Some notes before we begin.
Note Number One: I love heists. I love them so much. I love movies about heists and news stories about heists and even just sitting around and thinking about heists. I love big fancy jewel heists and weird food heists and heists of things I had never considered heistable. This is what I am about, on a personal level.
Note Number Two: At the beginning of this year, I created a Google doc that I filled with links to news stories about weird and notable heists. As of this morning, the document is 10 pages long and contains 34 separate heists. For this post, I have narrowed it down to only my favorites. The best of the best. I consider this an important public service.
Note Number Three: My favorite heist ever was the time a guy stole a bucket of gold out of a truck in New York, in broad daylight, and remained on the loose for months, leaving police so frustrated that they released the only picture they had of him, which was him at Madam Tussaud’s sitting on a wax sculpture of the bike from E.T., complete with a tiny wax E.T. in a tiny wax basket. None of these heists are as good as that heist. Because nothing at all is better than that heist.
Note Number Four: Neither I nor the fine people at Uproxx condone crime, even when it is hilarious. You should not do crimes. But if someone else does a crime, especially if it involves stealing, say, 20 tons of Nutella (oh, that is on the list), well then I see nothing wrong with having some fun with it. That’s all we’re doing here.
Note Number Five: Pierce Brosnan is at the top of this post because Pierce Brosnan is the patron saint of heists.
Synchronize your watches and put on your black turtlenecks, people. It is heisting time.
Million-dollar fajita heist!
From Atlas Obscura:
Initially, investigators believed that Escamilla stole between $2,500 and $30,000 worth of fajitas. In August, after finding fajita packets at Escamilla’s house, authorities booked him. Escamilla made bail, but he was arrested again earlier this week, this time on first-degree theft felony charges. As The Brownsville Herald reports, his fajita haul clocked in closer to $1,251,578. “If it wasn’t so serious, you’d think it was a Saturday Night Live skit,” Luis V. Saenz, the Cameron County District Attorney, told the paper.
By poring over invoices, purchase orders, and vouchers, investigators also found that Escamilla had a streamlined system: He delivered fajitas to buyers the very same day he ordered them.
- This isn’t “technically” a heist because it was a decade-long scheme that involved fraudulently obtaining smaller amounts of fajitas and then reselling them to other parties
- I do not care because I love it
- Imagine buying black market fajitas
Large inflatable obstacle course heist!
From The Daily Courier:
Police say an open-topped red cargo trailer and the eight-piece obstacle course were stolen from a commercial yard in southwest Phoenix on May 7 or May 8.
Police said in a statement Wednesday that the obstacle course is 180 feet (55 meters) long and 25 feet (8 meters) wide when inflated.
There is a lot I like about this heist, from the logistics of stealing a huge inflatable obstacle course to the fact that someone came up with the idea and another person was all “Hell yeah,” but my favorite thing about it is the Phoenix Police Department getting catty as heck about it online.
That’s a good tweet.
Million-dollar lobster heist!
From Metro News Canada:
Four men are facing charges after a million dollars worth of lobster was stolen from a New Brunswick seafood company last Canada Day.
The RCMP say they believe the lobster heist is connected to a larger crime ring targeting cargo shipments in Quebec and New Brunswick.
This will come up again as we discuss other heists, but I really want you to picture someone with one million dollars worth of live lobsters. I choose to believe the whole lot of them were auctioned off at a secret black market seafood event where people said things like “The Russian Federation bids $1.1 million for the lobsters.”
Rare book heist!
From The Guardian:
The three thieves made off with more than 160 publications after raiding the storage facility near Heathrow in what has been labelled a Mission: Impossible-style break-in.
The gang are reported to have climbed on to the building’s roof and bored holes through the reinforced glass-fibre skylights before rappelling down 40ft of rope while avoiding motion-sensor alarms.
Oh hell yes. I am all about heists that involve rappelling into a room filled with motion sensors. I really don’t see how we can improve on this. Unless…
The rarity of the books would make them incredibly hard to unload on the open market, Cook notes, and investigators theorize that a wealthy collector known as “The Astronomer” may have hired the thieves to steal the books for him.
Oh hell yes. A team of thieves rappelled into a room filled with motion sensors to steal $2.5 million worth of rare books, possibly at the behest of a wealthy collector known as The Astronomer. Make this a movie immediately. Jeff Goldblum as The Astronomer. I’ll go see it in IMAX on opening day.