Disclaimer: Protect America does not condone any thievery or re-enactment of historic thievery.
Thieves have been reeking havoc on people for ages. Homeowners and businesses aren’t the only ones susceptible to being stolen from—museums, art galleries, trains, and any other structure with valuable goods is open territory for a thief.
There’s many been many famous historic crooks. Some have had films, books, and other popular media created about them (like blog posts) and their lore continues to this day.
Let’s take a look at some of the most notable historic thieves:
The Sundance Kid sitting on the left and Butch Cassidy on the right.
1. Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and the Wild Bunch Gang
The leader of the Wild Butch Gang, Butch Cassidy is one of the more famous names in historic robbery lore. His partner the Sundance Kid was a fellow outlaw in his gang.
The pair and their group of outlaws were famous for robbing from banks and trains. After they began to be pursued by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, they fled the United States for Argentina, where it’s believed they died in a shootout.
2. Ma Barker (No Photo Available)
Arizona Donnie Barker was commonly known as Kate Barker or Ma Barker. She was the mother of a gang of criminals called the Barker Gang.
She has been present in films, literature, and songs. The president at the time, J. Edgar Hoover, thought her as one of the most resourceful famous criminals of of the decade, but those that were close to her say she didn’t actually play a criminal role.
3. Bonnie and Clyde
Likely the most notorious criminal couple to ever live, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Barrow were a pair that reeked havoc across the central United States during the great depression era.
Along with their gang of robbers, the duo committed over a dozen or so bank robberies, but actually preferred to rob smaller stores and rural gas stations.
They’ve been noted many times in popular culture and even a Jay-Z and Beyonce song was made referencing the duo.
4. John Dillinger
This notorious American gangster robbed over 24 banks and four police stations with his crew of famous criminals. His other criminal exploits include escaping from jail twice.
In the era of outlaws that was the great depression, he often stood out among the pack of famous burglars. (Others included Bonnie and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson of our list.)
5. Jesse James
Jesse James was a bank and train robber and one of the more popular and well known robbers of the wild west, and his tale was even told on the big screen in a film starring Casey Affleck and Brad Pitt.
But little do many people know that Jesse James actually had a brother named Frank James who aided in starting the James-Younger gang that enacted robberies. James ended up being killed by a member of his own gang, Robert Ford, a man who wanted to collect the Reward for Jesse James. This is the story that was recounted in the film.
6. Baby Face Nelson
Lester Joseph Gills is a notorious and well-known bank robber who earned his nickname of Baby Face Nelson due to his very youthful physical appearance.
At one point in his career, Baby Face even helped John Dillinger escape from prison.
7. Colton Harris-Moore (No Photo Available)
The last spot on our list is reserved for a recent criminal who’s far from the various gangsters of the depression era. Harris-Moore robbed over one hundred private residences, small aircraft, boats, and two cars.
He’s been touted as the “Barefoot Bandit” because many of his robberies were allegedly committed while barefoot. He was sentenced for his crimes in 2012, and is the most recent famous burglar in history.