Heists

The Millennium Dome Raid
The Millennium Dome raid was an attempted robbery of the Millennium Dome's diamond exhibition in Greenwich, South East London on November 7, 2000. A local gang including Lee Wenham, Raymond Betson and William Cockram had planned to ram-raid the De Beers diamond exhibition which was being held in the dome at the time.

The gang had then planned to escape via the Thames in a speedboat.
Police caught raiders red-handed when they foiled a massive diamond robbery at the Millennium Dome, a court has heard. Their actions stopped the robbers getting away with £200m worth of "perhaps the rarest and finest" diamonds in the world, the Old Bailey was told.

Martin Heslop QC prosecuting, spoke at the start of the trial of six men accused of plotting to rob the De Beers Millennium Diamond Exhibition.
Mr Heslop said the robbers were caught as they smashed their way into the Dome with a JCB digger, equipped with a giant mechanised shovel.
The attempted robbery was foiled by the Flying Squad of the Metropolitan Police Service, who already had the gang members under surveillance for their suspected roles in a number of unsuccessful armoured vehicle robberies. The operation to foil the robbery was the biggest operation undertaken in the Flying Squad's history and at trial the judge in the case made a special point of commending the way it was carried out.
The digger had been modified to carry four people inside. "Because of the very nature of the vehicle, it was less likely that anyone would have any chance of stopping it as they made their getaway," said Mr Heslop. Those inside came equipped with gas masks, smoke grenades and bottles of ammonia to discharge, he told the jury.

They also held a sledgehammer, wire cutters, a sophisticated nail gun and body armour.
The robbery was planned professionally and carefully down to the last detail and almost succeeded. But senior police officers, suspicious of a plan to obtain the diamonds, mounted a sophisticated operation to thwart it. On the night before the raid they removed the DeBeers diamonds and replaced them with worthless fakes, just in case the robbers succeeded.

Undercover police officers and sophisticated CCTV were ready in wait for the robbers, the court heard.
Four men who attempted to pull off a daring £200m diamond heist at the Millennium Dome have been found guilty of conspiring to rob. Gang members were caught by armed police as they smashed their way into the south east London attraction with an earth mover in November 2000.

The guilty men are: •Aldo Ciarrocchi, 32, of Bermondsey, London
•William Cockram, 49, of Catford, London
•Raymond Betson, 40, of Chatham, Kent
•Robert Adams, 57, no fixed address

Betson and Cockram were jailed for 18 years each. Adams and Ciarrocchi got 15 years each. Meredith was jailed for five years. The four had admitted conspiring to steal the 12 diamonds, including the Millennium Star, one of the world's largest gems, from the De Beers Millennium Exhibition.
The court heard how Adams - known as Bob the Builder - had confessed to police after his arrest.

He told officer Brian McNamara: "I was 12 inches from pay day. It would have been a blinding Christmas." Adams described trying to break through the £50,000 three-quarter inch armoured plated glass vault with a sledgehammer. "I cannot believe how easily the glass went. I only hit it twice," he told the officer.



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Italian Bullion Heist
In what police called "the perfect robbery," bandits made off with millions of Euros in an ambush Monday on two armored security vans in northern Italy.

The meticulously planned attack involved about a dozen men who fired smoke bombs and more than 50 shots to frighten security crews on the trucks. Astonishingly, no one was injured in the hail of bullets on the A9 highway between Milan and Como.
Wearing police clothing, the bandits blocked traffic on the highway by setting fire to a truck about 7 a.m. (1 a.m. ET). Once the armored vans came along, they parked another truck behind them, hemming them in. Firing Kalashnikov rifles into the air, the thieves set off a smoke bomb beneath one of the trucks to fool the guards into abandoning their posts in the belief that it was on fire. They then started unpacking the loot, which included an unspecified haul of gold bullion.

In an indication of how thoroughly the bandits had studied the security company's routine, they didn't bother with the other truck, knowing it was an empty decoy, police said. The commandos escaped in three cars as police were slowed by nails the crew had scattered at three different locations.

