn’t improved over time as much as it should have.


8

Carl Gugasian

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This particular criminal was successful in baffling police during a bank robbing career that spanned thirty years, and netted him over $2million. The reason he isn’t higher in the list is because of his eventual arrest. When Carl Gugasian was 15 years old, he was shot while attempting to rob a candy store and was sent to a State Youth Facility. After his release he took deliberate steps, not only to avoid a normal life, but to excel in a life of crime. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, earning a master’s degree in systems analysis. He also went out of his way to receive military weapons training.

Immediately after his graduation, Gugasian began to plan out mock robberies involving stolen cars. On eight separate occasions he was planning to commit his first bank robbery; however he repeatedly backed down before entering the bank. Eventually, he committed his first offense, using a stolen car for his getaway.

It was after this that he began to develop his unique bank robbery modus operandi, with such meticulous planning that police were powerless to stop him. He would first look for banks in small towns, that provide easy access to a freeway. He then narrowed the search further by looking for a bank that had late closing times, in August or winter months, so darkness could hide his escape. He only robbed banks on a Friday, which earned him the nickname: Friday Night Robber. He then created a cache to store any evidence that connected him to the crime (including the money), immediately after the robbery. He would return later to retrieve the stuff, when the heat had died down in the following weeks.

As for the robbery itself, Gugasian would burst into the bank five minutes before closing time, when customers weren’t likely to be there. Donning a gruesome face mask from a horror movie (Freddy Krueger was a favorite), he would vault the counter in a standing jump, landing with a crash on the other side, which terrified staff. He then grabbed everything he could from the cash tills, and left in less than two minutes. Immediately afterwards he would disappear into the well-scouted woods and run for several minutes to a dirt-bike. Then he would bike for a further few miles through the woods to an anonymous looking panel van, waiting on the other side, where he’d load the bike into the van and drive away to complete his escape.

In the end, despite his meticulous planning and execution, it was a simple case of bad luck that led to his arrest. Two young teenage boys found one of his caches whilst playing in the woods. It was full of weapons, ammunition and face masks which had his fingerprints. Only enough evidence existed to convict Gugasian of 5 bank robberies, resulting in a 17-year sentence, which he is currently still serving. Despite this, he has still gotten away with over 45 armed bank robberies; an amazing feat considering that, statistically, over 65% of armed bank robbery cases in the US are solved.

7

Paris Modern Art Museum Burglar

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In May, 2010, a lone thief broke into the Paris Museum of Modern Art and stole masterpieces by artists such as Picasso and Matisse, valued at just under £100million. Unbelievably, the museum didn’t have a functioning burglar alarm, and the thief was able to simply smash a window and remove the pictures from their frames, without incident. The burglary was discovered at 7am the following morning. Although security guards were in the building at the time of the heist, they didn’t hear anyone enter, or notice the missing paintings or smashed window.

The crime was initially believed to be worth around £430million; however, this figure soon came down to just under £100million. Police have speculated that the paintings may have been “ordered” by a private collector, as this has been the case with previous art thefts in the city. As of 2011, no one has been arrested for the burglary and police believe that the painting is no longer in the possession of the thief. This theft is an example of very poor security around objects with extremely high value.

6

Derek “Bertie” Smalls

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Bertie Smalls was an English armed robber who was active in the 1960s and 70s; a time considered the golden age of British armed robbery. Smalls committed his first robbery when he was 15, and, after being imprisoned for a short while, committed his life to crime. Before 1970, Smalls already had a string of high-profile robberies to his name, and was a respected figure in the London Underworld.

On the 9th February, 1970, Smalls led a gang from the Wembley Mob, in the East End of London, to rob a Barclays Bank branch in Ilford. The gang successfully got away with £237,736, a record at the time. Most of the team left England on various routes. Smalls, himself, boarded a train to Paris and from there went on to the Costa del Sol, where he read English newspapers looking for police updates about the robbery. The police made an early breakthrough, with an informant naming Smalls as the leader of the gang.

Smalls returned to England and gave himself up in Northampton, where he spent the Christmas period in jail. On June 2nd, Smalls asked for a meeting with the chief inspector. Smalls had been informed by his solicitor that he would be spending at least 25 years in prison. In an attempt to reduce his lengthy sentence, he offered the police a deal to turn over every person connected with any criminal activity he had ever been involved with.

