Say you’re an elite thief who just pulled off a brazen $388 million diamond heist. Now I get the logic of hiding in plain sight. But hell, you’re allegedly holding something north of $54 million. What makes you decide not to, say, move to a nice island somewhere with no extradition treaties? A real mystery for the ages.
Julian Proctor Van Winkle III and his son Julian Preston Van Winkle are the proprietors of Kentucky's Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, and they make the best bourbon in the world at a rate of roughly 7,000 cases per year. Which is why you can't find any of it, anywhere. Sighting a bottle of the 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, which retails at $130, in a liquor store is like spotting a Scaly-Sided Merganser in the wild. The Van Winkles are personally beset by desperate high-class drunks seeking an in. Personal assistants have wasted days trying to track down bottles for well-heeled bosses. Pappy is furtively deployed to seal multi-million-dollar business deals. Leads are whispered about among aficionados: "I heard about a warehouse in Jersey that just got a shipment."
A shipment of $93 million in cash, traveling from Zurich to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, arrived with $1.2 million missing, according to ABC News. The shortage wasn't noticed till the Fed counted the money, which had left Switzerland on Saturday in three sealed crates bound for JFK Airport.
On February 19, one of the largest bank heists in history was pulled off and almost no one noticed. No getaway vehicles were left idling, no guns were pointed, no panic buttons were pressed—but somehow several crews in two dozen countries working in perfect precision walked away with $40 million in cash.
At 7:50 p.m. on Monday night, a Brink's armored truck on the Tarmac at Brussels Airport was loading a shipment of uncut diamonds onto a 8:10 Zurich-bound Helvetic Airlines flight. At 7:54 p.m., the diamonds were gone. What happened in between was "one of the biggest" diamond heists ever: a gang of eight thieves, apparently in dark clothing meant to resemble police uniforms and armed with "machine guns," drove through the airport fence in two vehicles, flashed their weapons at guards, seized the diamonds from the airport's cargo hold, and sped off. One of the vehicles was later found burned out nearby. "This was undoubtedly a highly professional job," a Belgian police source told the Evening Standard. The uncut diamonds, lacking certificates, will likely be unrecovered. The passengers on the Helvetic jet were apparently completely unaware that the heist was occurring a few yards away. [AFP | BBC | Telegraph | Evening Standard]