Most Known Worldwide Jewelry Heists in History

It has been the case for centuries that criminals are fascinated by the dazzlingness of jewels and cause jewelry heist. Diamonds, jewels, easily transportable stones, all precious materials that can be easily melted and shaped have always been in the focus of criminals. There are many examples of jewelry heists in history. So what did these robbers really stole, where did they steal, and were they caught? Let’s talk about these interesting happenings with real case examples. 

The Green Vault Museum, Germany

It is a major jewelry robbery that took place on 25 November 2019 in Dresden / Germany. About $ 85 million worth of jewelry was stolen. It was the largest treasure collection in Europe. It was stolen from the Green Vault museum in Dresden.

The robbers had to overcome many obstacles to gain entry to the museum, and they succeeded. First of all, they made a map of the museum by observing it very well. They entered the museum by removing the grid of a window on the ground floor of the museum. To enter the main building, they simply broke the museum window.

The police have had some assumptions about the robbers’ robbery strategy. They believe they triggered the fire alarm and disabled the alarms from an electrical junction box near the museum. When the alarm was disabled, the swords, traps, and alarms that protected the most valuable collection became ineffective, making it easier for the robbers. The robbers managed to escape before the police were even aware of the robbery. In the morning hours of the robbery, a burning car was found and thought to have been burned by the robbers to distract.

The Millennium Dome, London

It is a jewelry heist attempted to be carried out in London on November 7, 2020. Jewelry worth about £ 350 million has been attempted to be stolen. It can be said to be one of the largest jewelry heist attempts that history has ever witnessed. And thanks to the possibilities of technological developments, advertisements, movies, TV series, etc., a robbery in the style of James Bond was carried out. But this jewelry heist failed.

Thieves used even gas masks and diggers. The most valuable pieces belonging to the diamond series were tried to be stolen. Although the robbers had made a very successful plan, the police had already been informed that the robbery would be done. Although the robbers tried all kinds of ways, such as sea yachts, tear sprays, gases, etc., they could not escape from the cops. Even if they survived anyway, the entire collection was replaced with fake ones, as the police had prior knowledge.

The Carlton Hotel, Cannes

Although the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes, France has been the target of thieves for years, it witnessed the biggest jewelry heist in its history on 28 July 2013. Jewelry worth 108 million euros was stolen.

The criminals chose the weekend of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival to distract everyone. While everyone is interested in movies, celebrities, and all that glamor, it was never thought that a simply dressed man wearing a cap and a bandana would attempt to steal. Due to the insufficient protection of the hotel, it was very easy to enter the hotel for anyone. The criminal easily accessed the jewelry collection exhibited on the ground floor of the hotel and was easily robbed. He left the hotel comfortably, putting 72 pieces of precious jewelry in a suitcase.

The fact that the robbers made such a dazzling plan so simple and cold-blooded has brought to mind the world’s most famous jewel thieves gang. It was thought that no one other than the Pink Panthers could implement this plan, but it has not been fully proven.

Antwerp Diamond Centre, Belgium

It was the biggest jewelry heist ever to take place at the Antwerp Diamond Center on February 15, 2003. The total amount of robberies is approximately 93 million euros. Besides the amount stolen, the destruction and disorganization left behind by the robbers are also very high.

123 boxes in the Antwerp Diamond Center have been emptied. These boxes were filled with diamonds, gold, precious stones, precious jewels, and many more you can imagine. After the jewelry heist, the robbery plan was also revealed.

It was learned that the robbery was actually planned 4 years before the incident. Leonarda Notarbartolo, one of the thieves, had moved exactly across the building four years ago. Within this 4-year period, they elaborated their plans. Going into the center disguised as a diamond merchant, they discovered all the details of the center and the tricks to know. Although they made such a detailed and successful jewelry heist plan, a sandwich found at the crime scene caused them to be caught due to DNA found on it. 

Harry Winston Store, Paris

It is the jewel heist that took place at the Harry Winston store in Paris on December 4, 2018. Jewelry worth 85 million euros was stolen. It is thought to be carried out by the Pink Panthers, one of the most famous jewel thief gangs in France.

After the robbers entered the store, they suddenly took out the guns and started the robbery by scaring both customers and employees. They filled their bags with the most valuable items, jewelry, watches, and brooches to find in the store. The fact that the robbers addressed the employees by their names made police think that they also received support from within the store. In addition, they knew very well wherein the store and where the hidden safes were placed. Having all this practical knowledge enabled them to empty the store within 20 minutes. They left the building before the police could reach the building, and neither saw nor heard of the 85 million euro jewels.

Graff Diamonds, London

It is a jewelry heist that took place in London on 6 August 2009. Although they were very successful in their plans until the last moment, they were caught by the police at the last minute. It was the robbery of two men taking pictures and posing as customers on August 6, 2009. They entered Graff Diamonds in London and stole about £ 40 million worth of jewelry. The robbers managed to change their identity using professional makeup, wigs, skin tones, and latex prostheses. Stolen jewels remain confidential. However, the robbers could not protect their freedom and were caught.