Smalls was given immunity from prosecution in return for his help. At the Old Bailey, the trial of the Barclays Bank raid commenced, and Smalls testified against every one of his co-conspirators. As he finished giving evidence against his former friends, they reportedly sang to him: “We’ll meet again” by Vera Lynn. The trial ended with a jail time for the gang totaling over 100 years in prison. In the months after the trial, Smalls helped convict 21 more associates, for a total of over 300 years in prison. As a result, Bertie Smalls received no jail-time for his part in the Barclays raid, although there was rumored to be a £1million bounty on his head, instigated by powerful underworld figures such as the Kray twins. Despite this, he lived under police protection for the rest of his life. Even today, criminals who grass on their friends are said to be a “Bertie Smalls”. Pictured above is John Coyne portraying Bertie Smalls).

5

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Robbers

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On the night of March 18th, 1990, two men, disguised as Boston police officers, entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and stole an estimated $500,000,000 worth of artworks, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet and Degas. They gained entry by impersonating Boston Police officers, and telling guards that they were responding to a call. Once inside, they rounded up the guards and handcuffed them, placing them in the basement whilst they raided the second floor of the museum. The next morning security arrived to relieve the guards, but instead found the museum ransacked.

The museum still has the empty frames hanging in place (see picture), as an homage to the stolen art, and to show their hope that they may one day see them returned to their rightful place. The criminals have never demanded a ransom, and they will never serve any time, even if they are caught, as the statute of limitations has run out. The museum has offered a $5million reward for information leading to the recovery of the artwork, and has also said they will: “ensure complete confidentiality”, implying they are willing to pay a ransom.


4

The School of Turin

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At approximately 7pm local time, on Friday the 14th of February, 2003, the School of Turin were about to perform the largest diamond heist the world has ever seen. Leonardo Notarbartolo, the leader of the gang, had reportedly remained in the vault that Friday night when the security doors closed automatically, at 7:00 pm. Several hours later, the elevator leading down to the vault was purportedly used by three other members of the School. The motion detector at the foot of the elevator had already been disabled by an application of spray silicone, and the vault’s light detector had been rendered useless with a simple piece of tape. With all of the prep work done, the School of Turin found themselves alone with the vault of the Antwerp Diamond Center.

Gaining access to the vault was not the same, however, as gaining entrance. The vault itself was protected by a dual lock system: a combination and a key lock, and two feet of reinforced steel. The key part was easy, as duplicates of the key had been made in advance. The combination lock was a bit more difficult, and the police have yet to release information pertaining to exactly how this was cracked.

Buried behind those two locks was something else; a fail-safe alarm that consisted of magnets that would notify the police as soon as the vault was opened, and the magnets were no longer touching. The alarm was automatic and could not be turned off. The fail safe was defeated with the most minimalist of moves. The crack team of burglars snipped the magnets out of their resting places and taped them together, allowing the vault door to be opened without ever separating the magnets.

The taping of the magnets was the final step. There, in the vault, the School of Turin pried open that heavy door, knowing that they would be undisturbed as they gazed upon their jackpot, the largest diamond heist in history. For the remainder of the weekend, they set to breaking into safety deposit boxes. Out of the 160 security boxes, the highly skilled crew worked through 123, popping the locks with a tool they created specifically for the job. But these professionals didn’t merely grab diamonds, of which the trade is much more restricted than most would have you believe, no, they grabbed the paperwork necessary to sell the diamonds as legitimate. That which couldn’t easily be resold, and even currency, items with combined values totaling in the millions of dollars, were left carelessly on vault floor.

By the time the heist had been discovered the thieves were long gone. However, the alleged leader of the gang, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was convicted on the basis of DNA found on a half-eaten sandwich found near the crime-scene. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The other School members were never apprehended and it is unlikely they will be, as the statute of limitations has, or will soon, run out.

