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828
Venetian merchants stole the relics of Saint Mark from a Coptic church in Alexandria and brought them home in triumph.
Links: Egypt, Venice, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1460
In 2009 academic Julian Luxford found a note written in Latin by a medieval monk about this time that read when translated into English: "Around this time, according to popular opinion, a certain outlaw named Robin Hood, with his accomplices, infested Sherwood and other law-abiding areas of England with continuous robberies."
Links: Britain, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1540
Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) created his painting "Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me" about this time In 2009 it was stolen from a Lutheran church in the southern Norway town of Larvik. It’s value was estimated at 15-20 million kroner ($2.1-$2.8 million).
Links: Artist, Norway, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1875 Mar 19
Tiburcio Vasquez (b.1835), a cultured robber, was hanged in San Jose, Ca., after being found guilty of robbery and murder In 2010 John Boessenecker authored “Bandido,” an account of Vasquez’ life.
Links: USA, California, Biography, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1875 Jul 26
Charles E. Boles (b.1829), aka Black Bart, robbed his first stage coach in the Stanislaus River Canyon, California. He robbed at least 28 of Wells Fargo coaches before he was caught by a Wells Fargo agent in SF in 1883. He served four years of a six year sentence in San Quentin and then was never heard from again. In 1995 Charles Hoeper authored “Black Bart: Boulevardier Bandit.”
Links: USA, California, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1901 Jul 3
Members of The Wild Bunch, including Kid Curry, committed their last American robbery near Wagner, Montana, taking $65,000 from a Great Northern train. Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and his lover Etta Place had already fled to New York where a picture of Etta and Sundance was taken. The trio by this time were settled in Argentina.
Links: USA, Montana, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1909
Jesus Malverde, Mexican bandit, was hanged in Culiacan. Admirers say he robbed from the rich to give to the poor. The legendary crime figure became revered as a saint by many of the country's drug traffickers. In 2007 housewife Maria Alicia Pulido Sanchez built him a shrine in Mexico City after her son Marcos Abel recovered from injuries he suffered in a December 2005 car crash in just three days when she prayed to a Malverde statue a friend had given her.
Links: Mexico, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1911 Aug 21
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre Museum. It had hung there for more than 100 years. Vincenzo Perugia, a former Louvre employee, stole the painting. It turned up in Italy two years later. In 2009 R.A. Scotti authored “Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa.”
Links: Artist, France, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1913 Dec
In San Francisco police officer W.F. Kreuger took a bullet just under his heart as he engaged three armed yeggmen (burglers) at Natoma and Eighth. Kreuger survived and the bullet remained in his body.
Links: USA, SF, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1924
In San Francisco William O’Connor (1884-1933), jewel thief, staged a $100,000 robbery at the Houston-Gillmore jewelry store. He was captured, convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison, but was later paroled for hospitalization in Idaho for his tuberculosis. In 1933 he requested to be returned to San Quentin, where he died in 1935.
Links: USA, SF, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1930 Nov 7
In California a band of 6 gunmen, using machine guns and dynamite, stopped an eastbound train in Alameda County and escaped with $60,000 from a mail car.
Links: USA, California, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1945 Nov 21
Bummy Davis (b.1920 as Albert Davidoff), former middleweight boxer turned thug, died after taking on 2 hoodlums in Brooklyn, NY. In 1951 W.C. Heinz's wrote "Brownsville Bum," an account of the Bummy Davis tragedy for True Magazine. In 2003 Ron Ross authored Bummy Davis vs. Murder, Inc.”
Links: USA, NYC, Boxing, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1946 Apr 28
Domenico Leccisi (d.2008 at 88) and 2 other Italians marked the first anniversary of the death of Mussolini by digging up his body in a Milan cemetery. They passed the body to 2 monks, who buried it in a nearby monastery. The theft sparked a nationwide manhunt for the group. The body was later returned for burial in Predappio, Mussolini’s birthplace.
