More of the biggest gold heists in history

The Summer Bliss Robbery (2012) – 216 kg Gold Bars

November 30, 2012, masked men in “Police” jackets boarded the the “Summer Bliss” fishing boat in Curacao and stole 70 gold bars weighing a total of 216kg with an estimated worth of $11.5 million. The gold shipment was being transhipped through Curacao and officials on the island had been advised beforehand that it was coming as part of normal security procedures.

6 men entered the boat and the captain was struck over the head and the gold looted in matter of minutes. The bandits made off with the 486 lbs of gold bullion in 3 separate cars. Over the following months, seven people were arrested in suspicion of the robbery due to conflicting reports, witness discrepancies, a history of local government corruption and dubious police cooperation they were never charged. To this date the Curaçao gold heist remains unsolved.

Kerry Packer Safe Cracking (1995) – 285 kg Gold Bullion

Kerry Packer (left) and Mr “X” the man believed to have been involved in the theft of Kerry Packer’s gold.

On the last weekend of April, 1995, a mastermind criminal only known as “Mr X” pulled off the most audacious gold bar heist at the home of Sydney based media mogul, Kerry Packer. The thief got away with 285kg of gold bullion worth $5.4 million. The cops who were tailing “Mr X” said he was so good at what he did that, though police knew it had to be him, he never gave them an inch, despite hundreds of hours of police surveillance. The police couldn’t even make an arrest, let alone charge the intelligent safe cracker.

Police suspect that “Mr X” walked into Kerry Packer’s Australian Consolidated Press building and jimmied open two doors with a crowbar or screwdriver. From there, he entered Packers office and headed straight to the safe that was hidden in a drinks cabinet. Experts believe he cracked the Chubb safe in a matter of minutes and left very little evidence behind other than a small burn on the carpet from a charred piece of metal. He then wheeled 285kg of gold bars out of the building, packed them on to the back of his ute and simply drove away.

After leading police on a wild goose chase for months on end, leading then to dead-end after dead-end, the police finally gave up and closed the case. For 15 years after, “Mr X” continued to live a normal lifestyle and didn’t slip up once, no spending sprees, no incriminating evidence and he even drove the same beaten up Ford Falcon ute. Sergeant John Jungblut, of the Sydney police said “He was one of the best crooks I’ve ever, ever had to work on”…

Singapore Brinks Robbery (2012) – 70 kg Gold Bars

July 2nd, 2012, gold bars worth about $4.3 million went missing from Brink’s Singapore. In 2012 gold prices were at their peak and the two robbers were set to make a pretty penny on the gold bullion heist. However, they didn’t get very far. Brink’s Singapore realised that the gold bars had gone missing and alerted the police and 12 hours later, one of the men was arrested at Singapore airport trying to leave the country. Teo Wen Wei, 28, was charged with aiding and abetting Jonas Tan Teck Leng in the theft of 70 x 1 kg gold bars weighing a total of 70kg. Very little information is documented about the case and it is unknown whether the gold bars were recovered.

The Great Gold Robbery (1855) – 91 kg Gold Bars & Coins

Probably the most well known of all the major gold robberies, The Great Gold Robbery took place on 15th of May, 1985 and was one of the most brazen crimes of the century, with the culprits stealing £12,000 in gold bullion, over 91kg in weight which would be worth somewhere in the region of £3.4m in today’s money.

Belonging to Abell and Co., Spielmann, three boxes of gold bullion were transported by Chaplin & Co. Carriers from London Bridge, via Folkestone, UK and Boulogne, to Paris, France. Each box was solidly constructed, weighed and sealed at the carriers’ office and taken to London Bridge station. At London Bridge the three boxes were placed in iron travelling safes and secured with two locks. The safe keys were entrusted to railway staff in London Bridge and Folkestone and also to the captain. It was customary practice to load the safes on to the trains with the guard on the night train from London to Folkestone.

When the train arrived at Boulogne, the boxes were taken out and weighed and it was found that one of the boxes weighed 18kg less than it should have, whilst the other two boxes weighed a little more. Despite the slight difference in weight, the boxes were transferred to a train for Paris. Once the boxes arrived in Paris, they were opened and found that all of the gold bullion had been replaced with lead shot. As the weight was correct in London and wrong in Boulogne, it was understood the robbery happened on the journey from London to Folkestone, or before the gold had reached Boulogne.

After a large investigation by UK and French police, it eventually emerged that the robbery was committed by four men and a wider network of accomplices to pull off the meticulously planned operation. The idea man, William Pierce, an ex-railway employee, George Agar, a mastermind criminal who helped to plan the heist, George Tester a railway clerk who supplied the gang with duplicate keys to the on-board safe and a train guard called Burgess who ensured the gangs tools were loaded into the guards van so the men could carry out their work.

Everything went to plan, until the following year when George Agar’s ex girlfriend (Fanny Kay) who was recruited to act as a receiver failed to receive a £7000 payment from Pierce and decided to blow the whistle on the mob to the governor of Newgate Prison. By the time the trial came around, Agar was already serving life for a separate incident regarding a bogus cheque and William Pierce, Goerge Tester and Burgess were sentenced to 14 years transportation.

In 1893, Henry S. Cochran, an employee at the Philadelphia Mint was caught embezzling 183 kg of gold bars worth a massive $134,000 ($8.8m 2019) over a ten year period. Cochran used a bent wire through small holes in an iron-lattice door to the mint’s vault to knock the highest gold bar from the top of the stack. Still using the bent wire he would push the gold bar close to the door and unlodge the door briefly by its rusty hinges so he could remove the gold from the vault. $108,000 worth of gold bullion was found stashed in Cochran’s home and the remaining missing gold was found in the mint’s ventilation system.

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