3

Baker Street Burglary

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The Baker Street burglary took place in London, in 1971, when a team of well-equipped thieves tunneled into the Lloyds Baker Street Bank Vault and stole £3million (2011: £31.7million) worth of cash and valuables from safety deposit boxes. The criminals used a combination of metal cutting tools, such as a thermal lance and explosives, to tunnel into the vault from a nearby shop, and even had a lookout positioned on a rooftop. Near the end of the heist, a ham radio operator overheard some of the lookout’s walkie-talkie radio transmissions and contacted the police, who frantically searched over seven hundred banks within the area, in hopes of honing in on the location of the transmission. Policemen even searched the bank whilst the burglars were inside the vault, however, since no damage was visible on the vault door, police assumed they had the wrong bank and left. They were unable to catch the robbers at the time, but nearly two years later a number of men were charged in connection with the burglary. However, the true mastermind was a London car dealer, who was never apprehended. The story of the burglary has been immortalized in the semi-fictional movie “The Bank Job” starring Jason Statham.


2

The Pink Panthers

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The Pink Panthers are a Serbian gang of jewel thieves, who Interpol believe are responsible for some of the most glamorous armed robberies in history. Their bold style and intricate planning is thought of as artistry, even by criminologists. They have targeted many different countries, and have Japan’s most successful robbery among their thefts.

In 1993, the gang came to attention with their first robbery, when they stole a £500,000 diamond from a jeweler in London. The thieves hid the diamond in a jar of face cream resembling an act from the film: “Return of the Pink Panther” which earned them their nickname. Since then, the group have successfully robbed over one hundred and twenty different stores, in twenty different countries. Their attention to detail is the reason behind their high success rate. For example, before a heist in Biarritz, the gang coated a bench adjacent to the jewelry store in fresh paint to deter people sitting on it and seeing them in action.

The Pink Panthers are also known for their daring escapes and creative break-ins. In St Tropez, they robbed a store dressed in flowery shirts and then escaped on a speed boat. In another high-profile heist, the gang drove a pair of stolen limousines through a window into a Dubai mall, taking watches and other valuables worth over £8million. In yet another robbery, they dressed up as women and stole over $100million (£60million) worth of jewelry from a Harry Winston store in Paris, using Mission Impossible-style prosthetic make-up as a disguise.

Several gang members have been imprisoned. However, their group is thought to consist of over two hundred members, therefore, most have simply gotten away with their crimes. Their total haul is now believed to be in the billions of dollars. The alleged leader of the gang, Dragan Mikic, escaped from prison using a rope ladder, in 2005, whilst Pink Panthers fired machine guns at the prison wall. He has been on the run ever since.

1

Albert Spaggiari

Albert-Spaggiari

Albert Spaggiari was a French career criminal who is best known for masterminding the Societe Generale bank robbery in France, 1976. As a young man he committed his first robbery in order to impress his girlfriend, but was soon captured and imprisoned. After his release and having served in the French military, Spaggiari became the owner of a photographic studio and was making a reasonable living as a law-abiding citizen. However, he apparently became bored with his middle-class life and sought to return to a life of crime.

He began to plan a break-in at the Societe Generale Bank, in Nice. He decided that, since the bank vault was located in the basement, the break-in would best be achieved by digging underneath from a nearby sewer system. He opened a box for himself and placed a loud alarm clock inside, setting it to go off at midnight in order to check for the existence any acoustic or seismic detectors that might foil his plan. In fact, the bank vault had no interior alarm or security systems, as it was considered utterly impenetrable.

Spaggiari then recruited a group of professional gangsters from Marseille to help him dig the tunnel. He instructed them to never drink coffee or alcohol, and always to get at least 10 hours sleep every day to avoid danger to the mission. After two months of digging, the tunnel was finished, and, during a Bastille Day festival when the bank was closed for a long weekend, the gang broke into the vault, itself. They opened up over 400 safety deposit boxes, stealing over 60million francs worth of money, securities and other valuables.

When the robbery was discovered, the following message was found on the vault wall: “sans armes, ni maine, ni violence” which is translated as: “without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence”. At first police were baffled, however, in the following months they arrested one suspect on a tip from a former girlfriend. The man later admitted being a part of the robbery and ratted out the entire gang, including Spaggiari. During his trial, however, Spaggiari managed to escape by distracting the judge, by handing him a fake piece of encoded evidence. He jumped out of the window, where a motorcycle was waiting for him and made his getaway.

He was never caught and the loot from the heist was never found. He died at the age of 52 of throat cancer, and his body was found dumped outside his mother’s house, presumably by unknown friends.



  • formerly known as Dangsthurt

    I have been known to have stolen a few virginities in my day.

    Also, first.

    • Sheep don’t count

      • Person

        LOL!!!!!!!