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/08/17658465-thieves-make-off-with-millions-in-brazen-highway-robbery-in-italy?lite


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Brazen gold heist in Curacao
On November 30, 2012 masked gunmen, disguised as policemen, raided a fishing boat in Curacao and escaped with over US$11.5M in gold.

The boat, by its appearance, would seem an unlikely place to stash the 70 gold bars which weighed approximately 216 kg. (476 pounds). Curacao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. Many believe the gold was smuggled from Guyana.

Guyana produces around 650,000 ounces of gold a year, and officials say that up to half that amount is smuggled out of the country to avoid paying taxes. Most is sold in neighboring Brazil,Venezuela and Suriname.

Curacao police initially arrested seven suspects. Police spokesman Reginald Huggins said that one of the suspects is from Bonaire, three are from Venezuela and the remainder from Curacao. One of the men was later released while the others were held in custody.
On January 12, US authorities confiscated 11 gold bars with an estimated value of US$1.7 million which were sent by mail from Curacao to Puerto Rico.

The suspected contraband, weighing nearly 77 pounds, was discovered in several courier packages at an airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Today a spokesman for the Curacao prosecutor's office said a prominant 51-year-old businessman from Curacao had also been arrested. His name was not released. Spokesman Norman Serphos says police searched two homes Tuesday and seized evidence in the case.

There are now seven people detained as suspects. A judge last week ruled there was enough evidence to continue holding those caught earlier for at least 60 days more as the investigation continues.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Police+Curacao+arrest+seize+evidence+November+gold+heist/7854954/story.html

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Golden Cookie Stolen - Monster suspected

German police have launched a hunt for the "Cookie Monster" after an iconic golden biscuit was stolen from one of the country's most famous biscuit makers.




This photo from German newspaper 'Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung' shows a big blue 'Cookie Monster' with a giant golden biscuit which has been stolen from the Bahlsen biscuit company - it was part of the company's trademark sign. It came with a letter (right) claiming responsibility for the theft and demanding the company deliver free cookies to children's hospitals to get it back.
The real Cookie Monster has assured followers on Twitter that he is not the culprit.





http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9839777/German-police-hunt-Cookie-Monster-over-theft-of-gold-biscuit.html

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In March 2012 a one-kilo gold bar was allegedly found to have been "salted" with tungsten.

That episode was debunked by the Perth Mint but in September 2012 a gold dealer in Manhattan's Diamond District on 47th Street discovered an evidently certified gold bar that was in fact more than 75 percent Tungsten.
"Ten ounce bars are thicker, making them harder to detect if counterfeited — the standard X-rays used by dealers don't penetrate deep enough.

Plus, the bars had been sealed and numbered. So whoever did this must be running an extremely sophisticated operation, Fadl said."
http://www.businessinsider.com/tungsten-filled-gold-bars-found-in-new-york-2012-9#ixzz2LBklOE00

Conspiracy theorists went into a feeding frenzy. Some suggested this incident was the 'tip of the iceberg' in the theory of a vast conspiracy that the world's gold supplies are being debased by filling gold ingots with tungsten.

"Are the gold bars in Fort Knox really made of the precious metal? Or has the U.S. government secretly sold off the nation's stockpile and replaced it with metal bars that are only painted gold?

Ron Paul wants to find out. Giving legitimacy to an Internet conspiracy theory that the gold in Fort Knox is fake, the iconoclast Republican congressman from Texas has asked adminstration officials to audit the purity of the nation's 700,000 gold bars held in Fort Knox, according to an internal Treasury document obtained by CNBC.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43391588/Is_Gold_in_Fort_Knox_Real_Ron_Paul_Wants_to_Know
Obtaining gold plated tungsten is just a click away. China Tungsten Manufacturing & Sales Corp allows consumers to purchase directly.

The site advertises:

People have discovered that tungsten is environmental-friendly, durable and hardness, the most important is that its density of 19.25g/cm3 is just about the same density as gold (19.3g/cm3), which bears the similar specific gravity.
These advantages make tungsten alloy golden bar and gold-plated tungsten bar enjoys the superiority to be the best golden substitution for the costly metal of gold or platinum."

