6 of the most intriguing unsolved heists of all time

Can you figure out the ones that got away?

WE ALL LOVE a mystery, don’t we?

Unsolved heists from throughout history bring out the amateur detective in all of us. Surely if we just have one more look, we can figure out how it was all done?

Well, you won’t know if you don’t try. Take a look at these mysterious, daring robberies and see if you can find the piece of the puzzle that has eluded so many for so long…

1. Irish Crown Jewels

Called the “Irish Crown Jewels”, the jewelled regalia of the Order of St Patrick were stolen from Dublin Castle in 1907, along with the collars of the five knights of the Order. The jewels have never been recovered, and the thief never caught.

The jewels were stored in a safe and intended to be kept in a newly constructed strongroom in the Castle. However, the safe was too large for the room and had to be temporarily stored in the  office of the Ulster King of Arms, Arthur Vicars. Seven keys to the Office of Arms were held by Vicars and his staff. Vicars had both keys to the safe – but was known to regularly get drunk on overnight duty.

The jewels were last seen on the 11th of June 1907 and discovered missing on the 6th of July.

Derry O'Brien / Network IRL TV Derry O'Brien / Network IRL TV / Network IRL TV

2. The Tucker Cross

Bermuda’s greatest unsolved mystery – the Tucker Cross. Named after the diver who discovered it in 1955, Teddy Tucker, the Cross was one of the greatest pieces of lost treasure ever discovered. Studded in emeralds and made of 22 karat gold, it was believed to be from the wreckage of a Spanish galleon ship that sunk in 1594.

In 1975, the Cross was being moved in preparation for a visit from Queen Elizabeth II – but at some point during the move it was stolen and replaced with a plastic replica. There were no suspects and the Tucker Cross has never been recovered.

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3. The Gardner Art Museum Heist

As the city of Boston prepared itself for St Patrick’s Day in 1990, a pair of thieves snuck into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and stole 13 works of art – including several Rembrandts, a Vermeer, Degas drawings and a Manet. Altogether the stolen pieces come to an estimated loss of $500million, making it the largest private property theft ever.

The selection of works stolen puzzled authorities and experts, since more expensive artworks were passed by (including two Raphaels and a Botticelli). Several empty frames hang in the museum, in homage to the missing works and as place-holders for when they are returned. None of them have yet been recovered, or any arrests made.

theconrer The stolen Vermeer painting, called The Concert Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons

4. The 300 million yen robbery

In December of 1968, employees of the Nihon Shintaku Ginko were transporting 294, 307, 500 yen (about $817,520 at the time of conversion) in the trunk of a company car. The money was intended to be bonuses for the employees of Toshiba’s Fuchu factory. The car was stopped by a young uniformed officer on a police motorcycle, who warned them that their branch manager’s house had been blown up and that there was possibly a bomb in their car.

The “police officer” crawled under their car, lit a flare to fake a fire, and called to the employees, telling them the car was about to explode. As the employees fled, the “police officer” got in and drove away with the money.

120 pieces of evidence were left at the scene of the crime – however, the evidence was mostly irrelevant everyday items, left on purpose to complicate the police investigation. No one was ever arrested in connection with the heist, and despite the fact that the criminal and civil statute of limitations has run out on the case, no one has ever come forward to tell the tale.

yen A photo-fit of the suspect released by the police after the robbery Tofugu.com Tofugu.com

5. The Great Plymouth Mail Truck Robbery

At the time, in 1962, the Great Plymouth Mail Truck Robbery was the largest cash heist of all time. It occurred on the 14th of August – two gunmen stopped a US Mail truck that was delivering $1.5million in small notes from Cape Cod to the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston.

The robbers were, again, dressed as police officers. They were armed with sumachine guns and tied up the driver and guard of the truck before driving away and dropping the money in several places. Four men and one woman were tried for the robbery, but one disappeared before the trial and the rest were acquitted of all charges.

Rarenewspapers.com Rarenewspapers.com

6. The Antwerp Diamond Heist

In a tale that could be something from an Ocean’s Eleven film, more than $100million worth of loose diamonds, gold and other jewellery was stolen from the Antwerp Diamond Centre in the city’s gem district in 2003 over a period of one weekend.

However, the Schipol Airport Diamond Heist in 2005 eclipsed the Antwerp incident. Two thieves took control of a KLM airline van to gain airside access to Schipol’s cargo terminal. They stole stones worth up to €75million. The investigation is ongoing, with suspicion of insider help, and the thieves (and the gems) have not yet been found.

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If you love tales of stolen art, but prefer them with a happier outcome, you’ll enjoy the incredible true story of the WWII-era Allied Monuments Men. Their amazing tale of bravery and friendship is told in the forthcoming movie, The Monuments Men, dealing with their hunt to return priceless artworks stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners.

See it in cinemas on the 14th of February and check out the trailer below.


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