      • Geronimo1618

        ROTFL

      • Triptastic

        Ok! I had to comment! That is damn funny!

    • Shitverse

      No no, it says “successful”

  • zombiegirl_pd

    Dang…… Close

  • Thieves! don’t know what to say, gud work though

  • Mariam

    What about the Hamburglar?

    • Sammy

      Seriously how can you forget him. He should be number 1 on this list.

  • Absolutely amazing list, really fascinating. Using vacuum cleaners to steal money is smart. Reminds me of the recent story of a guy who just walked out of a gallery with a Picasso

    • Joey Joeson

      Die.

  • freddie

    they should make movies about the pink panther theives and the school of turin

    • +1

    • Josh Fox

      Paramont Pictures just bought the rights to the Antwerp Diamond Centre Heist so you will likely be seeing The School on the big screen soon. (:

  • hercules321

    Wow! Very interesting list. Well done Josh.

  • Will Trame

    Actually the most successful thieves are those that remain anonymous. They’re most likely laughing as they read this list because compared to them those listed above are rank amateurs. Intriguing list, though.

    • Josh Fox

      Most of the items on this list are anonymous.

      • A. Nonny, Mouse by Night

        Several are anonymous, Josh. I like that. But in several cases there were prosecutions and in others the identity of one or more of the theives is known. Either way, it’s a tremendouly fun list.

  • ryohji

    Just a little correction about the first of the list: it is “sans armes, ni haine, ni violence” not “sans armes, ni maine, ni violence”. Just a typo.

  • robfl

    really enjoyed the list

  • iiioooiii

    Amazing list!

    Why are there so many robberies in France, you think they’d have better security after the first 50.

    • Metalwrath

      It’s probably not a question of security. These heists are quite elaborate and avoid frontal assault, where these banks would expect a robbery attempt. France just produces intelligent criminals ;)

  • Mc thief

    # 1 should have been the HAMBURGLAR !

  • Bantersaurus rex

    Inspiring list!

  • Metalwrath

    For number 1, “sans armes, ni maine, ni violence” is spelled wrong, but I guess it’s a typo. The word you wanted to write is “Haine”, not “Maine”. Anyway, Albert Spaggiari was quite a personality. He was the kind of thief which doesn’t exist anymore. Almost a “star” and with a very adventurous life. He made a few interviews with journalists while he was in hiding and was pretty famous in France. Also, he was a political activist, describing himself as nationalist.

  • Risch

    Absolutely Fascinating!!! Love this list.

  • John Doe

    ….

  • VicariousD

    How about John Dillinger? He was so notorious for bank robberies they made a movie about him starring Johnny Depp. Dillinger should’ve at least been an extra on here, considering he was one of the major criminals in the organized crime era of the ’20s and ’30s. Even though no one of his robberies stands out amongst the rest nor amongst history, you just can’t forget someone like that.

    • Josh Fox

      The reason Dillinger isn’t on here is because he was eventually killed by police and he paid the price of his crimes. I was mostly looking for thieves who got away with their crimes, or at least most of them.

  • vanowensbody

    Great list. The French really need to improve their bank security.

  • Jay

    A really good list topic, but the sentence structure and comma placement was so terrible I could not read past the first paragraph. Why was this not edited? I will gladly be the editor for free.

    • Pablo

      It’s fine, get some glasses

  • Ike

    I was expecting to see all the mortgage brokers, wall street firms, and members of the government that got rich while the worlds economy crumbled.

    • diablo135

      I know right? I thought for sure Obama was going to be on here

      • Not funny

        Eat crap you racist.

        • Spaz

          Why is diablo135 racist? Maybe he is black himself? I know plenty of black men who do not like Obama. Obama is the current President of the United States so diablo’s statement is reasonable. By the way, Obama is taking our money and giving it to those who don’t deserve it, so he is a thief.

      • Ike

        I don’t see how people can blame Obama for any of this mess that we are in. These problems started long before he took office…

        • Spaz

          You are right that Obama didn’t start this mess but he is not helping us to get out of it. The only jobs that he saved were the overpaid auto union jobs and those in the financial companies. He and Bush gave money to companies that didn’t desearve it. All of his attemps have failed and any “good” that came out of them were only temporary. The market (economy) runs in cycles and will correct itself over time so it needs to be left alone.

  • chris s

    nice list, needs more France though. what are you, racist?

