On December 11, a gang of thugs slips into the Lufthansa Airlines cargo terminal at New York's JFK airport and steals $5.8 million in cash and jewelry. Unfortunately for police, the currency consists of dollars that had been exchanged overseas, thus making it impossible to trace. One suspect is sentenced; several are murdered. Only $20,000 was ever recovered. The heist was portrayed in the 1990 mobster film Goodfellas.
In November, six thieves break into the Brinks Mat warehouse at London Heathrow Airport. They hope to steal £3 million but instead discover a safe filled with 10 tons of gold bullion worth £26 million. The haul is so large and heavy, gang members actually leave the airport to retrieve a larger vehicle. A handful are eventually jailed. Three tons of gold remain unaccounted for.
In March, just after St. Patrick's Day, two men overpower guards at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and steal 13 paintings by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, and others. Some works are crudely cut out of their frames. Officials estimate the total loss at roughly $300 million. Despite a $5 million reward, no artwork has been found, and there have been no arrests. The museum continues to display the empty frames.
In September, crooks break into the Dunbar Armored Car depot in Los Angeles, and within half an hour stuff $18.9 million in cash into a waiting
U-Haul. After some years, all are caught and confess, including the ringleader, a Dunbar employee. The Dunbar Armored Robbery remains the largest cash robbery in U.S. history. $10 million remains missing.
In February, during a tennis tournament, an Italian gang slips inside the Antwerp Diamond Center and empties 123 deposit boxes full of gems. The loss is eventually calculated to be an astonishing 100 million euros (then worth $107 million). DNA from a half-eaten sandwich leads authorities to one of its first suspects. No jewels have ever been found.
In December, robbers plunder £26.5 million in cash from the Northern Bank headquarters in Belfast, Ireland. Authorities blame the meticulously planned Northern Bank Robbery on the IRA, which categorically denies any involvement. Five suspects have been arrested. Only £2 million has been recovered.