It is again dedicated to the Pink Panthers as it is one of the other biggest jewelry robberies in British history. After being caught, the robbers claimed that this robbery was actually a music video footage. In order to offer such an excuse, they carried out the robbery with plastic makeup. The robbers entered the store comfortably, hiding their pistols, and stole as many jewels as they could.

During the escape, they changed cars three times. But this situation did not go unnoticed by the careful British police. In this way, they caught the two thieves who carried out the robbery plan and the others who halfway them.

Joeseph Grizzard, “Mona Lisa of Pearls”, London

In 1913 London, Max Mayer was a jeweler who owned one of the extremely rare pearl necklaces. This pearl necklace was extremely elegant and invaluable. It was known as the “Mona Lisa of Pearls”. It continued to be remembered that way until Joeseph caught Grizzard’s attention.

Joeseph Grizzard is a professional jewel thief you would never believe to be a thief if you see it. The necklace was stolen in London. Grizzard was so professional that he was never suspected. In fact, his professionalism was such that he managed to steal the necklace in a sealed box without seeing it as that necklace. Instead of the box he stole, he left the French sugar cube. He signed a jewel robbery that is very difficult to explain.

There was a very interesting detail here that Grizzard never needed money. He had a lot of money and a respectable position in society. Despite this, he was famous for his theft. He claimed he did it just for fun. He was always very sure that the police would know what he did, but that he would not have any evidence to accuse him. To prove this, he even invited the police to his home and asked them to search the necklace. Unable to find the necklace in the house, after the police left the house, Grizzard took it out of the soup bowl in front of him.

Murf the Surf, Jewel Heist of the Century

Jack Roland Murphy, known as Murf the Surf, is a fun-loving, versatile, diverse athlete, traveler, and a quality time lover. And also, stealing jewelry is one of his biggest hobbies. On the night of 29 October 1964, the biggest jewelry heist was carried out.

He stole the Eagle diamond from the Gems and Minerals Hall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In addition to being a very valuable and very expensive stone, it is also historically very valuable. It has been dubbed the “Jewelry Heist of the Century”. Despite this, it does not contain any crime. It contains only lots of jewelry and diamonds. 

Murphy’s observational skills made this robbery much easier. Since the jewelry hall is located on the top floor of the castle and is seen very high, the castle was never thought to be protected from the outside, and Murphy’s attention did not escape from the fact that they left the window of the jewelry hall open every night. Thus, a huge deficit was found for the robbery to be carried out. Although it seems like a stupid plan, it was definitely a plan that worked. Although the robbery part was accomplished successfully, they were caught just as quickly. They were only able to throw 9 big diamonds until they were understood by the police.

Catherine Palace, Russia

It is one of the most interesting heist events in the world. A whole building has been stolen. The Catherine Palace itself has disappeared, along with the paintings, gold, jewelry, and precious stones inside. Inside the palace, the room known as the Amber Room and made of pure jewelry was the main motivation for this heist. 

All-pearl Dress

There are those who remember Lupita Nyong once attending the Oscars in an all-pearl Calvin Klein gown. It was created by combining 6000 real and expensive jewelry. It was literally an invaluable design. At least, it has been thought so. 

But the dress got attention from the wrong angle. Considering the price of the dress, it is an inevitable fact that it will be the favorite of thieves. And indeed, the dress was stolen as soon as Nyong changed it. Posted by Ambert Alert. The thieves took out a few pearls from the dress and sold them. And so it has been understood that pearls are not actually real pearls. Realizing that the pearls were worthless, the thieves left the dress in a black bag in front of the hotel door two days later. An anonymous report to the police also took the police to this bag.

Carlton Hotel Heist

It entered the World Guinness Book of Records and went down in history as the world’s largest jewelry robbery. It took place in August 1994 at the Carlton Hotel. The robbers shooting with machine guns took over Carlton’s jewelry store. They managed to steal jewelry worth £ 30 million. It is also recorded that the thieves are still not caught.

Middle East Raid British Bank Heist

In January 1976, £ 25 million was stolen from the Beirut branch of the Bank of the Middle East, England, by a group of the Palestine Liberation Organization. During a two-day period, the robbers filled trucks with money, gold, jewelry, and stock and went missing.

Avianne & Co, New York

The heist occurred in the famous jewelry store named Avianne & Co in the Manhattan area of New York City, USA. Three armed robbers who entered the store like a customer stole $ 4 million worth of jewelry from the store.

In footage recorded by the security camera of the store, the robbers entered the store with guns and a shopkeeper raised his hands. In the other room, it was seen that another robber leaned under the table and took his gun and pointed it at the employees, then one of the employees got down on his knees. “They threatened us with death,” said store employees, speaking to local media. The police launched an investigation to catch the robbers.

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Savaş Ateş

I like reading books. I like to read about jewelry too. After reading a lot of books about it, I have started to visit jewelry manufacturers and stores. It is my number 1 hobby.

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