Links: Italy, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1951 Oct 3
Bobby Thompson won the pennant for the New York Giants by hitting a home run off of Ralph Branca of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the NY Polo Grounds before 20,000 empty seats. Outfielder Bobby Thomson hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers 5-4 to win the National League pennant. On Jan 31, 2001, the WSJ confirmed roomers that the Giants had concealed an electric buzzer and a telescope to steal the signals of the opposing catchers. In 2006 Joshua Prager authored ”The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World.”
Links: USA, NYC, Baseball, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1962 Nov 23
In New Jersey gas station owner Walter Patterson, a decorated World War II veteran, was shot during a robbery at his business in Wall. George Wright (19) was convicted of the murder and sentenced to 15-30 years in prison. He escaped in 1970.
Links: USA, Murder, New Jersey, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1963 Aug 8
Britain's "Great Train Robbery" took place as thieves made off with 120 mailbags with 2.62 million pounds in banknotes. 15 men under Bruce Reynolds (d.2013) held up the Glasgow to London Royal Mail (Glasgow-Euston train) and took off with $7.2 mil in sterling. They badly beat up train driver Jack Mills. He never returned to work and died seven years later without making a full recovery. Ronald Biggs claimed to be one of the 15 men and later lived freely in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His share of the robbery was $2.8 mil but he was arrested just four weeks after the robbery. He escaped from Wandsworth Prison in 1965 and was still wanted in Britain. Only 1/8 of the money stolen was ever recovered. Dinner at home with Mr. Biggs could be purchased for $50. In 1994 Biggs published an autobiography. In 1999 a video game was developed based on the event. Biggs (71) returned to Britain in 2001 and in 2009 he was up for parole. Reynolds spent five years as a fugitive. On his return to Britain he was caught by police and sentenced 25 years in prison for the train heist, of which he served just 10. Reynolds published a memoir titled "Autobiography of a Thief" and became a consultant on a crime film.
Links: Britain, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1963 Nov 15
Roger Mealman, Clifford Toycen Jr., and Robert Burns Jr. robbed a bank in Sacramento of $45,000 and headed east. They shot and killed HP officer Glenn Carlson along Highway 40. All 3 were soon arrested and sentenced to life in prison. The Highway 267 bypass was later named after CHP officer Carlson.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968 Jun 19
In SF newlywed Officer Peter McElligott was fatally shot in a shootout with 2 robbery suspects in Golden Gate Park. The 2 attackers were later convicted of murder.
Links: USA, SF, Murder, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968 Dec 18
Carolyn Olsen was murdered during a robbery that netted $18 on a Santa Monica tennis court. Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt was accused of the murder though he maintained that he was in Oakland on the night the 27-year old teacher was shot to death. He was arrested in 1970 and convicted in 1972 and sentenced to a life term in prison. Julius "Buffo" Butler, a police informant who spied on the Black Panther Party, told police that he believed Pratt killed Olsen. In 1997 a judge ruled to reverse Pratt’s conviction based on the credibility of Butler. He was released on $25,000 bail on 6/10/97. In 2000 Pratt was awarded $4.5 million to be paid by Los Angeles and the FBI.
Links: USA, Black History, Murder, SF Bay Area, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968
In Japan Iwao Hakamada, accused of killing a family and setting fire to its house after a robbery in 1966, was sentenced to death. After 19 days of 12-hour interrogations he confessed. At his trial he said the confession was coerced. In 2008 Japan’s Supreme Court turned down a retrial plea.
Links: Japan, Murder, Fire, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1969 Apr 15
In SF Officer Rene Lacau had a fatal heart attack during a struggle with a person suspected of stealing a car.
Links: USA, SF, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1969 May 1
In SF plainclothes Officer Joseph Brodnick was fatally shot after he and a partner stopped some youths suspected of burglary. 6 people were acquitted at trial.
Links: USA, SF, Murder, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971 Jan 24
Pvt. Rogelio Roxas (d.1993), a former Filipino soldier, allegedly discovered the war treasure of Japanese Gen’l. Tomoyuki Yamashita in caves near Baguio City. Roxas was arrested on May 18, 1971, and jailed for 5 years. The gold bullion was reportedly taken away by Pres. Marcos.
