Bank robbery has always been a winning plot in movies. In real life, the crime is as outrageous and out of this world just like in the silver screen- just imagine carrying millions of dollars in bank notes, jewelries and cash without being caught, or at least, not a couple of years later. And just the mere masterminding and planning a heist is mind blowing.
Here are the ten biggest bank robberies in history.
10. Dunbar Armored Robbery – $19 million
A popular inside job is the Dunbar robbery of 1997. Allen Pace, regional safety inspector, created a plan of stealing money from LA car depot and recruited conspirators for the heist. The men tampered with the security cameras, overpowered security guards and took home a whopping $19 million and loaded it up in a U-Haul vehicle and drove off. Pace was caught and convicted 24 years in prison.
9. British Bank of the Middle East – £25 million
It was in 1976 that the British Bank of the Middle East was robbed out an outstanding £25 million. The heist happened in Beirut by a group of thieves that are believed to belong to the PLO or Palestine Liberation Organization. The robbers used the Catholic church located just beside the bank and blasted the wall to make an entry right inside bank. Amusingly, it took the men two days of not being caught to take all the loot in the vault, including cold cash, jewelries, notes and gold.
8. United California Bank – $30 million
In 1972, the United California Bank was attacked by seven men headed by Amil Dinsio along with his brothers, friends and cousins. The gang from Ohio broke in the bank and stolen money from its safe deposit vault. James Dinsio, the mastermind’s brother, is an expert in explosives and burglary, which obviously came in handy during the break and entry. The gang blasted the floor to the vault using a dynamite to gain entry. Although not caught for this crime, the crew was caught and apprehended because they operated the same way and robbed a bank in Ohio months later that leads the police to the gang’s headquarters. In today’s valuation, the stolen money is valuated at $100 million.
7. Northern Bank Robbery – $50 million
Located in Ireland, the Northern Bank was taken over by only two men. It took some careful planning to execute the heist. Before the crime, the two men posed as police offers and then abducted two high officials of the said bank and took them hostage. They then took what they wanted from the bank, including $50 million worth of assets.
6. Securitas Depot – £53 million
This is by far the biggest robber in Britain that happened in 2006. Before even stepping inside the premise of the bank, the thieves kidnapped the bank manager and hostage his wife and son. The robbers then used the bank manager as their gateway to enter the bank. Fourteen of the bank workers were tied up and the gang took home £53 million but was later caught and sentenced to prison.
5. Knightsbridge Security Deposit – $66 million
Valerio Viccei is a common outlaw from United Kingdom. He and his crew entered the Knightsbridge Security Deposit in Italy on July 12, 1987 with just the most common bank robbery tactic in the world- entering the premise by posing as customers. The crew took over the guards and security people and casually put up the ‘closed’ sign in front of the door. They get whatever they can get from the safety deposit boxes and took $66 million with them, which is worth about $170 million today. Wanted for over 50 robberies, plus this crime, Viccei was arrested and was sentenced to 22 years in prison. On the day of his release, he was killed by a shootout with the police.
4. Banco Central Bulgary – $95 million
An entire crew of robbers forced their way inside the Banco Central in Bulgary, Brazil. The robbers rented a house within the vicinity of the target premise and dug their way underground and into the bank’s vault. Even with the high-tech sensors and security devices of the bank, the gang managed to tamper with the equipments and even override alarm sensors. They took home 50 bank notes estimated to be $95 million worth.
3. Dar El Salaam Bank – $282 million
This robbery was staged in Bagdad, Iraq on July 12, 2007 and may just be the biggest inside job in bank heist. It was attested by bank workers that they went to work like any regular day and found out that the vault doors are opened and all the money gone- all $282 million of it. It was suspected that it was that the three guards that took home the money and brilliantly staged the robbery. Although a bank located in Iraq, the money stolen was in US currency. It was also believed that the robbers have some sort of conspiracy with the military or police because it is nearly impossible to walk around the city with that big stash of money plus the incident didn’t get the media attention it deserved.
2. Central Bank of Iraq- $1 Billion
This is by far the biggest bank robbery in the world though it doesn’t look much like a heist. Saddam Hussein simply sends his son, Qusay, to make a withdrawal via a handwritten note. The next Coalition troops came bombing Iraq and then there was war. The money withdrawned from the bank were stuffed in boxes in $100 bills denomination and was later on found hidden and tucked inside the walls of one of Huessen’s palace. Almost half of the stolen money was recovered by US forces but the rest remain unrecovered.
1. The Reichsbank Robbery – $3 billion
This heist holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest robbery in the world amounting to $3 billion in stolen assets. The robbery happened in Germany during the culmination of the 2nd World War. Although majority of the stash is not cold cash, but in fact, a foreign bond that amounts to triple its value to today’s valuation.