The United States has always been known as the land of opportunity, and that’s especially true when it comes to robbing and stealing. It’s been that way since the days of Butch Cassidy, and though we’ve made strides in technology, things haven’t changed much otherwise.
We’re looking at some of the most infamous heists by state, from American gangster John Dillinger to the disappearance of 300,000 packages of ramen. These are each state’s most notable robberies in American history.
Arizona: First National Bank of Arizona robbery
People will do strange things—like don Halloween masks and wear stockings over their faces—for a bit of cash. In this case, about $3.3 million. At least, that’s what four gunmen did in 1981 when they robbed the First National Bank of Arizona.
California: United California Bank heist
In an effort to redefine “family time,” one man banded together with his nephews, his brother-in-law, his brother, and two alarm experts to steal $30 million (about $183 million today) from the United California Bank in 1972.
Colorado: Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery
The infamous Butch Cassidy committed his very first bank robbery in 1889 at the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, to the tune of $20,000 (a little over half a million dollars today). He would later be played in an acclaimed film by the man who also appears on your favorite salad dressing bottle.
Connecticut: Águila Blanca (“White Eagle”) heist
A guerrilla group named Los Macheteros—likely inspired by Robin Hood—stole $7 million from Wells Fargo in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1983. The group later claimed that they gave the money to Puerto Rican communities for education, housing, food, and more.
Delaware: Stuart Kingston jewelry heist
In what the media delightfully calls the ol’ “smash-and-grab,” five men stole $4.4 million worth of gold, diamonds, and other gems from Stuart Kingston Galleries in 2011.
DC: The cell phone bandit
Imagine being given such an unimaginative moniker as the “cell phone bandit.” One college student doesn’t have to: in 2006, Candice Rose Martinez committed four bank robberies—netting a total of $48,620—all while calmly talking to her boyfriend-slash-getaway-driver on the phone.
Hawaii: A series of Spam heists
In arguably less delicious news (depending on who you ask), Spam was stolen in various quantities across multiple stores in Hawaii in 2017. Stores were forced to put the mystery meat behind plastic cases, making it as difficult to purchase as fancy razor refills and cough medicine that barely works.
Idaho: Bank of Montpelier robbery
After having a few drinks with his crew at the local saloon, Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch robbed the Bank of Montpelier of somewhere between $7,000 and $16,000—plus $30,000 in gold coins—between 1896. You know, just your usual cute, criminal outing with a couple of friends.
Illinois: Magic Vault heist at First National Bank
In 1977, $1 million disappeared from Chicago’s First National Bank without a trace. It turned out to be the perfect crime too: the money was never found, and no culprit was ever charged.
Indiana: The burglary and murder of heiress Marjorie Jackson
In 1977, two men stole over $3 million in cash from Marjorie Jackson and shot her when she confronted them. Jackson, a grocery store heiress, had stashed an estimated $15 million throughout her home after her husband’s death.
Kansas: Vinca Jewelry heist
In 2010, burglars stole about a million dollars in valuables from Vinca Jewelry and were never caught. Even a retired FBI agent admitted it was basically the perfect crime.
Louisiana: Helicopter bank robbery at Merchants and Farmers Bank
In 1984, five men stole a helicopter, got greedy, and then used the helicopter to steal $163,000 (a little over $400,000 today) from a small bank in Louisiana.
Maine: Mars Hill bank robbery
Bernard Patterson threw a red wig on his head and a toy gun on his hip to rob the Northern National Bank in Mars Hill of $177,000 (over a million dollars today). Apparently the teller recognized Patterson in the 1971 robbery, but he still managed to escape.
Maryland: Instagram theft ring
Three women from Baltimore started a theft ring where they stole $100,000 worth of clothing from shops like Victoria’s Secret and Dick’s Sporting and sold them for profit on Instagram in 2017.
