To celebrate the DVD and Blu-ray release of caper thriller Now You See Me this Monday, October 28th, we thought we’d take a look at five of the most incredible heists that remain unsolved to this very day.
The Brooklyn Museum Art Heist
On Saturday 30th April 1933, two thieves (although possibly more) hid in the Brooklyn Museum at closing time, managing to elude eight night watchmen on the premises. They stole ten paintings, including works by Van Dyck and Rubens. The paintings were all smaller works, expertly removed from their frames. The men escaped out of a fourth floor window, using a 60-foot rope tied to a post. This and two fingerprints on the window sill were all that the thieves left behind. Although four of the paintings were later recovered, police never even came close to finding the perpetrators.
The Tucker Cross
In 1955 renowned diver Teddy Tucker located the wreck of the San Antonio – among the treasures discovered was a 22-karat gold cross studded with emeralds. Twenty years later, when Queen Elizabeth II was scheduled to open the new Bermuda Maritime Museum (with the cross inside), the museum staff discovered that the cross had been stolen and replaced with a plastic replica. The original has never been recovered, despite an investigation by Scotland Yard and Interpol.
Japan’s Million Yen Robbery
On 10th December 1968, four Nihon Shintaku Ginko employees in Tokyo were transporting 300 million yen by car when a policeman stopped them with a tip that their car contained explosives. When the men evacuated the vehicle, this “policeman” then jumped in the car and drove away with the money. Despite more than one hundred pieces of evidence – including the fake police motorcycle the thief was driving – the crime scene was useless. Over 100,000 suspects were listed, but the prime suspect (the nineteen year old son of a policeman) committed suicide and there was no trace of the money until after the statute of limitations had been passed. At this point, the boy’s friend was arrested on different charges and found to be in possession of an inexplicably large amount of money – but it was too late to take action. This remains the single largest heist in Japanese history.
The Amsterdam Diamond Heist
In February 2005, two men disguised as KLM employees, driving a KLM car they had stolen two weeks earlier, hijacked a truck carrying diamonds bound for Antwerp. The guards were held at gunpoint and forced to leave the vehicle, in front of witnesses, but there was no bloodshed and the thieves drove away. Investigators soon began to think it was an inside job – the thieves knew exactly when and where to strike, accessing a secured freight area that required a pass-card to enter. The stolen diamonds were estimated at nearly 75 million euros, making this the largest diamond heist in history.
D. B. Cooper
In 1971 an unidentified man, nicknamed ‘D. B. Cooper’ by the media, performed the only unsolved piracy act in American history. Hijacking a Boeing 727, he extorted $200,000 and then parachuted out of the plane with the money somewhere between Portland and Seattle. Neither Cooper’s body, nor the money have ever been recovered, making this heist a favourite among conspiracy theorists.