    • Brandon F

      Are you fucking stupid..not writing about france isn’t racist? that’s like saying i’m not writing about ethiopia cuz they’re all black. dumb fuck.

      • Jesse

        Though you obviously do not get ruffled easily, you may want to Read the comments above yours to understand why he said what he said to you.

        (he was being sarcastic)

  • oouchan

    Quite an interesting read. Really gotta admire some people’s ingenuity. Liked the vacuum ones. That was smart.

    Great list.

  • Incitatus

    Danny Ocean? Ohhh that’s right, he is fake…..
    Loved the movies though…

    • gav

      That’s just what Danny Ocean WANTS you to think…

  • NedNoodle

    Won’t be opening a bank account in Paris, that’s for sure.

  • inconspicuousdetective

    i would love to see the look on the face of some grocery store manager(or any other prospective employer) if any of these thieves put their crimes on their resumes. not that they’d need a job now.

  • Jeremy H

    Where is D.B. Cooper?????

    • chris s

      no one knows

      • dantheman17

        well played hahahahaha

      • OmegaMan

        I agree. Well played indeed! :)

    • HunkierThanYou

      Hahahah nice

  • Frenchie

    I saw the film if on Albert Saggiari, it was magnificent !!!!!!

  • glope

    Nice list, but it is “ni haine” and not “ni maine” ;)

  • John Paul II

    So today I learned that the French are a bunch of thieving bastards. Great!

  • MeDan

    Enter your comment here, stealthily, under cover of darkness. Putting aside for the moment your deplorable deficiency in French vocabulary (Maine??? Mon Dieu, what were you thinking?), I’d like to say that this was a fun list and one I greatly enjoyed. One caviar… caveat, there’s too much Frenchiness going on – I would have liked more information to show that these blackguards- or whiteguards, I’m not prejudiced- did truly enjoy their burgled bling. Some of them seem to have had a rough time of it, really.

  • lalala

    Whats up with the Franceand Burglary/robbery? Almost half are French related

  • Chloe

    I’m curious as to why D.B. Cooper is not on here… is it because it is widely presumed he didn’t survive after jumping from the plane?

    • Josh Fox

      Yes mainly – If it was widely known that he survived and got away with the crime he might have been featured. But also because the method of kidnapping he used isn’t really the type of theft I was looking for.

      • Slappy

        Also, the amount of money was quite small in comparison to some of the other entries. Also, if I remember correctly he didn’t bring his own parachute. Also,he parachuted into the woods. All in all, pretty stupid.

  • Yafeellucky?

    Great list.

  • weegmc

    Great list. I’d add the Northern Bank Robbery in Belfast and the Luftansa heist at JFK airport, the latter for the ease of the robbery, the killing of co-conspirators that ensued and the fact that it was immortalized in Goodfellas which was a great flick.

  • nymphmeister

    so most of them are french burglars? hahaha! they’re not only good at kissing but stealing also!

  • GEORGE COOPER

    Crime hardly pays;great list !

  • John G

    I think you missed the greatest bunch of thieves – The U. S. Congress

  • JonnieDanger

    Did you purposely leave out Frank William Abagnale, Jr? He thieved so badass he got a fancy job for it!

  • joe

    Haine= hatred. not Maine

  • happyfeet

    “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office”. I can’t remember where I heard this quote, but I like it quite a lot!

  • Emilsans

    Best list in a while, good job man!

  • Great List, very interesting xD I like #4 best ^^

  • wasd

    1 and 2 were interesting.

  • I think you missed “Politicians” from the list (Cough, cough, MP’s expenses).

  • Eumesmopo

    I was hoping to see some politicians here :D

  • Displayed next to your comment

    weres the guy that stole the mona lisa

    • Josh Fox

      He got caught two years later

  • dio

    the p- panthers and their theatrics ilk- 200 seems rather an outrageous number

  • Triploblast

    Can you imagine how twitchy and nervous they must feel afterwards though? Even if I could get millions of dollars by robbing a bank, having to live in fear of getting caught for the rest of my life would be too large a price to pay.

    • Josh Fox

      After around around 5 years the case gets declared cold if it hasn’t been solved and police stop looking for the criminals though. Plus most cases (besides murder) have a statute of limitations which is usually about 6-7 years for robbery. When that runs out you can’t be prosecuted.

