14 Heists, Robberies, and Other Great Capers - Atlas Obscura Lists

14 Heists, Robberies, and Other Great Capers

Who stole Dorothy’s ruby slippers?

In the dark hours of the morning on Monday, November 25, 2019, five masked men broke into the Green Vault i n Germany’s Dresden Castle, and walked out with a 49-carat diamond worth $12 million. Along with the Dresden white diamond, spoils of the $1.5 billion raid included a sword that sparkled with 779 diamonds. 

While the culprits in this particular scandal were charged in 2023, plenty of history’s most notorious heists remain unsolved. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston still has a $10 million reward for information leading to the return of 13 stolen works of art by the likes of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Édouard Manet, and Edgar Degas. Meanwhile, the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden has never found out which Little Shop of Horrors superfan ran off with more than $20,000 worth of Venus flytraps.

From a pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers to more than 1,000 rare books from a castle library to a seven-ton mango, here are some of the most audacious thefts on record.