'Ocean's' Inspiration: Greatest Real-Life Heists of All Time

Two men entered the Knightsbridge Security Deposit and requested a safe deposit box. When the bank manager showed them the box, the two drew handguns and subdued the bank manager and security guards. After letting in additional accomplices, the thieves made off with $66 million (current inflation-adjusted value of $111 million) in cash and personal possessions from the safe deposit boxes. Several members of the crew were later apprehended after police recovered a fingerprint of one of the robbers.

The Mark: The Securitas Cash Management Depot, Tonbridge, England, 2006

The Take: $92.5 million in bank notes

Two men posing as police officers abducted an unsuspecting depot manager, while two other members of the crew, also posing as police, arrived at the cash depot manager's home and told his wife and son that the manager had been in an accident. Both the bank manager and his family were driven to a farm in west Kent. The gang then brought the depot manager and his family to the depot, where they threatened and subdued 14 members of the depot staff, loaded more than £53 million (about $92.5 million) into a truck, and drove away. More than 30 people have been arrested in connection with the robbery and a handful have been formally charged with conspiracy and kidnapping.

The Mark: Antwerp World Diamond Center, 2003

The Take: More than $100 million in gems

As the staff of the Antwerp World Diamond Center was relaxing during their weekend days off, they were completely unaware that highly skilled thieves were breaking into 123 of the center's 160 vaults to steal more than $100 million worth of gems and documents verifying the gems' value. Months before the break-ins, a small crew had rented an office in the Diamond Center in the name of a fictitious company to copy the master keys and find holes in the security system.

The scheme went off without a hitch and became the most successful jewel heist in history. Only one of the crew members was ever identified, but due to extradition agreements, has never been formally charged in connection to the heist. To date, none of the diamonds have been found.

The Mark: Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway, 2004

The Take: "The Scream" and "Madonna" paintings, worth almost $270 million

Not bothering with sophisticated planning or stealth of any kind, two men broke into the Munch Museum in broad daylight and simply ripped two of Oslo's greatest treasures, "The Scream" and "Madonna" by Edvard Munch, from the wall. Wearing all black and masks, the thieves split up, one holding back security guards and crowds of civilians by threatening them with a revolver and the other running through the museum toward the two paintings.

By banging the paintings against the wall and on the ground the thief was able to free them from their security wires. Minutes after their entrance, the pair took the paintings, exited the museum and hopped in a getaway car. Eyewitness accounts and dogged police work eventually led to the arrest and conviction of three men involved in the robbery in 2006 as well as the safe return of both paintings.

The Mark: The Isabella Gardner Museum, Boston, 1990

The Take: Artworks by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and others, worth $300 million

Two men dressed up as police officers and knocked on the side security door of the museum. When a pair of security guards opened the doors for them, they overpowered and bound the guards. Ninety minutes later, the thieves simply walked out with 13 historic pieces of art and the security tape that recorded the crime. After 17 years, not a single person has been prosecuted for the theft.

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