7 Most Successful Heists in History (& How To Avoid Their Antics)

Apr 12, 2023

Broken security is expensive for companies and upsetting for customers who rely on security to store their valuables.

We examined the biggest robberies in history.

And found the bulwark against any safety deposit heist:

  1. An up-to-date security system and a security guard
  2. Fortified with an appropriate insurance package

It’s risky to focus on one aspect of security while neglecting others.

Need a safety deposit box?

Contact us today to store your valuables in a fortified safe deposit centre. Guarded with qualified guards and a generous insurance package.

1). Central Bank of Iraq Robbery in 2003 – nearly $1 billion stolen  

In 2003, the US invaded Iraq. During this time, nearly $1 billion in cash was stolen.

The US military subsequently recovered $650 million.

The theft was orchestrated by Qusay Hussein, the son of the then-president, Saddam Hussein, who was said to have authorized it.

Qusay was later apprehended and sentenced, while his father, the president, was killed in gun battles.

The incident is contentious, with some not viewing it as a heist but rather as a presidential directive.

However, the nature of this operation marks it as one of the world’s most significant heists of all time.

bank of iraq robbery


2). Banco Central Burglary – $70 Million Estimated (2005)

Burglars established a landscaping business near the Brazilian Central Bank.

Over three months, they tunnelled through 78 metres.

Disabled the security systems and broke through 1.1 metres (3.6 ft) of steel-reinforced concrete to enter the bank vault.

The Brazilian Federal Police made several arrests in connection with this heist and recovered a portion of the stolen money.

Pulling off a heist on a country’s central bank is no small achievement.

It highlights the importance of proactive security

Banco Central Burglary scene


3). Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery 1987- $65 million stolen  

In one of Britain’s most infamous bank heists, Valerio Viccei, with the help of an insider accomplice, robbed the Knightsbridge Safety Deposit Centre.

They successfully stole valuables worth £65 million.

Viccei gained access by posing as a new customer and then held the staff at gunpoint.

Many accomplices were allowed in, breaking into the boxes and carting away valuables.

With enhanced security measures like strobe lights, airlocks, and remote monitoring, such a scale of security breach would be nipped in the bud.

Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery scene


4). Northern Bank Robbery 2004 – $50 million stolen  

This complex and well-planned robbery has been linked by some sources to the IRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army).

The gangs held bank officials hostage and directed operations that enabled the thieves to steal the equivalent of $50 million in cash.

A few individuals have been arrested and tried in connection with this robbery. Yet none of the main perpetrators have been imprisoned.

Classified as an Offences against the State Act, this robbery stands out for its complexity and for surpassing standard security precautions.

In such scenarios, insurance plays a crucial role, often being the customer’s last resort for recouping losses.

Northern Bank Robbery BBC report


5). Brink’s-Mat Robbery 1983 – $32 million stolen  

Gaining an insider’s cooperation is a common tactic in robberies.

In this heist, a gang of 12 members stormed the depot, immobilizing the staff and making off with tonnes of gold, diamonds, and cash valued at $32 million.

Several individuals were arrested for laundering the proceeds from this robbery, which notoriously contributed to London’s Docklands Property Boom.

Remote monitoring serves as a useful deterrent in such situations, as it might be near impossible to predict why an insider would cooperate with criminals.

Additionally, regular security audits can help identify blind spots. Strategically installing panic buttons near all exits, for example, can facilitate quick distress calls.

Brink's-Mat Robbery Theft


6). Banco Rio Robbery 2006 – $20 million stolen  

This Argentina bank robbery remains one of the world’s most audacious heists.  

The group of robbers stormed the bank taking people hostage, while being watched on national TV ordered the police to bring them pizza.  

In the end, the group made off with $20 million in cash and valuables in the bank’s safe deposit box amidst 200 police officers.  

Banco Rio Robbery 2006 scene


7). Dunbar Armoured Robbery 1997- $18.9 million stolen  

One of the most notorious heists in U.S. history occurred in Los Angeles in 1997.

A group of six men executed the heist, stealing approximately $18.9 million from the facility.

The men employed various tactics. Including kidnapping a Dunbar employee’s family and using a fake armoured truck.

The FBI caught and sentenced these robbers to lengthy prison terms.

dunbar heist


Safeguard Your Valuables with Us


You cannot plan enough for the thief.

But with the right security systems and a security guard, you are sure any break-in process will be delayed.

And with the right insurance, you are sure you are fully protected if the worst happens.

Learn more about safety deposit box insurance.

Or contact us now to book an appointment for a box

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