- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 10 November 2015, 4:57PM
1. Banco Central in Fortaleza, Brazil
A group of robbers posed as landscapers dug an underground tunnel to this bank in August 2005. They stole 164,755,150 Brazilian reais, or $69.8 million, by breaking through the bank’s steel-reinforced concrete. The robbers are still at large and the money was never recovered.
2. Bank of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
Historians call it America’s first bank robbery. In the summer of 1798, the criminals made off with $162,821. While the real culprits, Isaac David and Thomas Cunningham, were eventually caught, authorities originally arrested and charged blacksmith Patrick Lyon with the crime. Lyon later wrote a book about his false imprisonment.
3. United California Bank in Laguna Nigel, California
Amil Dinsio—dubbed “America’s greatest bank burglar” by the FBI—teamed up with his brothers in perpetrating this daring $30 million heist. The burglars were able to break through the reinforced walls of the bank vault by using dynamite. It’s believed that $12 million of the stolen cash was dirty money from the Nixon administration. Dinsio, who was eventually tried and convicted, claimed the FBI falsified evidence against him. In 2013, he wrote his own book detailing the crime.
4. Bank of America at the World Trade Center in New York City
Tightened security at the World Trade Center couldn’t stop three robbers from nabbing $1.6 million at the Bank of America inside one of the towers. The men wore ski masks and had a gun they used to steal the cash from security guards at the currency exchange in the building. It was also an inside job, as one of the culprits worked for the World Trade Center.
5. Savings Bank in Ashville, Ohio
This heist numbers among the “greatest” heists for being so ludicrous. When John Mogan and his girlfriend Ashley Duboe stole thousands of dollars from an Ohio bank in August 2015, authorities had a tough time finding them. That all changed when the crooks, in an act of remarkable hubris, snapped photos of themselves holding the cash and posted them on Facebook. Authorities nabbed these two criminal masterminds handily.
6. ABM Amro Bank in Brussels, Belgium
A man going under the alias of Carlos Hector Flomenbaum pretended to be a business customer of the ABM Amro Bank for a year. The man charmed the bank’s staff with chocolate and other goodies. This earned him a key to the vault. (I know Belgium has good chocolate, but is that really all it takes?) He then proceeded to steal $28 million in diamonds. He’s never been caught.
7. Bank on Sutter Street in San Francisco
In 2014, a man dressed as Santa Claus robbed a bank when he passed a note to the teller demanding cash. But the best part of the heist was his escape plan. The man fled down the street where the giant SantaCon gathering was taking place and disappeared into a sea of Santas. He’s never been found.
8. The British Bank of the Middle East in Beirut, Lebanon
This heist lasted an entire week during January 1976, and that’s not even the most epic part. With Lebanon’s police distracted by a civil war, the Palestinian Liberation Organization teamed up with Lebanon’s Christian Phalange and blasted through the wall of a nearby church to break into the bank. They stole $210 million in valuables from the safety deposit boxes, executed a getaway to Switzerland, and sold back the valuables to the owners at a profit of $50 million-$100 million.
9. Bank of America in Canyon Country, California
In 2012, a group of bandits used handguns to rob a bank in California. The police caught up with their getaway vehicle in an epic 80-minute car chase through downtown Los Angeles that culminated with the suspects throwing the money out of the car window. The car chase ended because of traffic.
10. Iraq’s Central Bank in Baghdad
Regarded as one of the biggest bank heists in history, nearly $1 billion in cash vanished from the Central Bank hours before the start of the 2003 Iraq War. None other than Saddam Hussein was behind the robbery. On the eve of the war, the Iraqi dictator gave his son Qusay a handwritten note instructing him to steal the money, which they carried off in flatbed trucks.