In August 2005, a crew of thieves spent three months digging a
tunnel underneath a busy city street in Fortaleza, Brazil, then
busted their way into a bank vault and nabbed a whopping $67.8
million in cash. To date, police have recovered just $7 million.
This is not uncommon: For many large-scale robberies, the entire
amount of stolen loot is rarely found, leaving billions in missing
currency, paintings, jewels, and gold bars floating in limbo around
the world. Here are some highlights of the most infamous unsolved
heists throughout history.
- Jack Boulware
In January, New York thieves break into the new security system of
the Northampton National Bank in
Massachusetts, stealing cash and bonds worth over $26 million
today. A month later, they write a ransom note to the bank,
offering to sell the bonds for cash. The bank negotiates for nearly
a year before detectives arrest and convict the gang. The money is
As Hitler's empire collapses in April, the infamous Nazi gold
collection, $3.34 billion worth of gold bars, stolen foreign
currency, and jewels, suddenly disappears from Reichsbank vaults.
It is called the world's largest bank robbery in history. Over the
years, portions are found in Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,
and Turkey, but much of it remains missing. Search teams still hunt
for Nazi gold - from the coast of Greece to bank vaults in Brazil
to the bottom of an alpine lake in Austria.
In January, after two years of planning, armed robbers use copied
keys to break into the "burglar-proof" Brinks Building in Boston.
They nab $2.7 million in cash, checks, and money orders. The Great
Brinks Robbery is labeled "the crime of the century." It takes
until 1956 to charge and sentence eight of the thieves. Rumor has
it that the money is hidden in the hills outside Grand Rapids,