A well executed heist is difficult to complete. Oftentimes theft is committed by a burglar who’s found an open door or window, or who just uses brute force to enter an establishment, but heists of high-scale items are difficult to pull off. Theft is costly for whoever is victim. The costs not only include damage to homes and property, but of course the value for items that were taken during the event. This list of seven of the most expensive items ever stolen.

If you remember the famous theft scene in the first Mission Impossible film, a lot of planning, strategy, and execution amidst stressful situation are some of the variables that need to come together for a heist to be executed.

In film we’ve seen some incredible tales of heists, which we’ve written about previously, but there are the some real life heists that meet film-level proportions and feature truly expensive items. Here are seven of the most expensive items ever stolen:

1. The Mona Lisa  

Arguably the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was stolen in August of 1911. Even in 1911 the community responded with a whirlwind of media attention (you could only imagine the frenzy this would cause with social media in 2016). Some people even accused Pablo Picasso of taking the work. 

It took an entire two years before it was realized that the Mona Lisa was taken. But once the perpetrator, Vincenzo Perugia, tried to sell the work to an art dealer in Florence, Italy, it was quickly recovered and returned to the Louvre.

2. The Empire State Building

This famous and expensive theft is a little different on our list, because it doesn’t actually include the physical movement of an object. But due to the magnitude of the object, we had to include it.

The famed New York newspaper, the New York Daily News, stole the $2 billion building by creating fake materials including documents, notary stamps, and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property. This robber essentially showed a loophole in the cities way of recording transactions.

The Empire State Building was eventually returned to its rightful owners, but the story is a fascinating none the less that has many hilarious details worth reading.

4. Picasso Paintings

This story was recently resolved, but it took 14 years for a stolen Picasso painting to finally be returned. The painting, worth $15 million, was taken from the national museum of art in Paris and was given back to french embassy in 2015.

The piece of art was actually found by Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s homeland security investigations in an investigation of a targeted shipment. 

5. The Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius 

The Stradivarius is a $3 million violin that was stolen from the apartment of a famous concert violinist, Erica Morini, in New York City. The violin was made in 1727 by Antonio Stradivari but is known as the Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius

More importantly, this crime of theft has never been solved and the violin remains missing. To this day the crime remains on the FBI’s top ten art crimes list.


6. Dorothy’s Slippers

The famous red slippers that Dorothy used to tap her feet together in the film, the Wizard of Oz were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2005. The pair of shoes are believed to be worth anywhere from $2 to $3 million.

Currently an anonymous donor has proposed a reward of $1 million for the shoes to be found, but as of today the shoes are still missing. 

7. Theresa Roemer’s Closet

Theresa Roemer is famous for her 3,000 square foot, three-story closet. The closet is even equipped with a champagne bar.

But in likely the most famous closet theft of all time, Theresa had more than $1 million worth of product stolen from the famed closet. Authorities believe multiple suspects performed the heist. The theft included high-priced handbags and jewelry, among many other items.