Top 10 Biggest Bank Robberies, With A Few Still Unsolved

Tags: #Crime ,   #IRA ,   #Criminal ,   #Robbery

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2023-11-15 08:38:00

The robberies have a long history, and it's impossible to count them. However, some heists have been so large that they can be enlisted as the biggest ever. Most of these thefts required extended and rigid planning but also long and hard manual labor to be put in it. In the end, the goal was the same - get away with loads of money. So let's take a look at the top ten biggest robberies ever!

10. All You Need Is a Belt Camera

Camera lens cover with Canon logo.
Sometimes, all you need is a belt camera (Photo: arvndvisual/

The night before the large heist in Securitas depot in 2006 in Tonbridge, Kent, England, the robbers kidnapped the manager's family. The unlucky man was forced to let the thieves in as otherwise, they would kill them. Hence, when they entered the offices, they overcame the security and tied up the employees. However, none of the hostages were injured, just severely shaken from the gun threat.

The robbers took off with around $83 million, as they couldn't load more in the van. Later it was discovered that they had an inside man, an employee who filmed the depot with a belt camera. The police made 30 arrests connected to this crime. 

9. You Can't Expect From IRA To Take a Blame For Your Crimes

Opened deposit box in a bank safe.
Christmas time is family time, but some use it for robbery (Photo: Klarinette71/

In 2004 the biggest heist ever in Northern Ireland was pulled off, with the Northern Bank in Belfast robbed for $41 million. It was a week before Christmas, and the whole city was in the holiday's spirit while the well-organized gang began accomplishing their plan.

They took two bank officials' families as hostages, making them work as usual and letting them into the bank after working hours. The robbers loaded the van two times and took off with the money. This case is still unresolved, as nobody was sentenced for the crime. However, the media linked the IRA to the event, despite them denying it.

8. Train Robbery in Wild West Style

A gas-powered locomotive going over snow-covered track.
This Wild West-style robbery occurred in England (Photo: WikiImages/

In 1963 the group of 15 men robbed the train in Wild West style. This was in the UK, as the group manipulated the railroad signals and stopped the composition heading from Glasgow to London. They all had knit masks as they overpowered the train's security. They committed the larceny in 15 minutes, taking off with around $7 million, which is equivalent to a bit over $54 million today. 

After the robbery, the participants hid on the farm, which was later found by the police. On accounts of the evidence discovered in their hideout, 11 members were arrested and sentenced. 

7. All They Needed Was a Match…And a Can of Petrol

A hand holding a burning match.
Sometimes, all the thieves need is a match (Photo: Pavlofox/

In 1983 six men robbed Brink's Mat warehouse in London. They came to steal around $5 million and left the place with $41 million in gold, cash, and jewelry. As it was later discovered, the gang entered the guarded warehouse with a security member's help. Once inside, they poured petrol on the staff and threatened to lit the match if they refused to give them the vault's combination. 

After they got away, the gang melted the gold adding the coins to disguise the precious metal's origin. After the heist, two men were convicted for the robbery. In 2015 part of the gang was arrested for Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary. The fascinating thing is that elderly people did the job, which inspired the movie "King of Thieves." 

6. When Guards Help Themselves

An old security guard on the moving steps.
The security guards are there to prevent the robbery, but sometimes they get confused (Photo: RyanMcGuire/

In 2007 the war was raging in Iraq, so some people have used that to their advantage. The private bank Dar Es Salam in Baghdad was robbed, and the thieves took around $282 million. However, this heist is a bit unclear, as the details were kept from the public. Hence, all we know is that apparently, the guards were involved. 

So the following day, when the employees came to work, the bank doors were open, the money gone, and the guards disappeared. Allegedly, they had help from the Military; otherwise, they wouldn't be able to get away from the city and never be found. 

5. Gone In With a Blast

A cartoon explosion illustration.
During the war, it's easy to cover up the explosion blast (Photo: OpenClipart-Vectors/

It was 1976, and in Lebanon, the civil war was erupting, so is there a better time to blast something out? The robbers used explosives to demolish the next-door church's wall to enter the British Bank of the Middle East. Moreover, they were well-prepared, so the team had a lockman, obviously capable one, as they took $20-50 million. 

The heist was a total success, as the load was never found, with nobody arrested for the crime. Moreover, they took cash, gold bars, jewels, stocks, and other valuables whose worth would be tripled today. 

4. A Little Slipup And You're Behind the Bars

Different US dollar notes.
A slight mistake can lead to life behind bars (Photo: NikolayFrolochkin/

The Dunbar armored truck company had one unsatisfied and conniving safety inspector. In 1997, Allen Pace III orchestrated what is known as the biggest cash heist in the United States. He took detailed photos of depo in Downtown Los Angeles and learned its employees' habits during his shifts. Also, he knew the place so well that he could avoid security cameras and identify which bags have non-sequential bills.

So teaming up with five of his childhood friends, he stole $18.9 million. They were careful and, before the robbery, secured themselves an alibi. Moreover, they started to launder the money six months after the heist. However, two years later, one of the members gave his real estate broker cash with the original branded currency strap. So the jig was up, and they all ended up in jail. 

3. Persistence and Determination 

A tunnel with stone walls.
It took them three months to dig up the tunnel (Photo: kobitriki/

It was May 2005, and a group of men posing as landscapers started their job. Business took a long time with lots of planning, and most of all, patience and persistence. Hence, they rented a house two blocks from the Banco Central at Fortaleza and began digging a 56 ft long tunnel. It took them three months to reach the bank's vault. 

The robbers hit the goal on Friday, August 6, 2005, after working hours. Hence, they took their time to collect over $71.6 million in local currency or 3.5 tons of money. Of 25 criminals involved in the heist, just eight were arrested. Yet, just a bit more than 10% of the money was recovered by the police.

2. His Love For Ferrari Got Him Arrested

Red Ferrari F12 Berlinetta car.
Sometimes, passion for the cars can get you arrested. At least that was the case with Valerio Viccei (Photo: Toby_Parsons/

In 1987 the robbery in Knightsbridge Security Deposit in Kent, England, occurred. Thus, the thieves got off with £60 million, equivalent to around $98 million in today's value. They have entered under the pretense of renting the safety deposit box and overcame the security. Afterward, they put up the sign that the office is temporarily closed and let the rest of the members in. 

After the heist, the police discovered a bloody fingerprint belonging to the Italian Valerio Viccei, known for his lavish lifestyle. Still, he already took off to Latin America. However, later he returned to England to collect his new Ferrari and ship it to his new home when police arrested him. 

1. My Daddy Said Gimme Money

Piles of US dollars.
My daddy said gimme money! (Photo: PublicDomainPictures/

Back in 2003, times were dangerous in Iraq, as the country was at war with the United States. However, we can say a hilarious bank robbery took place just moments before the first bombs hit Baghdad. Hence, the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein sent his son Qusay and one trusted associate to the Iraqi Central Bank to withdraw over $920 million. 

Just to explain, why do we think it's funny? Well, his son entered the bank with a note from Saddam, but what did he say to the clerk? Was it: My daddy said gimme money?!? This is the only sentence we could imagine, not saying that we know Qusay's exact words. Nevertheless, they gave the cash, no questions asked. The eyewitnesses say they need a few hours to load it into the trucks.

So, as you can see, some robbers on our top ten list aren't afraid of hard work, as they for sure made a lot of effort to complete their plans! Moreover, to some of them, hard work has paid off. However, every criminal must be brought to justice to face his crimes, no matter how creative he is. 

Have you ever heard about these heists? Have you heard of some smaller robbery that had a unique plan? Please, write your comments below. 

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