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Dh11m gold robbery foiled
Things didn't end well for a group of gold thieves in Dubai

"The gang had rented a store behind the gold shop and carefully cut through the wall using iron rods and other tools, which took "a substantial amount of time", Brig Gen Al Mansoori said.

"The men were very skilled in the operation," he said. "They took advantage of the calmness of the area and the lack of people around it." CCTV cameras in the shop were not able to clearly capture images of the men as they broke through the wall in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Having got in, they let in the rest of the gang and started pillaging the shelves, with one man remaining outside as a lookout. As soon as police were alerted, a task force was set up and all border ports were put on watch to ensure the gold did not leave the country. "Our team managed to identify one of the suspects and he was arrested in another emirate," Brig Gen Al Mansoori said. The other men were picked up a few hours later, he said.


http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/dh11m-gold-robbery-planned-from-foreign-jail-police-say




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Despite India's best efforts to curb illegal gold imports, gold smuggling has been rampant.


"According to the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, India imported 950 tonnes in 2012. Of this, 250 tonnes has come into the country through the illegal channel.

"In 2011, India imported over 900 tonnes of gold and none of it came through smuggling. The hike in customs duty has not stopped the import of gold into the country. It has only changed the route as smugglers earn a profit of around $3,719 (Rs 200,000) on every kilogram of gold smuggled into the country," said Federation Chairman Bachhraj Bamalwa.

http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/content/en//mineweb-political-economy?oid=177265&sn=Detail



"India, the world’s largest consumer of gold, has been facing a huge problem of widening current account deficit (CAD) because of outflow of the foreign exchange on gold imports.

The CAD widened to $38.7 billion or 4.6 per cent of the GDP in the first half of the current financial year, pushing the government to hike the customs duty from 4 per cent to 6 per cent. In the Budget for 2012-13, it was raised from 2 per cent to 4 per cent." The latest duty hike, in January 2013, took the rate of tax on Gold Bullion imports to 6%, with the duty on unrefined gold rising to 5%.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/250-tonnes-of-gold-smuggled-into-india-in-2012-jewellery-body-113020800014_1.html
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On January 13, 2013 news broke of a multi-agency police search on a home on Pomona Avenue in El Cerrito. It was tied to a $ 1.25m gold heist from the Siskiyou County Courthouse, according to a news report.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey was among 18-20 law enforcement personnel who served a search warrant at 200 block of Pomona, a block away from Harding Elementary School.

The gold, taken by two hooded suspects shown on security video, was part of a historic gold display tied to the county's role in the California Gold Rush and was worth more than $1.25 million, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's department.

The stolen items were described as "historic gold nuggets mined by some of the first settlers in the remote California-Oregon border."




http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/big-police-raid-in-el-cerrito-appears-tied-to-major-gold-heist




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The theft of 36kg of gold in Durgapur, India, on February 10, 2013, is perhaps the biggest heist in the state in recent memory. Armed robbers fled with jewellery and cash worth Rs.10 crore (Rs.100 million) from a gold financing company's office in the Uttar Pradesh capital, police said.

The heist took place in Alambagh when a gang of robbers barged onto the office of Muthoot Finance and held seven employees and the manager hostage and fled with the booty. The company gives people cash loans against deposits of gold and ornaments. Five persons, including a woman, were netted in Dhanbad on Wednesday in connection with the heist.

With this, the number of arrests in the case has reached 10. About 10 per cent of the 36kg in stolen gold has been recovered.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. A drunken man boasting about kilograms of gold in his possession was the first clue that led to the crackdown of the Muthoot dacoity incident. His rants were overheard by a crime branch constable Rajesh Singh near a liquor store in Alambagh area earlier this week. It was odd for a man of limited means to be in possession of several gold coins. The drunken man was the father of Mohammad Arif, the youth who participated in the heist. Arif had given a portion of the booty to his family members before absconding. His father came under the police radar when he was trying to sell the gold at a small-time jewellery store in Alambagh.


http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-01/lucknow/37372680_1_gold-ornaments-youths-2-kg-gold

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"After a remarkable series of events, a treasure trove of Early Bronze Age gold has gone on display in Ireland for the first time.

