Bank robberies and heists have been a fascination for film-goers ever since the invention of the art, but when you read about bank robberies in the newspaper, they are rarely as well planned out or exciting as they are in the movies (and let’s be honest, none of them are as slick as George Clooney in Ocean’s 11). Well here are some real live heists that happened that we think are kooky enough to get a movie made out of them.
1. This old man who is suspected for 16 robberies across California may not be what he seems. Authorities believe that ‘The Geezer Bandit’ is actually a younger man in disguise, as evidence by how fast he flees the scene on foot. The FBI has put a $20,000 on the shapeshifting trickster’s head.
2. In 2008 some Swedes robbed a mail processing center with rifles. Pretty standard heist—up until the getaway. The Swedes planted several suitcases cartoonishly labeled “bomb” along the route, lit a few cars on fire and even dropped spikes behind them as they drove like they’re in a Mario Kart-type video game. In the end, it was revealed the criminals hadn’t really stolen anything of value from the processing center. What was all that about, then?
3. France supermarkets to this day are being cleaned out by the “Vacuum Gang”. In France the money from supermarkets gets funneled into through these giant suction. Using a modified vacuum cleaner the gang simply taps into those tubes and sucks up the money. As of 2011 the world’s most infamous vacuum wielders are rumored to have racked in over $800,000 and are still at large.
4. There is a Serbian gang of jewel thieves named the Pink Panthers, who inherited their name from the first heist they pulled, in which they stole a priceless jewel and hid it in a jar of face cream, the exact plot of the movie “Return of the Pink Panther”. In another heist they got prosethetic masks that made them look like women and managed to steal $100 million worth of jewelry from a store in Paris. In one of their most famous heists they painted a bench outside the target to say “wet paint” to keep people from sitting on it and become witnesses. Their alleged leader, Dragan Mikic was imprisoned, but he recently escaped using a rope ladder and hasn’t been seen since.
5. Paulo Sergio de Souz and his gang pulled a particularly beautiful heist in Brazil. He and his people slowly dug a tunnel directly underneath the Brazil Central Bank, using Sergio’s flower shop front to hide the soil. As careful as they were, the bank didn’t even have cameras that could get their faces on record. Although some of Sergio’s gang has been caught, Sergio remains in obscurity.
6. Albert Spaggiari performed the famous Societe Generale bank heist in 1976 France. He dug a tunnel underneath the bank, keeping his conspirators at a strict regiment of 10 hours of sleep a day with no alcohol or coffee. He stole 60 million francs and wrote “without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence” on the vault walls. He was never caught and eventually died at 52 of throat cancer.
7. So twelve dudes answered a Craigslist ad calling for road contractors with a really specific directions for attire: goggles and a blue work shirt. When they arrived, a thirteenth man showed up dressed up in the same outfit and stole a bag of cash from the guard of a parked armored truck. As he ran through the men dressed exactly like him, the real getaway began as he jumped into a nearby creek where an inner tube was awaiting him. He eventually got caught down stream, but it’s still probably the raddest attempt at robbery I’ve ever heard of.
The tricky thing about being a notorious bank robber is that you can’t really cash in on your reputation until you get caught so I doubt there will be a movie of the Geezer Bandit anytime soon, but boy we would we watch the crap out of that.