The heisters or the "super criminals" always come with rare talents—they are always extraordinarily disciplined, organized, and above all, discreet. While so many people play, so few manage to be pros. Unlike common street criminals who are desperate and lack self-control, these heisters know that bragging about an uber-crime will lead to jail time.
It's due to these characteristics that why people fancy these folks, and that's probably the reason why big crime heists are still a favorite Hollywood motif—be it the "Italian Job" or "Ocean's 11". Well, you will admire the ballsy criminals more after you read about some of world's most successful bank robberies.
Top 10 Successful Bank Robberies
British Bank of the Middle East: The “Brute” Force
You just cannot ignore this bank heist because it continued for a week during Beirut's Civil War. On Jan. 20, 1976, a group associated with the Palestine Liberation Organization used special force and stole $210 million from the British Bank of the Middle East. The gang broke the wall, which the bank shared with a church and used the help of Corsican locksmiths to access safety deposit boxes.
Brink’s MAT Warehouse: The “Fiery” Robbery
You can keep the Brink's MAT robbery in the list of the most notorious yet successful bank robberies of all time. It occurred on November 26, 1983 when six men broke into the company's bank facility at Heathrow Airport and took $30 million worth of diamonds, gold bullion and cash. Anthony Black was the security guard at the facility, and helped pull off this heist with other conspirators who entered the facility, disabled the guards by dousing them in gasoline and threatening to set them on fire if they wouldn't cooperate. One of the robbers, Micky McAvoy, was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and Black was sentenced to six years only for disclosing details of security measures.
Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery: The “Italian” Work
Valerio Viccei was the mastermind behind the heist that took place on July 12, 1987 and resulted in a robbery involving $66 million, worth about $154.7 million as of today. Valerio and his associates entered the facility, pretending to be customers. They overpowered the guards and put up a closed sign before they started cleaning out the safety deposit boxes. Valerio was finally arrested and received 22 years of sentence in an Italian jail. He was killed during a police shoot-out in 2000, just a day before his release from prison.
Dunbar Armored Robbery: The “Inspector's” Conspiracy
The robbery occurred in 1997and was so successful because it was an inside job by regional safety inspector, Allen Pace. He made a plan with other conspirators and shared photographs of the interior of the Los Angeles car depot to make this heist possible. His men dodged the security cameras, tied up all the guards and made off with $19 million in a U-Haul truck. Allen Pace was finally caught and sentenced to 24 years in prison. Almost half the money is yet to be recovered.
Loomis Fargo and Company: The “Driver” Plan
The company witnessed an enormous heist in 1997 in Florida. Philip Noel Johnson, who was the armored car driver of the company, overpowered his co-workers and made off with $18 million. He stashed all the money in a storage shed in North Carolina and moved to Mexico City. He was caught at a U.S. border when crossing to Mexico and later sentenced to 25 years in jail.
Central Bank of Iraq: The “Family” Business
In 2003, a note signed by Saddam Hussein served as the ultimate weapon for a robbery worth $1 billion. He made his son Qusay, who got killed by the U.S. military later during the Iraq war, to withdraw the money while identifying them as “security money”. Most of the money was recovered afterwards, which was found in the walls of the palace, but hundreds of millions are yet to be found.
Northern Bank Robbery: The “Family” Love
You won't find a robbery with larger takes than the ones involved in this "unsolved" heist that happened in December of 2004 and resulted in the loss of 30 million pounds sterling. The gang of criminals made friends with two bank officials, held their family members hostage, and made off with millions in cash. The investigation is still in progress.
Banco Central in Fortaleza: The “Underground” Work
You can call this an innovative approach that resulted in one of the most successful bank robberies in the world. Took place in 2005 in Brazil, the thieves pulled it off by digging a 260-foot tunnel, equipped with wood-paneled walls and electric lights, leading from a house to Banco Central. They took $79.1 million over the weekend, so the authorities couldn't discover it until Monday, which gave these thieves a chance to run away with money. More than 40 arrests were made, including the criminal mastermind Antonio de Araujob, but only $8 million was recovered.
Securitas Depot Robbery: The “Cash Cage” Hostages
This is another one of the most successful bank robberies that ever happened. This was the largest cash robbery in England at that time, which took place in 2006. A gang of robbers kidnapped and threatened the family members of the bank's manager to gain access to the bank. They tied up 14 staff members and stole about $92 million. After they had their bank notes, they left all the hostages in cash cages. They were eventually caught with money recovered in full.
Dar El Salaam Bank Robbery: The “Guards” at Work
This modern-day heist took place in 2007 when guards at the Dar Es Salaam Bank fled with $282 million. The police believed that an official at the Interior Ministry was also involved in the robbery, but nothing confirmed that. The guards were arrested soon with most of the money.