10 Biggest Robberies of The Decade (2000-2010)
This decade has seen some of the biggest, ingenuously planned and brilliantly executed robberies of all times. Some masterminds behind these crimes were caught and some managed to escape. This list comprises of 10 such robberies which tested the professional skills of the security agencies as well as the police.
10. Agricultural Bank of China Robbery – China ($6.7 million)
Agricultural Bank of China
Agricultural Bank of China was robbed by two branch managers employed at the Handan branch of the bank between 16th March 2007 and 14th April 2007. Initially a branch manager Ren Xiaofeng, stole $26,000 in October 2006 and purchased Chinese lottery ticket. Luckily he won the lottery and returned the money to the vault of the bank. Emboldened by his initial success, he shared his plan with another manager, Ma Xiangjing. They decided to do the same crime but on a far larger scale this time. During March and April 2007, the two stole, and spent 4.95 million on lottery tickets. This time they lost the lottery. Scared and frustrated, they attempted another robbery and stole six cash boxes containing a further $ 2.7 million on April 14, spending 14 million in a single day in an effort to recover their losses. Soon the heist was discovered and inquires were set up. Both Ren and Ma were executed in Hebei province on April 1, 2008.
9. Northern Bank Robbery – Belfast, Ireland ($35.33904 million)
Northern Bank Robbery, Ireland
The Northern Bank, Belfast Headquarters was robbed of $35.33 million on 20th December 2004. The families of the two bank officers were took as hostage by the gang members disguised as police officers. The officers were left with no choice but to cooperate with them in this robbery in order to save their families. They admitted the gang members in the bank after business hours. Police in Northern Ireland and Irish republic believe that the IRA stole the Northern bank.
8. Graff Diamonds robbery – London ( $65 million )
Graff Diamond Robbery, London
The Graff Diamonds robbery took place on 6 August 2009 when two men posing as customers entered the Graff Diamonds outlet in New Bond Street, London. They stole jewellery worth nearly $65 million. The thieves stole 47 items of jewelry in 3 minutes, consisting of diamond rings, bracelets, necklaces and wristwatches. The robbers were traced via their cell phone which they left in haste in an abandoned car. Police searched the flats of the robbers and recovered a $789 250 blue diamond ring wrapped in clingfilm and hidden in a pot of face cream. The master mind behind the robbery, Aman Kassaye, was found guilty. On August 7, 2010 he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Three other men Solomun Beyene, Clinton Mogg, and Thomas were each jailed for 16 years after also being convicted of conspiracy to rob.
7. Banco Central Burglary – Brazil (US$69.8 million)
Banco Central Burglary, Brazil
One of the most ingeniously executed executed bank robberies is the Banco Central burglary in Brazil. The bank was robbed on the evening of 21 February 2006. A small gang of burglars tunneled over 250 feet to the bank’s vault from a nearby property. The robbers used a landscaping business as a cover. The tunnel was expertly constructed and was a master piece. They provided sophisticated lighting and an air conditioning system to the tunnel. The strange yet indigenous burglars dug continuously for 3 months before the tunnel was ready to conceive the plan. Police was successful in recovering only $9 million dollars.
6. Kent Securitas Depot – England ($92.5 million)
Kent Securitas Depot Robbery
Kent Securitas Depot robbery took place on the evening of 21 February 2006 when members of a gang kidnapped the family of the depot manager. They also tied up fourteen staff members and successfully stole cash worth $92.5 million. A Securitas employee told the court that one of the robbers shouted “let’s rock and roll” as he called for the others to leave when the lorry was full. Several arrests were made and Emir Hysenaj was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 29 January 2008 with an order that he serve a minimum of 10 years. Stuart Royle, Lea Rusha, Jetmir Bucpapa and Roger Coutts were given life sentences with an order that they serve a minimum of 15 years.
5. Antwerp Diamond Center – Belgium: ($100 million+)
Antwerp Diamond Center Robbery, Belgium
Antwerp Diamond Center is famous for it’s uncut diamonds. This huge heist was executed on 16th February 2003 by a famous professional thief Leonardo Notarbartolo. The heist was so huge that he failed to manage stealing all their booty out of the vault. But still managed to take away 123 of 189 deposit boxes. The robbery was well planned and the plan took years to get executed. It involved at least 4 more people. They had rented office space in the building 3 years earlier, where Leonardo posed as an Italian diamond merchant. This was done to gain trust and credibility and avoid suspicion. Jewels worth $100 million have never been recovered. Notarbartolo is currently serving a 10 year sentence in prison.
4. Harry Winston Diamond Robbery – Paris, France ($108 million)
Harry Winston Diamond Robbery, Paris
The robbery was executed in 2008 in a jewelry store, “Jeweler to the stars” by a gang of 4 thieves who took away jewels worth $108 million. 3 of the robbers were dressed as women, wearing women clothes and wigs. Harry Winston stock fell 9% the next day. The store was robbed the previous year too. Police links the robbery to a huge criminal organization of Yugoslavians but no one is found guilty till date. A $1 million dollar reward is still up for providing any information leading to the arrest of the thieves.
3. Schiphol Airport Heist – Amsterdam ($118 million est.)
Schiphol Airport Heist, Amsterdam
The robbery took place on February 25th 2005 by 4 men who stole a cargo truck of KLM Royal dutch airlines. The got hold of the uniform and executed the robbery to avoid suspicion. By doing this they got an entry into the cargo area and got hold of the uncut diamonds planned to be delivered to Antwerp diamond center. This is the largest diamond robbery. Diamonds with an estimated worth of at least $118 million were stolen. It was the second time in 6 months that the airport terminal had been breached.
2. Millennium Dome Diamond Heist – England ( $267.72 million)
Millennium Dome Diamond Heist, England
Police foiled the attempted theft of $267.7 million worth of diamonds on display at the tourist attraction in south London’s Millennium Dome. The robbers had planned to make their way to the display via a JCB digger. They had planned their escape up the river Thames on a speedboat. Five men were caught and received between 5 and 18-year sentences. One member of the gang had visited the dome prior to the thievery with a video camera, unaware that undercover police was also filming him. Police replaced the diamonds with fake crystals one day prior to the robbery and foiled the robbery on the 7th November 2000. The police operation to catch the robbers was codenamed “Operation Magician”.
1. Dar Es Salaam Bank Robbery – Baghdad, Iraq ($282 million)
Dar Es Salaam Bank Robbery, Iraq
Three guards at a bank in Baghdad made the biggest heist of the decade on 11th July 2007. The robbery took place at the Dar Es Salaam bank which is a private financial institution in the Sa’adun district in central Baghdad. They successfully took away $282 million. The stolen money was in American dollars and not Iraqi dinars. According to an unofficial report, the robbers also took away some $150,000 worth of Iraqi currency. No one is caught till date.