Massachusetts: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft
Two men dressed as police stole 13 objects—including paintings from Degas, Rembrandt, and Vermeer—from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, worth a combined total of $500 million in 1990. The case remains unsolved, though a new podcast has renewed public interest.
Michigan: Point Break robbery
In 1991, inspired by watching the impeccable movie Point Break, four men robbed the only bank in Saugatuck, Michigan, wearing masks of former United States presidents. They made off with more than $350,000 ($658,000 today).
Minnesota: Dorothy’s slippers
We’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re actually in Minnesota, where Dorothy’s famous red slippers—valued between $2 million and $3 million—were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in 2005.
Missouri: St. Louis Bank Robbery
In 1930, thieves stole over $1 million ($14.6 million today) in cash and jewelry from Grand National Bank as it prepared to relocate to a new building. Grand National never recovered, closing its doors permanently in 1933.
Nevada: The Bellagio bandit
In 2010, Tony Carleo stole nearly $1.5 million in chips from the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He then used those chips to gamble at the Bellagio, lose a lot of his stolen money at the Bellagio, and get caught… at the Bellagio.
New Jersey: Scotch heist
In 2017, four men banded together for a mighty adventure: to steal high-end booze from a liquor store in New Jersey. The thieves made off with four bottles of scotch worth a combined value of $52,000.
New Mexico: The worst diamond heist ever
In 2014, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque was robbed of an uncut diamond that had more scientific value than monetary value—it was worth only an estimated $8,500. Understandably, the stone was recovered and returned to the museum the next day.
New York: Lufthansa heist
In 1978, several men stole $5 million in cash and $875,000 in jewels (worth a total of $21.6 million today) from the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The heist later inspired a few films, including Goodfellas.
North Dakota: $400,000 six-state Walmart theft ring
A multistate electronics theft ring raked in nearly $400,000 worth of merchandise across Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota in 2017 and 2018. To be fair though, the thieves managed to steal roughly 48 cell phones without anyone noticing.
Ohio: United California bank robbery
In 1972, a couple of Ohioan burglars heard tell that President Nixon had a slush fund in a California bank. Naturally, the group took it upon themselves to fly to California, saw through the ceiling of the United California bank, and steal $8 million. Turns out the money wasn’t even Nixon’s.
Oklahoma: Hoover gang robbery of Tulsa Municipal Employees Federal Credit Union
In 2011, several members of the Hoover Crip gang committed a string of violent robberies, including a hit at the Tulsa Municipal Employees Federal Credit Union, where they stole about $170,000.
Oregon: D.B. Cooper
D.B. Cooper infamously hijacked a plane traveling from Portland to Seattle, extorted about $200,000 ($1.2 million today), and then parachuted away with his ransom money in 1971. Did he survive? Nobody knows!
Pennsylvania: Collar Bomb heist
In 2003, Brian Wells, a pizza delivery driver, walked into a bank and delivered a note to the teller, instructing him to hand over $250,000. Wells then lifted his shirt to expose a collar bomb around his neck and chest—and it gets stranger.
Rhode Island: Bonded Vault Co. heist
In 1975, eight men stole $3 million ($14.5 million today) from the Bonded Vault Company in Providence, a safe-deposit business that doubled as a secret bank for a local crime family.
South Carolina: Darlington County armored car heist
In 2007, five men stole $9.8 million from an armored car service. They immediately spent their earnings on the finer things in life: tattoos, visits to strip clubs, and Mother’s Day gifts.
South Dakota: Dillinger Gang bank robbery
Dillinger strikes again. This time, joined by the fantastically named Baby Face Nelson, the gangster got away with $46,000 after holding up the Security National Bank in Downtown Sioux Falls in 1934.
Tennessee: Wells Fargo Thanksgiving holdup
In the biggest robbery in Memphis history, two men stole $6.5 million from a Wells Fargo on Thanksgiving Day, 1983. In a festive and misguided touch, the men wore Mardi Gras masks during the robbery.