7 ‘Ocean’s Eleven’-Style Heists (That Happened In Real Life)
Hollywood makes the “big heist” look like a cool, dramatic affair. And if they do it right, the audience is left in awe of the criminals who pulled it off against all odds. That, of course, is irresponsible. In reality, criminals are not so bold or ingenious, they’re just thugs who- oh wait, absolutely everything in this article is about bold and ingenious criminals in real life? Well dang. Let’s praise some crime!
7: A 16-Year-Old Rappels From The Roof Of A Car Dealership To Steal Guy Fieri’s Lamborghini
In 2013, Max Wade wanted to impress a girl. Like most stories that start this way, what followed was pure idiocy. His plan sounds like … well, like something a 16-year-old would come up with. He wanted to climb to the top of a car dealership, rappel down like in Mission: Impossible, and steal Guy Fieri’s $200,000 yellow Lamborghini.
It was a stupid, stupid idea. And it worked.
A security camera snapped a shot of the car zooming across the Golden Gate Bridge, and that was the last time anyone saw it until a year and a half later. When cops eventually caught the kid and recovered the car, it wasn’t even because of the original crime. Wade (by then a hardened 17-year-old career criminal) was apprehended after he shot five times at the girl he originally wanted to impress, plus her actual boyfriend. Turns out felony grand larceny of a reality TV star’s automobile is not an instant ticket to Flavor Town.
Thankfully, neither the girl nor her boyfriend were seriously injured, but Wade was sent to jail for that, as well as the theft. Fieri even testified, and it’s weird watching the interview. You keep waiting for him to take a bite of a jalapeno popper and call it “funkalicious,” but all he does is crack jokes about this teenager who was just sentenced to life in jail. Dynamite!
6: A Master Thief Parachutes Onto The Roof Of A Palace To Steal A Priceless Jewel
Gerald Blanchard was the sort of thief who would sneak into banks through heating vents, build secret hiding spots in the places he wanted to rob, then escape arrest by crawling through the ceiling of a police station. You know, classic hacky crime novel fodder. So when he heard about the Sisi Star, a priceless piece of jewelry created for Empress Elizabeth of Austria, Blanchard figured it was the sort of thing someone like him should steal as spectacularly as possible.
How? By grabbing a pilot friend, boarding a light plane, and parachuting down to land on the roof of the Austrian palace containing the jewel.
He then rappelled down a wall and slipped in through a window he had unlocked while on a tour of the palace museum the day before. After disabling the alarm, Blanchard quickly switched out the Star with a replica he had bought in the museum gift shop. It seems it was a very high-quality gift shop, because it took several weeks before anyone noticed the Star was missing. They actually found his abandoned parachute way earlier, but didn’t think much of it, because who hasn’tsuddenly remembered they’re wearing a parachute right before entering a museum?
Once he had this historically significant jewel in his possession, Blanchard … put it in his grandmother’s basement and promptly forgot about it. He knew he couldn’t fence it; he just took it on a whim, like it was a Twix bar at the supermarket checkout line. He led the cops to it in 2007 after being arrested for some unrelated crimes. Twenty years after this movie-caliber heist, this master thief keeps busy by, uh, getting caught shoplifting gaming consoles at Best Buy. The sequels are always a disappointment, aren’t they?