You’ve seen enough movies to know what it takes to pull off the perfect bank heist: a crack team of experts who are well versed in the fields of technology, disguise, and combat; a cunning criminal mastermind for a leader, and a whole lot of luck. But in real life, as actual criminals have shown us over and over again, all you really need is a total lack of moral compass. Here are some of the world’s biggest bank heists committed by some of history’s boldest criminals.
British Bank of Middle East Heist
While some criminals prefer a more subtle approach, the bank robbers who pulled off this heist at a British bank in Beirut, Lebanon decided to make a show of it. On January 20th, 1976, under the cover of the chaos of the Lebanese civil war, a small heavily armed militia aligned with Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization set off an explosion that blasted a hole in the shared wall between a Catholic Church and the British Bank of the Middle East.
The robbers then broke into the bank’s vaults and stole £25 million worth of gold bars, currency, jewels, and stocks, estimated to be worth around $143 million today. The money was thought to have been funneled back into the PLO and the perpetrators were never caught.