We’ve all seen Ocean’s Eleven and enjoyed the heist nature of the movie. Things like that seem like they only happen on the silver screen. But, in reality, there are plenty of similar heists that take place in real life, and have shaped the security put in place by Thrills Casino. Many of these crimes have to be seen to be believed. Here are seven real-world heists that put Ocean’s Eleven to shame, and will drop your jaw!
Cool Hand Vincenzo
Even the name of this heist that cool rock n’ roll feel about it. In 1911 Vincenzo Peruggia pulled off what many people now refer to as the ‘crime of the century’. The Italian started working in the Louvre and encountered Da Vinci’s famed painting the Mona Lisa. Peruggia became obsessed with returning the Mona Lisa to her rightful country, Italy. So he put in weeks and months of planning, research and preparation, and decided he would steal it.
He stayed in the museum overnight on the Sunday, as it was closed for repairs on the Monday. In the morning he emerged from hiding and took the painting down, hiding it in some fabric. It’s then the genius part of his crime came in. He proceeded to an exit but it was locked, so he ripped off the door handle. Why? Well…. He convinced a plumber working there that the handle had been stolen, and the plumber let him out. The balls on the guy! Vincenzo would have made a great Poker player!
Anyway, back in Italy things didn't go according to plan for our hero thief. The authorities slapped him in prison after authenticating it. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre, and Vincenzo spent a short time in the slammer.
Celebrities come in all shapes and sizes. Predominantly actors, musicians, and athletes are seen as celebrities. But, how about art thieves? No. Well, in that case, someone forgot to tell Stephane Breitwieser! The Frenchman was responsible for many high-profile art thefts between 1995 and 2001. He stole works of art all in all totalling $1.4 billion!
Stephane’s first theft came when visiting a Swiss castle with his then girlfriend. He removed a painting from the wall and managed to get away with it. This clearly fuelled what was to become an addiction for Breitwieser. For almost six years, he, and his companion stole 239 works of art from 172 museums! The most incredible thing of all is that Stephane was not stealing for monetary gain; rather, for his own personal collection. Indeed, at his trial, he could still recall every single piece of art he had stolen, and interrupted proceedings to correct details.
It all went wrong when Breitwieser’s ego got the better of him. He was seen stealing a bugle from a Swiss museum, and then apprehended when staking out the same place again! Come on Stephane! Our intrepid thief was sentenced to a paltry three years in jail and served only 26 months. Since his release, he has become an international celebrity and penned a best-selling book.
There are probably very few heists in history as straightforward as this one. Our gang of thieves were looking to target the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. The heist was planned for Christmas Eve intentionally, as they figured the festivities would get on top of security. They figured right.
There was no CCTV working in the museum, and no electronic codes or doors to override. Security guards were phoning it in, and they had memorised the floor schematics. The stage was set. After making their way into the basement of the museum they filled their pockets, and bags presumably, then up and vanished.
Surprisingly they managed to pull off what, at that time, was referred to as the largest single theft of precious objects ever. The story was not reported for three days, due to the festive period. And the thieves have never been caught. This has got to go down as one of the most successful heists of all time.
John Brown, Abolitionist
John Brown was one of those guys who didn't do things by halves. What mere mortals feared, John Brown laughed in the face of. He was an abolitionist who ignited slave uprisings. You'd think that would make him a wonderfully upstanding chap, right? Wrong. Whether or not it was his intent, John used an 1859 slave uprising as a diversion to raid the US Arsenal.
At this time, and in the climate of an uprising, you can imagine they were probably packing quite a lot of heat. Among the weapons were pistols and sword belonging to George Washington, it’s likely these were his intended prize. After hiring a mercenary to extract the loot, Brown and his men then recovered it, and took hostages.
Unfortunately, Brown’s actions attracted the wrong kind of attention. The militia tooled up and came for him, and he was eventually vanquished. But his actions earned him a hero’s death. He died a martyr and is considered responsible for the start of the Civil War, and he had a song written about him, just like Jayne in Firefly. We reckon John Brown would be pretty happy with that.
The Name’s Worth, Adam Worth
You want to talk criminal masterminds? Welcome to the Mack daddy of all criminals, Adam Worth. He was referred to by Scotland Yard as the ‘Napoleon of the crime world’. He was a genius who happened to use his “superpowers” for the dark side, not the light.
One of Worth’s biggest heists was when he stole half a mill in uncut stones in South Africa. After breaking into a Cape Town Post Office safe, he found the diamonds were not there. But, he knew where they would eventually be. So, like all good thieves should, Worth bided his time and hid. He interrupted the shipment so the stones would have to be stored in the Post Office safe. Then he was ready to head back in and steal them for himself.
All told, he skipped town with around $700,000 worth of treasures and made for the safety of Australia. As you can see, Adam certainly proved his Worth! In fact, it’s rumoured that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his arch Sherlock Holmes villain Moriarty on Worth.
George Leonidas Leslie was a famed Manhattan bank robber who shot to infamy in around 1869. He and his crew ‘The Leslie Gang’ were, in their prime, thought to be responsible for eighty per cent of bank heists in the United States! The feather in their cap was the Manhattan Savings Institution.
This was a job that was years in the making. George and his crew pored over blueprints, set up replica vaults to practice with, and even got jobs in the bank. They knew the security inside and out, never met publicly, and all wore disguises. It’s fair to say these guys were professionals. They put Danny Ocean and his motley crew to shame.
The problem is it all went horribly wrong, as these things so often do. George was terrified his crew would double-cross him, so planned to double-cross them first. Unfortunately, they decided he'd become a liability, and decided to take him out. They then robbed the bank without him, and took away a total that would have equated to $50 million today!
The Crown Jewels
Thomas Blood was a working assassin for hire and built up a good reputation for himself. He then decided he was going to branch out, and get some more irons in the fire. The Irishmen, never one to ease his way in, decided he would steal the Crown Jewels of the Queen of England. This is about as easy as trying to kill Godzilla armed with a Twix.
But, not to be deterred, Blood came up with a cunning plan. He went to visit the Tower of London with a woman posing as his wife. He then bluffed his way through the conversation and returned a few days later. His pretence was to offer his nephew to the daughter of Keeper of the Jewels Talbot Edwards. Of course, there was no nephew! He returned with a fake nephew and a posse of armed men and proceeded to steal the jewels.
Everything was going swimmingly until Edwards’ son popped in for a visit, and Blood was forced to flee on horseback. He was caught by guards and brought before King Charles II. Staggeringly the King pardoned him, and gave him a pension in the form of some land in Ireland! Can you imagine that happening now?! Ridiculous scenes!