31Infamous Loomis Heist of 1997
In 1997, disgruntled Loomis employee David Ghantt and his accomplices executed a daring heist, making off with a staggering $17 million from the company's vault in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ghantt's motivation stemmed from his dissatisfaction with his low-paying job and his desire for a slice of the riches he handled daily. Ghantt, along with co-conspirators, successfully stole the money and attempted to flee to Mexico, but their plan had some critical flaws.
One crucial oversight was their failure to realize that they left behind incriminating security camera tapes, which captured their every move. As the group indulged in lavish spending sprees, including buying expensive cars, mansions, and extravagant items, they drew attention to themselves, and the police began to piece together their activities. In the end, a total of 24 individuals were charged in connection with the heist.
Despite the audacious plot and extravagant spending, the group's paranoia grew, leading to internal conflicts and even plans to eliminate one of their own. Ghantt eventually fled to Mexico but was arrested there. As the investigation unfolded, it was discovered that the robbers had buried large sums of money in various places. While many of the stolen funds were recovered, a mystery $2 million remained elusive.
32Rick James Robbers: Fashion-Forward Heist
In 2015, a trio of daring criminals earned the moniker "Rick James Robbers" for their audacious heists. These men, sporting 1970s-era Rick James-inspired disguises complete with long braids and sunglasses, embarked on a spree of three successful robberies targeting check-cashing facilities and credit unions. However, their luck ran out on the fourth attempt when they stole a vehicle, leading to a high-speed chase that ended in their capture. The trio faced charges of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler declared, "The reign of terror for these three men is over," emphasizing that those who endanger citizens and disrupt commerce would be held accountable. The trio faced sentencing in May 2017, with potential prison terms of up to 40 years looming over them.
33Bieber Concert Heist of 2013
In a daring heist following Justin Bieber's concert at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium in May 2013, thieves pulled off a cinematic-style robbery. The criminals, believed to have obtained fake security certificates, infiltrated the stadium's backstage areas, outsmarting the security protocols. They meticulously chiseled through two feet of reinforced concrete to access the vault room, despite hundreds of security guards, multiple cameras, and thousands of potential witnesses within the stadium.
Using ropes to lower themselves through the hole they created, the thieves made off with nearly half a million dollars in cash earnings from the weekend's events. Stadium officials admitted that their employee screening process was relatively lax, making it easier for the criminals to execute their plan. The heist was so well executed that it is suspected to have been in the works for several days before the robbery.
34Foiled Heist of Van Gogh Masterpieces
In 1991, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam faced a near-disastrous heist when four individuals attempted to steal twenty priceless Van Gogh paintings. This daring plot involved one perpetrator hiding in a bathroom stall for hours while others brandished firearms to intimidate guards. Suspicion arose that one of the guards might have been involved in a larger conspiracy. However, the thieves' elaborate plan unraveled when they attempted to switch getaway vehicles, but the second car had a flat tire. In a panicked move, they abandoned the stolen artwork, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and fled.
The robbery ultimately led to the arrest of all four individuals, and the recovered Van Goghs were returned to the museum, where most of them remain on display to this day. Additionally, the incident evoked memories of previous art thefts in the country, such as the 1988 heist involving three Van Gogh paintings, and served as a reminder of the ongoing efforts required to safeguard cultural heritage.
35Unsolved Gardner Museum Heist
In the early hours of March 1990, two cunning thieves, posing as police officers responding to a disturbance call, orchestrated a brazen heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Their audacious theft saw the disappearance of 13 priceless works of art, leaving a void in the museum's collection that remains unfilled to this day. Among the stolen treasures were masterpieces like Johannes Vermeer's "The Concert," Rembrandt's only seascape, "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee," and works by renowned artists such as Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Govert Flinck.
What makes this art heist all the more perplexing is the meticulous selection of stolen artwork, with more valuable pieces left untouched. The FBI, which values the stolen art in the hundreds of millions, has long suspected the involvement of a criminal organization and focused its investigation on the Boston Mafia. However, despite years of probing, numerous theories, and even offers of rewards and reduced prison sentences for information leading to the recovery of the artworks, the identity of the thieves and the fate of the stolen art remain shrouded in mystery. This unresolved case stands as one of the most enduring enigmas in the realm of art theft, leaving both investigators and art enthusiasts with unanswered questions and a lingering sense of loss.
