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History’s high-profile security breaches

For as long as there has been money and value there has been crime, and for as long as there has been a crime there have been security solutions to help prevent it. The old adage claims that crime doesn’t pay, but if you were to ask some of the world’s most high-profile criminals about the spoils of their actions, the figures they could tell you might take your breath away. Criminals will continue to attempt to steal valuable items from others because they believe it will make them rich, and prove easier than working. As such, we must continue to improve our security solutions in order to deter thieves where possible. Just take a look at these three high-profile security breaches and see how determined criminals can be!

The Antwerp Diamond Heist

You may have already heard of the Antwerp Diamond Heist – it was labelled ‘the heist of the century’ after all! Sometimes, real life is more elaborate than fiction. In a plotline worthy of Ocean’s 11, a team of master thieves stole $100 million worth of diamonds, gold and jewellery from a vault below the Antwerp Diamond Centre in Belgium, 2003. The mastermind behind the heist was a man named Leonardo Notarbartolo, and his preparations for the crime were meticulous to say the least. Notarbartolo rented a vacant office space in the diamond centre two years before the heist was to begin, posing as a diamond merchant in order to gain credibility and access to the building. After gaining knowledge of the Diamond Centre’s security procedures whilst casing the building for two years, Notarbartolo and his companions were able to bypass a seismic sensor, a magnetic field, a Doppler radar, heat sensors and a lock boasting 100 million possible combinations in order to steal their bounty. Unfortunately for Notarbartolo, he was caught after DNA from a partially-eaten sandwich gave him away!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist

If the Antwerp Diamond Heist seemed like a high-grossing crime, then the Isabella Stewart Museum Heist will help to put it into perspective. On Saint Patrick’s Day 1990, two thieves were able to gain entry to Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and take valuable works of art worth a combined $500 million – it’s the largest private property theft in history. The thieves entered dressed as police officers and were able to subdue and handcuff the museum’s security guards. Over the course of 81 minutes, the two thieves took a number of works by Rembrandt, Degas and Manet, although they also left more valuable items including works by Botticelli and Raphael, suggesting that some of the artworks could have been stolen to order. To this day the paintings have never been recovered, and their whereabouts remain a mystery.

The Burglaries of Jack Maclean

The two aforementioned crimes involve grand, one-off heists with the promise of a large payout at the end. Most thieves, however, are recidivists – they routinely burgle houses and commercial properties in order to fund their lifestyles. The renowned cat burglar Jack Maclean was just such a criminal, although he was never of the ordinary smash-and-grab variety most of our security customers will have encountered. Over the course of countless years as a professional thief, Maclean was able to amass a fortune of more than $130 million built entirely on ill-gotten goods. Maclean had an encyclopaedic knowledge of security systems and alarms, and as such was able to break into the properties of wealthy homeowners, steal their valuables and exit again without leaving so much as a scrap of evidence. More often than not, his victims would simply be led to believe that they had mislaid or lost their valuables. Eventually, however, Maclean was caught, and during his 15 years in prison wrote a number of books that would benefit the security industry, helping homeowners to protect their property from skilled thieves.

These high-profile burglaries and heists reveal the lengths that some criminals are prepared to go to in order to take your property, and while the majority of the criminals your commercial property will face are unlikely to be as sophisticated as the three mentioned above, high-quality security systems are certainly important. If you’d like to protect your assets from the concerted efforts of thieves and other criminals this year, take a look at our range of security services or contact us today.

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