World’s Costliest Heists

Click through to see some of the world's most expensive robberies.

16 photos
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Jewelry and gold bars
A policeman stands guard by the hi-jacked mail train at Cheddington Station, 40 miles north of London, England after gang members intercepted the Glasgow-to-London mail train on Aug. 8, 1963 and stole over 2.6 million pounds, worth $7.3 million. The heist became known as The Great Train Robbery. Click through to see other famous heists.
In 1990, two men dressed in police uniforms made their way into the Isabella Steward Museum in Boston, tied up the security guards and made off with 13 pieces of art valued at $500 million. Pictured here is the painting "Chez Tortoni" by Manet, one of the works of art stolen by the burglars.
Pictured here is the painting "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" by Rembrandt, another one of the works of art the burglars stole during the Boston heist.
This Edgar Degas painting "Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter" was one of four paintings by major artists which were stolen from the private E.G. Buehrle Collection, in Zurich, Switzerland in 2008. The thieves also took with them a Cézanne, a van Gogh and a Monet, which all together were worth $163 million, accord to The New York Times.
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According to a report in the New York Times on May 6, 2003, Qusay, one of President Saddam Hussein's sons, and an aide organized the removal of nearly $1 billion in cash from the Iraqi Central Bank in the hours just before the war began.
An Iraqi soldier stands guard outside Dar al-Salam Bank in central Baghdad, Iraq on July 12, 2007 after robbers stole about $680,000 from a bank in central Baghdad, police said. The theft at the private Dar al-Salam bank was discovered by the bank manager when it opened in the morning, and suspicions fell on overnight guards, a police official said.
In 2005, a team of thieves wearing KLM uniforms at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam made off with $118 million worth of uncut diamonds intended for a flight to Antwerp. The team drove up to the truck containing the diamonds, took the vehicle at gunpoint and drove away.
Robbers taped over security cameras, disabled the alarm system and broke into the high-security underground vaults of the Diamond Center in Antwerp, the world capital of diamond-cutting, and made away with a loot estimated at $100 million. After prying open 123 of the 160 vaults, the thieves stood ankle-deep in a mess of diamonds, gold, jewelry, stocks, bonds, cash and lockboxes strewn on the vault room floor, police then said. The bounty in the 2003 heist was so abundant that they even left a lot behind, probably because they couldn't carry that much.
In 1983, thieves planned to steal millions of pounds from a Brinks-MAT warehouse at Heathrow Airport in London, England. Instead, they found gold bullion and diamonds inside — so much that the planned 5-minute robbery took the thieves closer to two hours to haul out the gold. The cost of the robbery was roughly $39 million.
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Armed robbers, some dressed in drag, made off with $100 million in loot from Harry Winston in 2008 from a lightning-fast theft in central Paris, in what police called one of France's costliest jewel heists.
Art collector Stephane Breitwieser, suspected of stealing more than 172 art objects and paintings valued at over $1.2 billion, was caught by police in 2011. Many of the treasures, however, may have been destroyed by the suspect's mother. Pictured here are French soldiers searching for art objects in a canal in Gerstheim, France in 2002. Investigators partly emptied the canal between the Rhone and the Rhine rivers to find objects and paintings stolen in different museums around Europe.
A staggering $53 million worth of jewels and diamonds were stolen in July from the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, in one of Europe's biggest jewelry heists recent years. But, surprisingly, this wasn't the first robbery from the Carlton Hotel in Cannes...
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In 1994, $60 million worth of jewels and diamonds were stolen from the Carlton in Cannes, France. Three masked men entered the jewelry store, shooting machine guns (though later discovered they were shooting blanks), and took the jewels. The perpetrators were never apprehended and the jewelry never found.
Jimmy Burke, who died in 1996, was one of New York's legendary gangsters and suspected mastermind of the 1978 Lufthansa Airport heist that netted a record $5.8 million in cash. Burke reportedly bought dozens of red roses every Mother's Day from a Rockaway Boulevard florist and then toured the homes of his jailed Luchese crime family pals, providing their mothers with a bouquet and a kiss. Burke is seen here handcuffed by police in New York, in this April 1979 file photo.
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In 2002, thieves stole $12 million worth of prized historic diamonds from a museum in The Hague, Netherlands. It was never discovered who stole the jewels from 6 of the 28 cases, as the museum was under 24-hour video surveillance, motion-detection, and had armed guards. Although only valued at $12 million, included in the heist was a wedding gift given by King William III to Queen Mary II of England in the 1600s, which means many consider the heist to have been priceless.
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