Top 10 Diamond Heists of all times!

Written by Jyotsna Ramani | Last modified on:

If you have watched those Hollywood movies on diamond thieves, you may be wondering if it is that easy to walk away with diamonds worth millions. No, it is not easy. But with careful planning and sort of inside connection, there have been Diamond heists that are worth taking into consideration.  But such diamond heists are rare and occasionally successful.

Every few years, we hear of a big diamond robbery that makes headlines for days and then disappears. Some of the top diamond heists are nothing more than a cunningly engineered plan and a feat of patience. In almost every big heist, the diamonds have never been found and one keeps wondering where those diamonds are. Maybe they still lie abandoned in some basement somewhere or they have made their way back to the same store where they were stolen from. Maybe we will never know the answers.

Let’s have a look our top 10 diamond heists;

The Lufthansa robbery

This happened in 1978 and is the largest robbery ever on American soil. The robbers took away $875,000 in jewels as well as well as $5 million worth cash at John F. Kennedy International airport. The jewelry and money was never recovered. There was one man who was charged.

The Tucker Cross

One of the most prized treasure that was located in the wreck of the San Antonio in 1955 a 22-karat gold cross embedded with precious diamonds and emeralds. The cross was relocated at Bermuda Maritime Museum 20 years later.  Queen Elizabeth II was to open the new museum, but just before her arrival, it was found that the most precious cross has been stolen and replaced by a fake. Till date it has never been found and it remains one of the biggest mysteries in Bermuda.

Amsterdam Diamond Heist

The absolute figure of the losses has never been confirmed as the stolen stones were uncut. Still the heist is estimated to be roughly at $118 million. The robbery was plain and simple truck hijacking. A KLM Cargo truck carrying diamonds was made the target. The drivers of the truck were forced out by the thieves wearing stolen KLM uniforms, hopped into the truck and drove away. Diamond merchants blame the airport’s poor security for their losses in millions.

British Bank of the Middle East

When Lebanon was in the midst of a civil war in the 1970’s, a group linked with PLO, took advantage of the chaos around and broke into dozens of banks. An astounding £25 million worth of gold, jewels, and currency were looted and this is worth more than $100 million today.

Antwerp Diamond heist

This is one of the biggest ever diamond heists in Antwerp, Belgium as well as the most complex crime. The theft was under planning for years and involved 4 people. On the day of the break-in, they covered the surveillance system with fake tapes to cover their movements. They had duplicate keys to the vault, thus suggesting insider’s cooperation. Although most of the thieves are in prison, but those diamonds worth $100 million have never

Ginza jewelry store

Jewelry worth about 280 million, including a diamond tiara was stolen from Ginza jewelry store in Tokyo by Rifat Hadziahmetovic, a member pf the Pink Panther crime ring in 2007. The Tokyo diamond heist is back in Japan after being arrested in Spain.

Dome diamond heist

A major attraction of the Dome’s inauguration was the celebration in 2000 was the Millennium Star diamond. a few minutes before the middle of the night,  laser beams were fired at the that fill the Dome with radiant rays of light. The diamonds were stolen by the gang, who crashed into the Dome in a bulldozer and smoke bombs were set off. One of the prize catch was Millennium Star diamond and 12 blue diamonds, owned by diamond conglomerate De Beers.

The thieves were well prepared with the right planning and tools. Wearing gas masks, they smashed those display cases but were soon rounded up by police officers, who had been tipped before and were dressed as cleaning crew, Even if the robbers had been successful, all they would have got were fakes as the authorities had replaced the real gems.

Murwillumbah heist

The biggest bank robbery in Australian history, amounted to more than 1.7million dollars. The job was quietly and precisely carried out at the Bank of New South Wales branch by the Magnetic Drill Gang.  The biggest hauls included $250 000 worth of diamonds and gold from a jeweler and $350,000 from an American Express office in Melbourne.

Zimbabwe Diamond Heist with Catapults

A large quantity of raw diamonds were swiped away by a group of men armed with catapults in Zimbabwe, Africa. A diamond transport truck came under attack as soon as left the Marange diamond fields by 10 men armed with several catapults and one AK-47 riffle. Mining authorities are keeping mum over the worth of the diamonds. The thieves are part of a larger network of thieves that operate in Zimbabwe.

Damiani Showroom Italy

Complaints by a woman in Milan about early-morning noise in her neighborhood were not taken seriously and no one noticed that she lived right across the world-famous Damiani jewelry showroom. Every morning, thieves had been drilling a hole through the 4-foot wall that separated the basement next door from the basement of the showroom. The thieves wore stolen police uniforms and arrived at the unguarded entrance in the morning and asked to see certain store records.

The operation lasted for half hour and netted $20 million in diamonds.
In case you are planning a diamond heist, there is plenty for you to take inspiration from. You are certainly not the first one. Who knows, maybe someone somewhere is already planning the next diamond heist and maybe it could be even bigger than the ones gone by. Never the less, it takes guts and courage to plan such robberies. The planning and timing has to be perfect and with no room for any mistakes.

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