Money is a very crucial tool in human life. Therefore, it is not difficult to think that millions of people have a dream of “making money the easy way”. However, throughout history, there have been many people who want to make this dream come true: bank robbers! Moreover, some bank robberies have been the subject of many films and literary works with their unusual stories. Because some of these thefts involved huge tunnels, explosives, kidnappings, and many more unusual items that were the product of extensive human labor! Here are the top 5 most important bank robberies in history.
1. The Baker Street bank robbery
To date, many bank robberies have inspired many films or literary works. But there are also bank robberies that take inspiration from literary works! The story “Redhead Club”, written by Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the famous fictional character Sherlock Holmes, inspired an unusual bank robbery that took place in London, the capital of England, almost 80 years after its publication. On Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes also lived!
In 1971, 3 friends realized that the Lloyds Bank branch on Baker Street had a very interesting feature. The security system in the bank’s safe deposit box was constantly triggering “false alarms” due to the road work on the street. That’s why it’s temporarily disabled. Realizing this security weakness, the robbers rent a shop near the bank, just like in the story called The Red Hair Club…
The thieves dug a 15-meter tunnel from the store they rented, which led directly to the bank’s vault room. Naturally, the robbers, not content with just digging tunnels, managed to get to the bank’s security department. Moreover, despite the fact that the police knew about the attempted robbery! An amateur radio operator living near the bank branch accidentally witnessed the thieves’ radio conversations and reported the situation to the police. However, during the examination by the police teams, the bank’s vault room, filled with money, valuables, and jewels, seemed completely safe. Thereupon, the robbers were able to leave the bank with a large fortune that is worth $51 million today. However, they were soon caught. Because when they rented the shop near the bank, they used their real names!
2. The United California Bank robbery
A robbery team of 6, led by a man named Emil Dencio, carried out a very sensational bank robbery on March 24, 1972 in California, United States. The theft included a political bribery scandal, skateboard repair equipment, and lots of dynamite…
In 1972, the name of Richard Nixon, then President of the United States, was embroiled in a major bribery scandal. Nixon allegedly illegally raised $30 million for his campaign. The money was kept at the United California Bank in California!
Deciding that stealing Nixon’s ill-gotten money wouldn’t be such a bad thing, the robbers hatched an elaborate plan. The robbers successfully disable the bank’s security system, thanks to a type of foam used to repair surfboards. And by using a lot of dynamite to make a hole in the roof of the bank! The robbers, whose plans worked flawlessly, managed to disappear with $12 million, although they didn’t remove all of the dirty money allegedly belonging to Nixon from the bank. It was the largest bank robbery ever committed in the United States. Of course, this major theft did not go unnoticed by the FBI, and the thieves were caught soon after.
3. The North Bank Robbery
In December 2004, two senior employees of Northern Bank in Ireland had a weekend they would never want to remember! CEOs Chris Ward and Kevin McMullan taken hostage by thieves! Moreover, the robbers would express to the managers that if they did not provide the support they needed for the bank robbery, they would kill their family members!
That’s why Chris Ward and Kevin McMullan started their shifts as if nothing had happened. The two managers left the thieves alone with an open safe that same evening, after the branch had closed. The robbers left the bank with about $42 million. However, despite 18 years, the thieves were not caught.
4- Robbery of the British Bank of the Middle East
One of the biggest bank robberies in history occurred in 1976 in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. A group of bank robbers, who wanted to take advantage of the chaotic environment during the Civil War, dynamited the walls of the British Bank of the Middle East. Locksmiths skilled in opening safes opened the safes, and the thieves disappeared, along with $20 to $50 million in gold bars, stocks, and large sums of money and precious jewelry. Although the British media claimed that the robbery was carried out by the Palestine Liberation Army, the perpetrators of the theft have not yet been found.
5. The Banco Central robbery
In 2005, the Brazilian city of Fortaleza also witnessed a very interesting bank robbery. The thieves, supposedly working on behalf of an artificial turf company, rented a building near Banco Central Bank. After 3 months of effort, the robbers managed to get into the bank by digging a 70-meter tunnel and disappeared with an incredible amount of $70 million.
However, this bank robbery story did not end well, especially for Luis Fernando Ribeiro, who led the robbery team. Ribeiro was kidnapped two months after the theft. His family paid a ransom of $890,000 for Ribeiro’s release. But Ribeiro was killed by his captors!
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