Links: Japan, Philippines, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971 Mar 8
Catholic radicals in Media, Pa., broke into the local FBI offices and stole documents that revealed the agency’s illegal activities against radical groups and leaked them to the media. In 2014 Betty Medsger authored “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, FBI, Books, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971 Oct 16
H. Rap Brown (b.1943) was captured following a shootout with police in NYC. He was charged with inciting a riot and carrying a gun across state lines. Brown converted to Islam in jail and became Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.
Links: USA, NYC, Black History, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1971 Nov 24
On Thanksgiving eve DB Cooper boarded Flight 305 in Portland, Or., and demanded $200,000 with the threat of a bomb. He parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 with the money over the Cascade Mountains near Ariel, Wash., and was never seen again. FBI agent Ralph Himmelsbach wrote the book NORJAK that described the case. A packet containing $5,880 of the ransom money was found in 1980 on the north shore of the Columbia River, just west of the Washington city of Vancouver. In 2011 evidence was presented that Lynn Doyle Cooper (d.1999) of Oregon, a Korean war veteran, was the hijacker.
Links: USA, Aviation, Washington, Oregon, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 May 13
There was a burglary at the Chilean Embassy in Washington DC. Two members of Pres. Nixon's secret White House team, known as the plumbers, were involved. Nixon later blamed the robbery on White House counsel John Dean.
Links: Chile, USA, DC, NixonR, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972
Stephen Reid, a member of the Stopwatch Gang trio, was sentenced to prison. He escaped 2 times but was recaptured and was released in 1987. In 1986 he authored "Jackrabbit Parole" while in prison. The gang was estimated to have stolen some $15 million in 140 North American robberies. In 1999 he was again caught following a robbery in Victoria and was convicted of attempted murder and other charges.
Links: Canada, USA, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973 Mar 13
George Norman skipped out of Denver on a 2-year sentence for embezzling more than $500,000 from the now defunct Rocky Mountain Bank. He evaded arrest for 23 years and made millions by legal means until his capture in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1996.
Links: USA, Tennessee, Colorado, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973 Aug 23
A bank robbery-turned-hostage standoff began in Stockholm, Sweden; by the time the crisis ended, the four hostages had come to empathize with their captors, an occurrence that came to be known as "Stockholm Syndrome."
Links: Sweden, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1974 Apr 4
In England an armed payroll robbery took place at the London Electricity Board (LEB). George Davis (b.1941) was arrested for the robbery and his wife, Rose Davis (d.2009, campaigned for his release. In 1976 the conviction was overturned as unsafe. In Sep 1977 George was again arrested for a bank robbery and Rose promptly divorced him. In 2009 she authored “The Wars of Rosie: Hard Knocks, Endurance and the 'George Davis Is Innocent' Campaign.”
Links: Britain, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 Apr 15
SLA members including Patty Hearst robbed the Sunset Branch of the Hibernia Bank in SF of more than $10,000. While fleeing they wounded 2 people passing by.
Links: USA, California, SF, Robbery, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 May 16
SLA members William and Emily Harris were identified with Patty Hearst in LA during a shoplifting attempt at a sporting good store. They escaped in a stolen van with an 19-year-old kidnapped victim.
Links: USA, California, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 Jun 29
In Fresno, Ca., Clarence Ray Allen (44) robbed Fran’s market. Soon after Mary Sue Kitts (17) was murdered on orders from Allen (44) for revealing Allen’s role in a robbery. In 1997 Allen was convicted for her murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Allen faced execution in 2006.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 Aug 9
In Oakland, Ca., Julie McElhiney (13) was killed and sexually assaulted during a robbery at her home on Pleitner Ave. In 2012 DNA evidence led to the arrest of Curtis Tucker (63). His profile was in a nationwide database due to a 1978 rape arrest in Spokane, Wa.
