We live in an era in which accessibility to home security is nearly ubiquitous. Obviously, the benefits of purchasing such a system or service are considerable; you receive the peace of mind associated with knowing that you, your family and your possessions are under protection. While we hope that you never experience the effects of a break-in or burglary to your home, we invite you to gain some context regarding the evolution of such crimes by reading about some of the biggest break-ins in history.

The Gardner Museum Art Heist

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Art in Boston was robbed by two men in 1990. The two perpetrators gained entrance to the building by disguising themselves as police officers, physically overpowering and subduing the guards on duty and then locking them in the basement of the museum. Among the pieces stolen from the collection  were works by Rembrandt, Degas and Vermeer. The two men were never caught, and the artwork (which has never been recovered) is estimated to be valued at a total of over $500 million. Furthermore, the statute of limitations on the robbery has passed, exonerating the men from legal action should they ever be caught.

The Great Train Robbery

Perhaps the single most famous heist of all time, this robbery took place in Buckinghamshire, England in 1963. A mail train was carrying several million pounds en route to a depository. Prior to reaching i’s destination, though, the train was stopped by a group of men using a fake signal light. The robbers had cars waiting near the train, into which they loaded over 100 mail bags containing roughly 2.6 million pounds. Ultimately, all the men involved in the raid were caught, with the exception of Ronnie Biggs, who eluded authorities by hiding in Brazil for over 40 years. He eventually turned himself into the police in 2001.

The Harry Winston Heist

The Harry Winston jewelry store in Paris is renowned for having some of the finest diamonds in the world. Regrettably, having such an extensive collection of exquisite diamonds can attract more than just shoppers. In 2008, the store was taken over by a group of four men. They were armed with a .357 magnum and one hand grenade and, to further the uniqueness of their crime, all four of the men were dressed in drag. They ushered the staff and patrons into one corner, broke many of the diamond cases, took the contents and left. The total haul is estimated to be worth approximately $108 million. The men, believed to be part of a Yugoslavian theft syndicate, have never been caught. To this day, there exists a $1 million bounty on the capture of any of them.