36Impulsive Australians' Bungled Bank Heist
In 2005, Australian friends Anthony Prince and Luke Carroll impulsively decided to rob a bank in Vail, Colorado. Their poorly thought-out plan was plagued with mistakes from the beginning. They wore masks during the robbery but didn't bother to change out of their work clothes, complete with name tags, and their distinct Australian accents raised suspicions. Using realistic-looking BB pistols, they stole over $100,000 in cash. However, their missteps began immediately as they spent the stolen money conspicuously, buying items like a Rolex watch, airline tickets to Mexico, and even tipping a taxi driver $20,000! To add to their audacity, they took photos of themselves with the stolen cash.
Detectives quickly identified the culprits, and it took less than 10 minutes of investigation to apprehend Prince and Carroll. Their lack of planning and conspicuous spending led to the swift resolution of their ill-fated bank robbery scheme.
37Shergar's Mysterious 1983 Kidnapping Case
The Shergar robbery of 1983 stands as one of the most baffling horse-napping cases ever recorded. Shergar, a renowned racehorse known for his exceptional speed, was stolen from the Ballymany Stud in County Kildare, Ireland, on February 8, 1983. Armed men overpowered the stud's staff, kidnapped Shergar, and demanded a substantial ransom. Although the identity of the kidnappers remains unknown, they were suspected to have links to the IRA, aiming to fund their activities. Negotiations between Shergar's owners and the kidnappers failed, and the ransom was never paid. Tragically, Shergar's fate remains a mystery; he was never recovered or seen again.
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38Picasso Masterpieces Heist of 2007
In an art heist back in 2007, two Picasso paintings, valued at a staggering 50 million euros ($66 million), were stolen from the Paris home of Diana Widmaier Picasso, the granddaughter of the legendary Spanish painter. The stolen artworks were "Maya a la poupee" (Maya with a doll) from 1938 and "Portrait de femme, Jacqueline" from 1961. The theft occurred while Diana and a friend were sleeping, and the burglars left no signs of forced entry, leaving the investigation cloaked in mystery.
This theft is not the first time that Picasso's descendants have been targeted. In 1989, Marina Picasso, another of the artist's granddaughters, fell victim to a burglary at her villa in Cannes, France, resulting in the theft of more than $17 million worth of art, including seven Picasso paintings.
39Bizarre Bank Heist: Poisonous Coercion
In a bizarre case that baffled authorities, bank manager John Thomas Forrester, aged 50 at the time, found himself at the center of a peculiar bank robbery in April 2009. Forrester, a seasoned manager at the Bank of Queensland, claimed that Irish revolutionaries had carjacked him en route to work, injected him with a poison, and forced him to rob his own branch. According to his account, the assailants threatened that he would die without an antidote unless he followed their instructions.
Forrester followed their demands and stole $40,000 from the bank. He even left the cash in a backpack, as instructed. However, no further communication came from the supposed criminals. Authorities launched an investigation, which included a blood test to determine if Forrester had indeed been poisoned, but the results were inconclusive. Despite injection marks on the back of his neck and other circumstantial evidence, the police could not definitively prove the poison story. After a lengthy legal battle, John Thomas Forrester was eventually found not guilty. He was allowed to return to his job at the bank, and the mystery of the bizarre bank heist remains unsolved to this day, with the stolen money never recovered.
40Art Pirates Steal Picasso Masterpiece
In the spring of 1999, an enigmatic art theft unfolded, centering around a Picasso masterpiece known as "Buste de Femme 1938." This priceless artwork had been shrouded in secrecy, residing in the personal collection of an affluent art connoisseur who rarely revealed his acquisitions, even to close friends. To safeguard the painting further, it was housed in a locked, alarmed room aboard his opulent yacht, the Coral Island, valued at over £60 million and embellished with a treasure trove of art collectively worth £151 million.
As fate would have it, during the yacht's scheduled maintenance in March 1999, the painting's vulnerability emerged. Stripped of its security system and in the process of being packed for storage, the artwork suddenly disappeared without a trace, slipping through the fingers of its curator. Astonishingly, a few weeks later, another Picasso piece featuring the same model, Dora Maar, vanished from Paris, reinforcing suspicions of an art theft syndicate targeting specific works.
The incident sent ripples of concern through the opulent community of Antibes, where the rich and famous moored their yachts, leading them to bolster their security measures. Despite the owner's offer of a substantial reward, the mysterious art pirate's identity remained elusive, leaving the fate of the stolen masterpiece, which had never been publicly exhibited, shrouded in uncertainty.