  • pink panther gang

    they ll never catch us

    • Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties

      oh yes we will. we always get our man. men. cats. whatever.

  • Jimmy Johnson

    So Spaggiari really didn’t ‘get away with it’ if he died of throat cancer at 52.

    • LOL WUT?

      Huh? Did the robbery cause his throat cancer? I’m confused.

  • ven55

    what about d.b cooper.

  • Jobrag

    The vacuum gang could be foiled by fitting a simple non-return valve at the bottom of the delivery tube.

  • The Mick

    Ronnie Biggs should be on this list.
    ok, sure, he got caught for the train robbery but he escaped prison and lived on the run for 30 odd years only finally to voluntarily go back to England.
    read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_Biggs

    and is it just me or does #6 Derek “Bertie” Smalls remind anyone else of ‘actor’ Ron Jeremy…

    • Slappy

      They look alike in the FACE, sure…

  • Freddie

    Wheres George Bush Snr and W?

  • newo

    how about that BAREFOOT BANDIT?..he’s pretty successful considering his age, right?

  • gizzles

    no american locations made the list? guess we know what security really is and how to protect what is valuable.

    • Josh Fox

      5 and 8 weere both American

  • squidmilker

    baghdad bank robbery thieves in 2007 stole way more than anyone on this list and were never caught. you most likely overlooked it because it was barely even mentioned in the western press.

    • Josh Fox

      The robbery was performed by Sadam Hussein’s son who was executed. Sadam himself ordered the robbery and he himself was executed. Also half the money was found in his palace.

  • turk

    I work for a retail chain in canada and three months ago a man walked out of one of our stores with a 40″ tv, a few weeks later the same guy and a woman walked out of a different store with a large chaise lounge, and then a week after that at yet another one of our stores the same guy walked out of the store with a Queen size mattress, and this store was in a shopping mall! He was spotted carrying the mattress up an escalator and to the roof parking lot. I think he is trying to see what is the biggest thing he can stroll out the front door with. nice list by the way, these guys are not only smart they have more balls than a Chinese ping pong tournament.

    • fishsticks

      When he walked out with the tv, did no alarm bells go off?

  • Magnumto

    Very entertaining and very well written! Thanks, Josh!

  • Drack L.

    Some these are good but not all were successful. It was a years that a group of people tunneled into a bank vault in Brazil and over the weekend cleaned it out. The also were never caught. Just think that success would mean getting away with it.

  • jbjr

    The Smith brothers were very good jewelle thrives. Finally got nabbed in San Fransico a few yrs ago, after a huge jewelle heist.The owner was supposedly in on it but was not convicted.It was featured on the TV show American Gangster.

  • eduardo

    Cool list, but not sure why number one deserved to be there… fun read though

  • Devvo

    How about Jacques Mesrine?

  • carlos

    Robbery of postal train to Glasgow by the gang leaded by Ronald Biggs, 1963

  • Drac

    Most were caught soon; the leader was known and eventually surrendered, but he doesn’t seem to have enjoyed his wealth much. This wasn’t really much of a success.

  • Tony Ortiz

    Number 1 should have been: The U.S. Government. lmao

  • Kyle

    My vote? Number 7!

    I like the Paris museum one where the window was smashed but none of the security guards heard the glass break which I still don’t see how they could’ve missed it. ?

    I am sure those windows were (at the very least) shatter-proof meaning it would take several hits with a heavy object before it crumpled to tiny pieces since that’s how commercial buildings are.

  • ciaran

    Forgeting the northern bank robbery belfast, 12 million pounds of used bank notes stolen, they were never caught, they held the bank managers family hostage and got him to do the hard work. Many suspect ira but they never claimed to have done it

  • cedrick

    this site is great!!!!

  • elsen joseph

    i just hope this would not encourage more crimes….

  • sarcasmfont

    #1 was pretty hot in a european criminal kind of way.

  • failedALIAS

    “When Carl Gugasian was 15 years old, he was shot while attempting to rob a candy store and was sent to a State Youth Facility. After his release he took deliberate steps, not only to avoid a normal life, but to excel in a life of crime.” “Smalls committed his first robbery when he was 15, and, after being imprisoned for a short while, committed his life to crime.” Gotta love the penile system.

  • Brian kamau

    I want 2 b a master thief…4 ril

  • where is neal caffrey??