Large scale robberies of cash, gold or even diamonds are well reported, and the modern common thief is likely to want to get their hands on the latest smartphone or gadget. However over the years there have been some more bizarre robberies.
Here are seven of the more outlandish items that have been targeted by thieves:
Coral Springs beach, Jamaica
In 2008 property developers in Trelawny, northern Jamaica put plans for a new resort at Coral Spring beach on hold after the suspected theft of hundreds of tons of white sand. The Jamaican Prime Minister at the time, Bruce Golding, was puzzled and ordered a report into how the estimated 500 truckloads of sand disappeared. Local speculation eventually blamed the disappearance on a rival hotel.
In 2011, African entertainer Greg da Silva was devastated to find his famous ‘world’s largest egg hat’ stolen as he recovered in hospital. Visiting the German city of Halle, Mr Da Silva suffered from heat stroke and was admitted to a local hospital. He awoke the following day to find his hardboiled hat had gone missing.
The Empire State building
In 2008 the New York Daily News successfully pulled off one of the biggest heists in American history by “stealing” the iconic Empire State Building. Exposing a loophole in the city’s system for recording property transactions the newspaper was able to transfer ownership of the $2bn property in just 90 minutes. It returned ownership of the landmark the following day.
Margaret Wells, 76, from Portsmouth was stunned to find herself a victim of burglary in 2011. Among the missing items was a life size model of the family favourite alien from Steven Spielberg’s 1982 hit movie. A year later the Hampshire coastguard received a distress call reporting a body off the coast only to find the missing ET. He was returned home to his rightful owner.
287 tons of chocolate
An Italian criminal gang added chocolate to their black market distribution list when they robbed 287 tonnes, worth an estimated US$8m, from chocolatiers Lindt & Sprüngli in 2014. Local police became suspicious when they found 5,000 boxes of Lindor chocolate in a Naples warehouse a year later and arrested 48 members of the gang.
In 2010 a California car dealership was rocked by the theft of a 30 foot tall, 350 pound inflatable gorilla mascot from its roof. The $4,000 mascot often deflated in high winds so the owners were not alarmed initially when it disappeared from sight. It wasn’t until someone climbed onto the dealership roof they found it had actually been stolen.
Just months before England hosted the 1966 FIFA World Cup, the Jules Rimet cup was stolen while on display at a London exhibition of postage stamps. The thieves ignored a stamp collection with a value of £3m, opting to take the £30,000 solid gold trophy instead. The cup was later found by a police search dog named Pickles. In 1983 it was stolen again in Rio de Janeiro and never recovered.
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