Sunday, 10 May 2015

5 Fun Facts About Famous Heists

5 Fun Facts About Famous Thefts
Image result for thomas blood crown jewels
1. Colonel Thomas Blood tried to steal the British Crown Jewels. This was back on the 9th May 1671, and considering the punishment for attempting to steal the Crown Jewels was death back then, it was very brave. And completely stupid. The Crown Jewels are kept in the Tower of London. It's basically a fortress and heavily guarded. Thomas Blood's plan was simple: make friends with the Master of the Jewel house, promise to wed his daughter to a fictional nephew, ask for a private showing of the Crown Jewels, then bash him over the head with a mallet. And just for extra kicks, as it's better to be safe than sorry, they tied him up with rope and gagged him. Oh, they also stabbed him. See, if you're going to steal the Crown Jewels, you have to go that extra mile. The next step was even simpler. Use the mallet to flatten the crown, a file to saw the Royal Sceptre into two pieces, and then shove the Sovereign's Orb down your trousers, before walking out. Which is probably not easy with an orb between your butt cheeks. And that's where it all went wrong. The alarm was raised and Thomas Blood and his gang were discovered. They tried to flee, shooting at the Warders, although missing with every shot. The Iron Gate was lowered and they were captured. Thomas Blood declared upon his capture, "It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful. It was for a crown."

Image result for mona lisa2. Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa in 1911. Yep, unlike Thomas Blood, his attempt was completely successful. It was also a heck of a lot simpler. He just unhooked it from the wall and walked out the front door with it. See, told you it was a simple plan. Peruggia worked at the Louvre, where the Mona Lisa was kept. It was a simple time, and simple times called for simple plans. Hide in the museum, wait until everyone had gone, and nab the famous painting and walk out with it. He was utterly surprised when he encountered no guards, who had all gone for a drink of water at the time. Peruggia kept the Mona Lisa for two years and was only discovered when he tried to sell the painting to an art gallery in Italy. This was where his planned collapsed. The owner of the art gallery dobbed him in to the police. It's not like they could have hung the painting in their gallery without someone realising it was the Mona Lisa.

Every man at least dreams of pulling a heist on a train, and these guys did it.3. The Great Train Robbery occurred on the 8th August 1963. A Royal Mail train was travelling between Glasgow and London in the early hours of the morning. A 15-man gang of thieves led by Bruce Reynolds and Ronnie Biggs had tampered with the line signals. It made the train driver believe there was a red light, so stopped the train near Bridego Railway Bridge. The gang successfully made off with over £2.6million. After the robbery, the Train Robbers hid out at Leatherslade Farm. When police found this hide-out, they searched and found incriminating evidence which led to the arrest and convictions of most of the gang. The leaders were given 30 years in jail. Ronnie Biggs escaped from prison in 1965 and hid in exile as a fugitive for the next 36 years. In 2001, he returned to the UK voluntarily and was imprisoned again, where he should have spent the rest of his life. However, he was released in 2009 on compassionate grounds, and died four years later.

4. The D.B. Cooper Hijacking of a Boeing 727 airplane. On the 24th November 1971, A man known only as D.B. Cooper boarded the Boeing 727 at Portland International Airport bound for Seattle, Washington. He extorted over $200,000 in ransom before jumping out of the plane and parachuting into history. No one knows the fate of D.B. (Dan) Cooper. Various law enforcement agencies, including an extensive FBI investigation, have never been able to identify or locate this mysterious hijacker. The FBI actually say it was very unlikely Cooper survived the extremely risky jump. However, they still maintain an active case file that's over 60 volumes in length.

Image result for Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington5. Kempton Bunton was framed. Well, that's all he stole, according to the judge who jailed him. In 1961, Bunton, a retired bus driver, broke into the London National Gallery through a toilet window. It wasn't just a spare of the moment thought though, he did his homework. He knew the sensors were turned off during the morning when the cleaners were doing their rounds. His target was Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington, worth nearly $400,000. After the theft, he offered to sell the painting to an American oil tycoon who had tried to buy it previously. The sale didn't go through. Bunton returned the portrait of the Duke four years later. The judge gave him only three months in jail, as he returned the painting, but didn't return the frame.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Okay Jed so I jumped over from Janet's blog and am reading your blog.
Ah suckity suck suck yourself :)

BTW, you've got some interesting stuff here.

Now I guess I have to go update my own blog. Awe, suckity suck suck.

Jed Cullan said...

Thanks for popping over, and for the nice comments. It can be a suckity suck suck to update blogs. Very draining sometimes.