Police officers recovered the ancient artifacts in 2009, after they were tossed in a dumpster along with the stolen safe they had been kept in at Sheehan’s Pharmacy in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. It is believed that the thieves had failed to notice the 5,000-year-old gold hidden among documents when they dumped out the contents of the safe.

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Ancient-gold-horde-found-in-dumpster-goes-on-display-132608168.html
"The collection – consisting of a gold crescent shaped collar and two small gold discs – was originally discovered by Hubert Lannon while he was digging in a bog in 1945.

Two years later, he gave the artifacts to the Sheehan family, who kept them locked in their pharmacy’s safe for over sixty years.




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On Nov 14, 2012 it was reported four men suspected in the heist of more than $1 million in gold and gems from the California State Mining and Minerals Museum in Mariposa have been arrested, investigators said, adding that more arrests were possible.

Men dressed as ninjas and armed with pick-axes broke into the Sierra foothill museum Sept. 28 2011, in broad daylight, and herded two employees into a far room before smashing display cases.
But the thieves failed to get away with the facility's most prized possession: The Fricot nugget, nearly 14 pounds of crystalline gold believed to be the largest nugget to survive the California Gold Rush. The intruders triggered an alarm system, which automatically closed the doors to the nugget's vault. But they dove out of the vault in time and escaped the museum with other artifacts.

A spokesman for the California Highway Patrol -- the lead agency investigating the state museum break-in -- said some of the stolen gold with quartz had been recovered.


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One of the largest California gold nugget left in existence was reportedly discovered near the northern California Mother Lode Gold Rush mining camp of Washington, California in 2010.

The nugget was claimed to have been found by an amateur miner who was out sleuthing on his own property using a metal detector. When the man brought the nugget to the offices of geologist Fred Holabrid in Reno, Nev., for verification, Mr. Holabrid knew it was "one in a trillion." and valued at $250,000-$400,000,

The nugget weighed in at 98 ounces and is about the size of a small loaf of bread. By way of comparison, the largest California nugget still in existence, which is on display at the Smithsonian Museum, weighs 80 ounces.

After frenzied bidding the nugget was sold for $ 460,000.
NEVADA CITY, CA (AP).- A 6.2-pound hunk of gold was auctioned for nearly half a million dollars in March after a man claimed he found it on his Sierra Nevada property, but it turns out it was actually dug up decades earlier in Australia.


After Jim Sanders' "find" on his property near Nevada City in California's Gold Country made news last year, Australian prospector Murray Cox compared pictures of Sanders' "Washington Nugget" with "The Orange Roughie" he unearthed near Melbourne in 1987, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"I picked up the magazine and knew in two seconds that was (our nugget)," Cox said.

Cox said he and a friend, Reg Wilson, 62, unearthed the giant nugget in November 1987 in a farm field near the town of Ballarat, north of Melbourne.

Cox provided a 1987 article from the Melbourne Sun newspaper describing the event, along with a Sun photograph of the two men holding the giant nugget they called Orange Roughie because of its fish-like shape.

James Saunders Grill reported finding the 98-ounce nugget last year on his property along the South Fork of the Yuba River in the Gold Rush-era mining town of Washington.

After the discovery, a Website appeared seeking investors to help develop a commercial mining operation called the Lost Scotchman Mine on the 180-acre property, suggesting the giant nugget was just the "tip of the iceberg."

"The parties have mutually concluded that the nugget was from Australia," Holabird said Tuesday in a statement.

"The Orange Roughie" weighing 98 ounces found November 1987 near the town of Ballarat, north of Melbourne.
The Fricot Nugget is a piece of crystalline gold that was found by William Russell Davis in 1865. It was discovered while mining at the Grit Mine at Spanish Dry Diggin's in El Dorado County. It was found in a pocket 200 feet below the surface, along with over 200 ounces of other smaller nuggets. It was later sent to New York, where it was purchased by Fricot.

The nugget has traveled the world in various displays including the Paris Exposition in 1878. It weighs 201 troy ounces and is one of the largest masses of gold still to remain intact from the gold rush days as most were melted down and refined.