- If you were to pull of a heist, what would you steal? Probably not this stuff.
Yesterday, we brought you the strange story about the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist. As we were writing it, we got to thinking — what other strange heists have there been?
As it turns out, crooks around the world have pulled off pretty dang weird cons and heists. They aren’t something you’d see in Ocean’s Eleven, but a lot of these stories would still make for great movies.
So, without further ado, here are six of the most bizarre heists in recent history.
The German Chocolate Heist
Canadians apparently aren’t the only ones pilfering truckloads of sweet stuff. In 2017, thieves made off with an entire semi-truck trailer in the town of Neustadt, Germany.
Inside the trailer was no less than 20 tons of Nutella, Kinder Surprise eggs, and various other chocolate products. In total, the load of chocolate had an estimated worth of $82,000.
According to the German police, the crooks would’ve needed a whole truck off their own to pilfer the trailer. What we don’t know is whether they knew the trailer was loaded with chocolate.
Bizarrely enough, on the same weekend another trailer — carrying $70,000 worth of fruit juice — disappeared in another German city. Maybe German criminals just really like their sweets.
The Amsterdam Cheese Slicer Heist
You don’t always need to steal tons upon tons of things to make the headlines. Sometimes, you just need to slip away with a single expensive — and weird — item.
Case in point, the Amsterdam Cheese Museum was shocked in 2015 when thieves stole a cheese slices held on display at the museum. But this wasn’t just any utensil — it was the world’s most expensive cheese slicer worth an approximate $28,000.
The ludicrously valuable Boska Holland slicer is made of platinum and covered with 220 diamonds, for some reason. We sort of doubt the crooks will be using it to slice their gouda.
The Agricultural Bank of China Heist
There’s nothing particularly weird about how this heist was carried. In 2007, Ren Xiaofeng, a manager at the Agricultural Bank of China, stole $26,000 from the bank with the help of two security guards.
What’s bizarre is how Ren decided to cover his tracks. He used the money to buy lottery tickets in the hopes that he’d win enough money to cover up the theft and still profit.
And what do you know — the plan worked. And if it worked once, it’s bound to work again, right?
Not so. For his second attempt, Ren stole $4.3 million and blew almost all of it on the lottery, only to get nothing in return.
Desperate, he then stole another $2.3 million to buy more lottery tickets — only to lose everything again. At this point, Chinese authorities noticed the missing funds and promptly arrested and executed Ren.
The Czech Bridge Heist
Stealing a bridge sounds like something a villain in a Saturday morning cartoon villain would do. But it’s also something that a gang of Czech criminals with a bunch of power tools would do.
In 2012, a crooked crew swiped an entire bridge from the small town Slavkov in the Czech Republic. This wasn’t some small wooden bridge either — it was a 650-foot-long behemoth of a railroad bridge weighing 10 tons.
Not only that, they carried the crime out in broad daylight. The criminals forged documents stating that they were a work crew tasked with dismantling the bridge so that a new one could be built.
Take a guess for how much the gang managed to sell the tons of metal? That’s right — they got an astronomical sum of about $6,300.
You have to wonder if it was worth the effort.
The Russian Church Heist
How do you top stealing a bridge? You just have to think bigger and steal an entire church.
We’re not kidding. In 2008, Russian criminals took apart and sold off a 200-year-old church in the village of Komarovo.
Now, the church naturally was out of commission — otherwise worshippers might’ve noticed something weird. Additionally, the village is so remote that the thieves could work undisturbed as they dismantled the two-story building brick by brick.
By the time anyone noticed the theft, all that remained of the church were the foundations and a couple of wall sections. Bizarre as church theft sounds, it’s apparently not that uncommon in Russia — the religious artefacts and building materials sell for a hefty price.
The Philadelphia Bug Heist
We can’t top a church in scale, so let’s wrap this list up with something else. Something smaller, something with more legs.
In 2018, a gang of thieves targeted the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion. They made off with some $50,000 worth of loot, but it wasn’t money they took.
Instead, they stole more than 7,000 insects, spiders, and reptiles, including a six-eyed sand spider. All in all, the criminals pilfered some 80% of the museum’s animal collection.
The crime got caught on security cameras, which indicated it was an inside job. And it had to be — who else but bug experts would even think to pull off a heist like this.