London Millennium Dome, 2000
Using a JCB digger to ram down fences, four robbers attempted to steal De Beers diamonds worth over £350m, including the 203 carat De Beers Millennium Star, from a display at the Millenium Dome on 7 November, in what police said would have been the largest robbery in the world if it has been successful. But the Metropolitan Police had expected the raid and replaced the diamonds with replicas. Under the codename Operation Magician, officers dressed as cleaners had waited for the would-be robbers, and seized their getaway speedboat.
Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, 2005
Dressed in stolen uniforms belonging to the Dutch Airline KLM and driving a stolen KLM van, thieves hijacked an armoured truck carrying diamonds at Schiphol Airport in February 2005. The armoured van contained uncut diamonds worth an estimated $118m. They have never been recovered.
Harry Winston Store, Paris, 2008
Dressed as women, four gun-wielding robbers entered the Harry Winston Store on Avenue Montaigne near the Champs-Elysees in December 2008 demanding diamonds and jewellery. Addressing the staff by name, the cross-dressing gang walked away with a haul worth $108m. Twenty-five people were later arrested. Some of the jewels, valued at $25m, were found in 2011 hidden in a Paris sewer.
Antwerp Diamond Centre, Belgium, 2003
In one of the most complicated heists to date, four thieves rented an office space and analysed alarm systems before obtaining keys to the Diamond Centre’s vaults and making away with a haul estimated to be worth $100m in February 2003. The thieves, later identified as part of the criminal ring dubbed the ‘School of Turin’, were arrested but the jewels are yet to be found.
Northern Bank, Ireland 2004
Robbers make off with £26.5 million, from the Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The heist is blamed on the Irish Republican Army.
Brazilian Central Bank, Fortaleza
Thieves dig an 80-metre (260-foot) tunnel into a Brazilian Central Bank branch in the northeastern city of Fortaleza and steal 164 million reals (£54 million), in Brazil’s biggest-ever bank heist.
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