Many of us have heard of someone who was robbed. Whether it happened as they were walking down the street or they had their house broken in, most of us have heard such stories. And if you haven’t, then you probably have watched the Spanish crime thriller, “Casa De Papel” which had most of us rooting for the bad guys to get away! The intriguing series has given us a glimpse of what might happen during bank robberies, and while we might not hear of bank robberies often, they do exist.
However, even though the Spanish hit series is fictional, there are some real life bank robberies that have blown many minds.
So let us dive into the real world Casa De Papel and learn about the 10 biggest bank robberies of all time!
1. Central Bank of Iraq Robbery ($1B)
Said to be orchestrated by Saddam Hussein, the robbery of the central bank of Iraq took place back in 2003. The robbery was carried out by Saddam’s son, Qusai Hussein, who loaded $1B in three trucks. While Qusai was caught and sentenced for theft, his father was never arrested for this crime.
2. Dar Es Salaam Bank Robbery ($282M)
Another famous bank robbery that took place in Iraq in 2007 was the robbery of Dar Es Salaam Bank, during which $282M were stolen. It is reported that the bank guards and other police officials might have been in on it and hence the robbers were able to go unnoticed at checkpoints.
3. The Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery ($97M)
Wanted Italian robber, Valerio Viccei, robbed $97M from a bank in London in 1987. While his theft was a success and he was able to flee to South America, he was later arrested in Britain. After spending some time in British jails, he was transferred to Italy’s Pescara prison. In 1996, he started to do what he pleased in prison as long as he returned to his cell at night. However, he was later shot following a fire exchange between him and a police officer.
4. Securitas Depot Bank Robbery ($83M)
Unlike many robberies, this one started with the kidnapping of the manager of the Securitas cash depot, Colin Doxin, and his family. The robbers were able to steal around £53M (which was around $83M at that time) after taking around 14 other staff members hostage. In 2007, a year after the robbery took place, Stuart Royle, Roger Coutts, Lea Rusha, Jetmir Bucpapa, and Emir Hysenaj were all arrested. Lee Murray, who is thought to be the mastermind behind this robbery was caught in 2010 in Morocco.
5. Bank of Bangladesh Cyber Robbery ($81M)
North Korean hackers attempted to steal $1B from the Bank of Bangladesh back in 2016. By hacking the bank’s system, the bank’s printer stopped functioning properly, which did not raise any concern for the staff as they thought of it as a normal glitch. However, after rebooting the printer, the Bank received urgent messages from the Fed (Federal Reserve Bank in New York) that they have received instructions from the “bank” to drain all its money. Luckily for them, the transactions were stopped because one of them included the word “Jupiter”, which is the name of a sanctioned Iranian shipping vessel. This was enough to stop the attackers from stealing the whole $1B dollars, and instead they only managed to steal $81M. Three Koreans were reportedly arrested and accused of the theft.
6. The Banco Central Robbery ($71.6M)
Recognized once as the world’s greatest bank robbery by Guinness Book of World Records, the Banco Central robbery took place in 2005 Ceará, Brazil. By tunneling into the bank, the robbers were able to steal around $71.6M and flee the scene. The gang is said to have had 25 members, of which only 8 were arrested.
7. The Northern Bank Robbery ($41M)
Much like the robbery of Securitas Depot Bank, the Northern Bank of Ireland robbery started with kidnapping the families of two bank officials in late December 2004. By forcing them to cooperate, the robbers were able to steal around £26.5M, which was around $41M at that time. Even though some arrests were made, it is reported that the investigation attempts have been futile so far as no one has been officially convicted of the robbery.
8. The Brink's-Mat Robbery ($41M)
Helped by Brink’s-Mat security guard, Anthony Black, a group of robbers were able to break into the warehouse at London’s Heathrow Airport and steal £26M, which equals to about $41M in 1983. In addition to the money, the robbers also found gold, platinum bars and traveler’s cheques. Despite the fact that many of the robbers were caught, most of the gold is still unrecovered.
9. The British Bank of the Middle East Robbery (~ $50M)
Carried out in 1976 in Beirut, Lebanon, it is said that robbers blasted their way into the British bank of the Middle East and stole everything in the safe-deposit boxes, including, gold, cash, and jewelry, all of which amount to about £32M or $50M. Despite the fact that the robbery is still being talked about decades after, it is still unknown who was behind it.
10. The United California Bank Robbery ($30M)
The robbery of the United California Bank took place in 1972, during which $30M were stolen from the bank’s vault. Led by Amil Dinsio, it is said that the heist was well practiced and executed so that the robbers were able to get away, for a while at least. In addition to Amil, other men were part of the robbery, all of which were later captured.
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