1. Dar Es Salaam Bank, Baghdad – 2007 – £212million
Though much of this incident remains shrouded in mystery, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said that a pair of guards who worked for an armed militia that was roaming the area engineered the heist of just over a quarter of a billion dollars.
2. The Knightsbridge Vault Robbery, London – 1987 – £73.2 million
Valerio Viccei, an Italian playboy and career criminal who was implicated in over 50 bank robberies during his lifetime, enlisted the help of a number of armed accomplices and walked out with tens of millions worth in cash, jewelry, and other valuables.
3. Securitas Depot Robbery, Kent, UK – 2006 – £62.6million
The largest cash robbery in British history, a heavily armed gang of criminals kidnapped the branch manager and his family, bound and gagged 14 employees, and forced them to open the cash cages. While most of the perpetrators were caught and convicted, one of the criminals is said to be still living off of the stolen cash in the West Indies.
4. Banco Central Burglary, Fortaleza, Brazil – 2005 – £52.9million
The thieves rented a commercial property in the middle of the city and posed as landscapers. They then spent three months digging a tunnel spanning 256 feet to a point just underneath the bank. They somehow tunneled up through reinforced concrete into the vault of the Banco Central branch and walked away with 3.5 tons of Brazilian bank notes.
5. British Bank of the Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon – 1976 – £37.8million
As Lebanon was engulfed by a bloody civil war, a group with links to the Palestine Liberation Organization blew through a church wall next to the bank and enlisted the services of a crack team of locksmiths. They walked out with upwards of $50million in cash, gold, and jewelry.
6. Northern Bank Robbery, Belfast – 2004 – £31million
Days before Christmas, gunmen posing as officials held branch managers and their families hostage at gunpoint. With their families at home under threat, the managers were told to report to work as if it were a normal day and then allow the gunmen into the bank at the end of the business day. After the money was stolen, the families were released unharmed. Authorities to this day do not know who perpetrated the heist.
7. Brink’s-MAT, London – 1983 – £31million
Six thieves enlisted the help of a security guard and broke into the Brink’s-MAT warehouse at Heathrow. They initially planned to seize a few million in cash, but their plans changed when they realized there were an additional three tons of gold bullion and diamonds. The gold has never been recovered.
8. Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, London – 2015 – £25m
The Hatton Garden jewellery heist is believed to be ‘the largest in British history’, and saw a gang of mostly elderly thieves break into an underground safety deposit vault in London’s Hatton Garden. It was originally thought the value of the items stolen over the 2015 Easter holiday was £14m, but this was later increased to £25m
9. Dunbar Armored Robbery, Los Angeles – 1997 – £14.3million
The largest cash robbery in US history was an inside job. A regional safety inspector for Dunbar recruited five of his childhood friends and together they ambushed the guards at a stocked cash drop vault on a Friday night. Once they got their hands on the money, they loaded it into a U-Haul and nearly escaped. While the thieves were convicted, over half of the money is still missing.
10. The Great Train Robbery, Buckinghamshire, UK – 1963 – £3million
It took months to draw up an elaborate plan to intercept a Royal Mail train traveling from Glasgow. A team of 15 thieves managed to rig the trackside signals, forcing the train to stop at a remote location. They then overpowered the conductor and made off with the loot. The story has inspired a number of dramatizations in cinema and television.