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The Most Ambitious Robberies in History

Brink's Suspects

There have been robberies and heists since the very dawn of human civilization. Although similar actions are at complete odds with accepted norms of behavior, for some - the perpetrators and film directors - there lies a certain degree of romanticism and attraction in them.

Whether it's for the thrill, the money, jewelry and gold, even today we hear about daring and well-organized robberies all over the world.

One example is the historic Great Train Robbery. Early on August 8, 1963, masked bandits held up the Royal Mail train headed from Glasgow to London, stealing $183 million. Although the heist played out before the eyes of the press, none of the gang members were initially caught.

Below you can read about the rest of the largest, most ambitious robberies in human history.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Image: Smart Destinations

1. The Great Brink's Building Robbery

Until recently, the 1950 robbery of the company Brink's central office, which deals with cash, checks and other forms of money, was considered the "crime of the century". The robbers executed their heist with perfect timing and coordination. They made off with $2 million, a colossal sum at that time. No one was able to find the culprits until their own bickering over how to divide up the money led to their downfall. All 11 gang members were caught.

2. The Agricultural Bank of China Robbery in 2007

Many investigators have called this the most ridiculous heist in history. A Chinese banker embezzled funds from the vault to buy lottery tickets. Apparently, he had no luck whatsoever because soon the sum would grow to $7 million, which was when bank management finally realized that they had money missing. Even today, the unlucky banker continues to pay back what he had stolen, except he's doing so behind bars.

3. The Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery

This is one of the largest and most sensational bank robberies of all time. It was led by Valerio Viccei, the son of an Italian lawyer. He stole nearly $107 million. Prior to this, he was already wanted for over 50 armed robberies, which he committed to try to maintain his playboy lifestyle. Valerio was caught 5 days after the robbery behind the wheel of a latest-model Ferrari.


4. The Central Bank of Iraq Heist

Just hours before American bombs began raining down on Baghdad in 2003, one of Saddam Hussein's sons made off with nearly $1 billion in cash, making it the largest bank heist in history thus far.

5. The Isabella Gardner Museum Heist

Even though this heist took place back in March 18, 1990, police have still been unable to find absolutely anything about the perpetrators. Paintings and sculptures valued at $600 million were stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston on that day.