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We've written quite a few articles on heists, which is why my editor told me, "If we're going to write another one, the stories need to be so unbelievable that they make me crap my pants." Well, fortunately for you, John Cheese is now dealing with a very bad laundry situation, because ...
Several Groups Of Thieves Steal Bridges -- Whole Bridges
While most folks get their thief on by jacking diamonds or train cars full of methylamine while rocking sweet goatees, some people just like to disrupt the morning commute in order to get a king’s ransom of scrap metal. This isn’t like The Wire, where someone relieves a vacant building of its copper, though. These guys were after a real score of the "dismantle an entire bridge" variety.
In the eastern part of the Czech Republic is a small town called Slavkov, which sounds like a liquor that doubles as an embalming agent. In that town lies a disused railway bridge with a still-in-use footbridge traversing it. A gang of wannabe metallurgists showed up in 2012 with forged documents that stated the structure was to be torn down immediately. As you can imagine, security at a defunct bridge is roughly "less than none," so they went to work dismantling the 650 foot, 10 ton beast under the guise that a new one was to be built in its place.
"Look, I know I'm super high right now, but just hear me out ..."
They, of course, lied and walked off with a hefty sum worth of metal. Well, if you consider $6300 a "hefty sum". It seems like an awful lot of labor for such little payoff. Strangely, bridge theft is not an isolated incident. In 2011, two brothers were busted while selling $5179 worth of scrap after dismantling and stealing a bridge in Pennsylvania. Another was stolen in Western Turkey in 2013. And another in Russia, back in 2008. And another in Ukraine in 2004.
It seems like for all their effort, they'd actually have it easier just getting a job at Dairy Queen. It's less work, and they'd get a discount on milkshakes.
Bank Robbers Steal $8 Million While Basically Throwing A Party For The Hostages
Let’s be frank: bank robberies aren’t exactly "fun". People suffer PTSD from the events, there’s always danger when weapons are introduced (just ask Mr. Blonde), and the banks are left with empty vaults -- what are the tellers supposed to roll around in while giggling after hours?
Some bank robberies don’t have to be a total drag, however. At Banco Rio in Argentina, robbers stole a reported $8 million in cash and prizes from safety deposit boxes. While the robbery was still in progress, 200 police surrounded the building, and it looked like they were going to be busted. And that’s where things got ... whimsical?
During the standoff, the gang ordered pizza and sodas for the 19 hostages while they waited for the robbery to wrap up. One of the robbers sang "Happy Birthday" to a teller -- we're hoping it was actually that person's birthday; otherwise, that would be kind of creepy. The hostages were also allowed to use their cellphones. As far as bank robbers go, they were pretty damn nice.
"Pineapple? Come on! Man, this robbery sucks!"
Right before they vanished, they left a note that stated the gang wanted to steal "money, not love." Toy guns were left behind intentionally. This wasn’t a heist, it was a pop-up party. Then while the police stood around outside, waiting for their opening, the thieves simply crawled through a hole in the wall that led to the sewer system, and Andy Dufresne’d their way to a getaway boat.
Unfortunately for them, the wife of one of the robbers had crisis of conscience when her man starting blabbing about a banco fiesta, and they were eventually caught.
An Artist Sneaks Into High Security Areas Of Museums And Hangs His Own Work
Over the years, many of New York City’s most famous art galleries have been experiencing a weird phenomenon: They were gaining inventory. As in, someone was coming in, hanging their own stuff and then bouncing.
It would have been funnier if he then sued them for copyright infringement.
Banksy, the infamous British artist who has displayed his guerilla-style work everywhere from the sides of trucks to the Gaza Strip, is the man responsible for the "hang-and-run" strikes across these museums. He read up on Houdini’s biographies to learn methods for sneaking into the tightly-secured galleries. He employed disguises, and when no one was looking, hung his works on the walls where they often stayed for weeks without being discovered. Imagine strolling past Henri Matisse’s Olive Trees at Collioure, exhaling at its beauty, and then coming across a painting of a woman in a gas mask, entitled “You have beautiful eyes”:
Londoners fear not, for Banksy has also visited and left a present at galleries near you as well. His work hung there until the glue he used to attach it to the wall failed. Otherwise, visitors for years could have enjoyed the visions of someone who was inspired by "cannabis resin and daytime television."
A Cop Robbed Banks And Then Investigated Them Later
Bank robbers have to possess a certain amount of metaphorical balls to do the job in the first place -- yes, even the ladies -- but only a complete moron would return to the scene after the crime has been committed. Yet that’s exactly what Andre Stander did. Here’s the wrinkle: he was a cop. A cop who specialized in murder and robbery. Basically, he was the Dexter of bank robberies.
Sometime in the late 1970s, Stander decided that he had learned enough on the right side of the law to be able to pull off some bank robberies of his own. And he did, successfully, for three years. Some heists would take place during his freaking lunch break. Then, donning larger pants to accommodate his enormous testicles, he would come back to the scene hours later in a police capacity and be all like, "So what happened here at this place that I'm seeing for the first time, because I've never been here before?"
Can you even imagine the fortitude it takes to interview witnesses who you'd just robbed and pointed weapons at? Well, his luck finally ran out in 1980 when he was sentenced to 75 years in prison ... which was interrupted in 1983 by his escape with two other inmates. And what do you do with yourself after breaking free from prison? You go back to what you know: robbing more banks. This time at a breakneck pace even for Stander. He and his gang sometimes hit as many as four in a day. That is an insane number of dye packs to have to thwart. Of course it didn’t last long, nor did it end well. The police finally caught up to Stander, and it ended with him being shot and killed.
Holy crap, what if Stander had shown up to investigate his own death?
Russian Thieves Steal An Entire Church
It’s obviously bad to steal stuff. Know why? Oh, just a little book written by THE LORD. Though for certain criminals in Russia, it’s not safety deposit boxes or bridges being ransacked. These thieves are taking churches.
Let's back up and say that again, because it's important that you understand that these words are literal: They. Took. A. Church.
"I'll give you a 12 pack of Coors for the shiny parts."
In 2008, thieves in the village of Komarovo dismantled a 200-year-old church, brick by brick. Of course, absconding with an entire church is not just a one-or-two-night process. This probably took a month or more, and the village is remote enough that no one was the wiser. The church wasn't in use, obviously -- otherwise worshippers would have noticed an increasing amount of draftiness during their weekend services. By the time the theft was discovered, all that remained were a few standing walls and the foundation.
This particular area of Russia, 186 miles from Moscow, is a pretty poor, crime-ridden area. The ornate designs and religious iconography of these old churches pretty much guarantee a good monetary return from Ted’s Pawn and Church Stuff Outlet, so it was only a matter of time before people started stripping them for profit. Still, the Russian Orthodox Church soldiers on, though they may want to invest in an on-site brick kiln. Or ... you know, some security.
Like this article? Check out "The Weirdest Products That Scammers Have Counterfeited" and "5 Moronic Criminals Who Basically Caught Themselves".