Links: Sex, Murder, DNA, SF Bay Area, Robbery, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1974 Sep 20
Gail A. Cobb (24), a member of the Metropolitan Police Force of Washington, D.C., became the first female police officer to be killed in the line of duty. Cobb was murdered by a robbery suspect in an underground garage in downtown Washington.
Links: USA, Women, DC, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974 Dec
Thieves in San Francisco stole the “Resting Hermes” statue from its pedestal on Nob Hill. The University Club had purchased the statue, made by Chiurazzi of Naples, from Italy in 1915 following the Panama Pacific Expo. In 2004 it was stolen again.
Links: USA, SF, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1974
1983
A series of bomb attacks and robberies in the US by members of the Puerto Rican FALN left 6 people dead and scores injured. 16 separatists who were later arrested for the attacks were granted clemency by Pres. Clinton in 1999.
Links: USA, Puerto Rico, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Feb 17
Art by Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and van Gogh, valued at $5 million, was stolen from the Municipal Museum in Milan.
Links: Artist, Italy, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Apr 21
Members of the SLA robbed the Carmichael Bank in suburban Sacramento, Ca. Myrna Opsahl, a mother (42) of four, was shot dead. Patty Hearst drove the getaway car. Emily Harris shot Opsahl with a 12-gauge shotgun. 4 SLA members were arrested for the murder of Opsahl in 2002. Michael Bortin, William Harris, Sara Jane Olson and Emily Montague all pleaded guilty. Fugitive James Kilgore was arrested in South Africa Nov 8, 2002. In 2003 Montague was sentenced to 8 years, Harris to 7 years, Olson and Bortin to 6 years. In 2004 Kilgore was sentenced to 4 ½ years. Kilgore was paroled in 2009.
Links: USA, California, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1975 Sep 18
Police and FBI arrested SLA members Patty Hearst, William and Emily Harris, Steven Soliah and Wendy Yoshimura in SF. James Kilgore disappeared and later surfaced a Univ. of Cape Town Prof. Charles William Pape. He was arrested in 2002. Hearst was convicted of bank robbery and served over 22 months in federal prison. Pres. Carter commuted her sentence in 1979. Kathleen Ann Soliah remained a fugitive until 1999 when she was picked up in St. Paul, Minn., under the name of Sara Jane Olson. She was wanted for placing 2 pipe bombs under police cars in LA.
Links: USA, SF, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jan 22
A PLO bank robbery in Beirut netted a world record $20-50 million.
Links: Lebanon, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jan
The entire Picasso exhibit in the Palace of the Popes at Avignon, France, was stolen. This event led the International Foundation for Art Research to form the Art Loss Register. Picasso is the artist listed with the most stolen works.
Links: Artist, France, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Mar 20
Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for use of a firearm in the San Francisco Hibernia Bank holdup. In Sept she was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
Links: USA, SF, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jul 5
In SF the body of Wanda Baun (19), a prostitute, was found dead. She had been stabbed over 50 times. In 2007 Darrell Sweigart was convicted of 2nd degree murder after DNA evidence linked to the murder. He was already serving a 25 year to life sentence for rape and robbery.
Links: USA, SF, Murder, DNA, Robbery, Rape     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1976 Jul 16
In the "Spaggiari Affair," a heist masterminded by Albert Spaggiari (1932-1989), a gang tunneled into the vault of a branch of Societe Generale in Nice during a public holiday, spent two days and two nights there and made off with about 24 million euros (21 million pounds) worth of cash and valuables. The heist spawned several books and movies.
Links: France, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Sep 24
US District Judge William Orrick sentenced newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst to seven years in prison for her part in a 1974 bank robbery. She was released after 22 months after receiving clemency from President Carter.
Links: USA, California, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Jul 13
A 25-hour power blackout hit the New York City area and looters rampaged in the city after lightning struck upstate power lines. Some 9 million people were affected.
Links: USA, NYC, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Dec
In Chicago a gang of burglars decided to break into the home of Tony Accardo (d.1992), one of the most powerful men in organized crime history, and rob his basement vault. 6 men Accardo blamed for the heist were swiftly hunted down and murdered.
