When you think of stealing, you also think of getting away with stealing (the two ideas generally go hand-in-hand with one another). This usually means that people tend to consider stealing smaller scale items, like a chocolate bar! Or something that’s easily taken with them, like a car!
However, there are always the few of us who have a tendency to think on a larger scale, which is usually a good thing. Unfortunately, thinking large scales doesn’t always involve a super villain in a government takeover or a criminal mastermind pulling off the best bank robbery of all time. Sometimes bigger takes on its literal form and this results in large items (far beyond anything you can simply slip into your pocket) to suddenly disappear!
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest things that have ever been stolen and the stories behind them!
10. 300 Manhole Covers
In 1990, in Los Angeles, two thieves stole 300 manhole covers weighing 300 pounds each. For those of you too lazy to do the math, that’s 90,000 pounds of metal! The thieves in question went on to try and sell the metal for $75! Scrap dealers claim that the thieves could have made 30 times the money for selling recycled drink cans!
9. A Tank
An unemployed plumber made news headlines when he stole an M60 tank on May 17, 1995. The man in question stole the tank from the California Army National Guard Armory and went on a rampage, destroying everything in his path. The 23-minute chase by San Diego police (which wasn’t exactly the next installment of Speed since the tank could only go 30 mph at top speed) ended tragically, as the thief, who had been suffering several setbacks in his life, was shot and killed by police.
8. A Church
A 200 year old church was stolen in Russia. Brick by brick, the villagers of the nearby village stole the church to sell them to a local businessman who would use the material. The church, which has stood near the village of Komarovo since 1809, wasn’t noticed missing because it was not currently in use. However, when church officials started to consider resuming services there, they were met with some surprise as only the foundation and a few sections of wall were left.
7. A Fully Loaded Oil Tanker
In 2008, Somali pirates stole a fully loaded oil tanker from an oil field in Ghana. The oil-tanker contained 4.1 million barrels of oil worth $100 each. This has happened not once, not twice, but three times in eighteen months, leading many to suspect that the Nigerian navy guarding the ships are in on the game. One tanker was recovered, but painted another color!
6. Fighter Plane
In 1992 a Major from the Israeli Air Force stole a WWII Mustang Fighter Plane. After spotting the plane in a reserve airfield where it was waiting to be moved to a museum, the major spent some time restoring it before he flew it the almost-priceless vintage plane to Sweden where he sold it for $331,000! The plane is still being used by the Swedish companies and was only located when Interpol became involved!
5. 3,000 Pound Bell
In 2005 in Tacoma, Washington a 3,000 pound bell was stolen from a Buddhist temple. The bell, which was cast in Vietnam, was used very rarely and only for special occasions. According to the monks, the bell was priceless but I guess the thieves missed that memo because one year later they were caught trying to sell it for $500.
4. A Bridge
In 2007 a 200-tonne metal bridge was stolen. The bridge that was originally located in Khabarovsk in eastern Russia vanished overnight. The bridge was part of the only road that accessed a local heating plant. The company, who relies on the bridge to get their employees to work, says it will cost them $37,000 to replace the bridge.
Interestingly, this isn’t the only bridge to go missing. Bridges in India, the Czech Republic and Turkey have all been scooped up too!
3. A Beach
The year is 2008. The month is July. The country? Beautiful Jamaica. You’re there to relax under the palm trees and sun and you are just so excited to go to your favourite beach! Except… It’s gone. No, you’re memory isn’t failing you, the beach has been stolen.
Hundreds of tonnes of sand was stolen from Coral Spring beach in Trelawny in 2008 and Jamaican police still aren’t sure who took it! The stolen property, which would have equated to 500 truckloads of sand, was thought to have been stolen and sold to rival resorts.
2. The Empire State Building
In 2008, the New York Daily newspaper stole the $2 million Empire State Building. According to the paper, the stunt was launched in order to highlight the gigantic loophole in the city’s system for recording deeds, that is, the clerks didn’t have to verify the information! The papers contained hilarious details such as King Kong star, Fay Wray being a witness and the notary shared the same name as infamous bank robber Willie Sutton. 90 minutes after the documents were submitted, Neots Properties LLC were the new proud owners of the Empire State Building!
1. The Peak of a Mountain
In eastern India, locals from Mahatma village stole the peak of a nearby mountain called Humta Pahad. The story is a little more complicated than that however, as the unusually flat mountain peak has been chipped away by locals who then sell it to property developers so that they can feed their families. Villagers work eleven hours a day cutting at the rock. One third of the mountain has already disappeared, but with no other industries in sight, the villagers don’t seem to be slowing down. The government refuses to intervene, falsely claiming that the village falls under MCC (Maoist Communist Centre) territory, to cover up their ineptitude to provide these locals with other work. The cost of the damage and how much the locals have made off the mountain cannot be estimated.