Links: USA, Chicago, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Mar 3
The remains of comedian Charles Chaplin were stolen by extortionists from his grave in Cosier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. The body was recovered near Lake Geneva 11 weeks later.
Links: Switzerland, Filmstar, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1978 Dec 11
Six masked men bound 10 employees at Lufthansa cargo area at NY Kennedy Airport & made off with $5.8 M in cash & jewelry. Nicholas Pileggi wrote "Wise Guys," which described his participation in the heist. The robbery inspired the movie "Goodfellas." On Jan 23, 2014, Vincent Asaro (78) was arrested at his home in NYC and charged with helping direct the heist as well as a 1969 murder.
Links: USA, Germany, Aviation, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Dec 25
Guards at the SF De Young Museum discovered that 4 Renaissance paintings had been stolen. In 1999 3 of the works, including Rembrandt's "Portrait of a Rabbi," were recovered in NYC. "Harbor Scene" by William van de Velde was still missing.
Links: USA, SF, Museums, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978
In Greece grave robbers at Aidonia dug into ancient tombs believed to be a 3,500-year-old palatial cemetery of the Mycenaeneans. The looters plundered 18 graves but left one undisturbed. Objects from the single pit provided archeologists evidence to match the objects of an attempted 1993 sale.
Links: Greece, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Feb 4
In San Mateo, Ca., a robbery at the Pay Less Super Drug Store at 666 Concar Drive left 3 young employees dead. Michael Olson (23), Billy Baumgarnter (17) and Tracy Anderson (16) were all shot in the back of the head. An estimated $20,000 was stolen. By 2007 the case was still open with no arrests.
Links: USA, Murder, SF Bay Area, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Feb 26
Ricky Keel and Jeffrey Taylor shot and killed Campbell liquor store owner Frank Gummer during a robbery. Connie Keel (21), Ricky’s abused wife, remained in a car during the robbery, but all 3 were convicted of 1st degree murder. In 2009 Connie Keel was allowed parole.
Links: Murder, SF Bay Area, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1980 Aug 15
George Manuel Bosque (25) reportedly abandoned his armored truck at the SF Airport Hilton Hotel, stole a car at gunpoint, and vanished with over $1.8 million in cash. 2 days later he sent an envelope with $20,000 to SF Police officer Lou Vance to pay off a business deal. Bosque was caught on November 23, 1981 and pleaded not guilty before a Federal Judge on November 24, 1981.
Links: USA, SF, Scam, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Sep 11
Chicago mobsters Arthur "The Brain" Rachel and Joseph "The Monk" Scalise staged a daring daytime theft of the Marlborough Diamond. Both men were convicted in Britain of threatening to use a hand grenade while robbing London's posh Graff Jewelers of $3.6 million worth of goods, including the diamond. They began serving 15-year prison terms in 1984 and were released in 1993.
Links: Britain, Chicago, Robbery, Diamonds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Dec 25
The paintings "La route" (Bend of the road) by Paul Cezanne, "La tete de jeune fille au Ruban bleu" (Portrait of a Lady) by Auguste Renoir, and "Le cri" (The cry) by Paul Gauguin were among nearly 2 dozen stolen from the Argentine National Fine Arts Museum in Buenos Aires. The art works were located at a Paris gallery in 2002, where they had been brought by a Taiwanese man claiming to represent a Chinese investor. The investor said he bought them from a Brazilian senator who said he inherited them from his family.
Links: Argentina, Artist, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980
Blufford Hayes Jr. killed Vinod Patel, a motel manager in Stockton, Ca., during a robbery that netted $23 and some cigarettes. Hayes was convicted and sentenced to death. The sentence was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2002.
Links: USA, California, Murder, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Apr 22
In the largest US bank robbery, more than $3.3 million was stolen in Tucson Ariz. 4 men were later arrested for the robbery.
Links: USA, Arizona, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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