7 International Bank Robbers Who Lived Happily Ever After

 Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin and Mikhail Kalinin Wikimedia Commons |

Georgia: Vladimir Lenin & Joseph Stalin

Known as the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, this heist was organized by a group of Bolsheviks that included Vladimir Lenin and Joesph Stalin. These revolutionaries supported using robbery and other militant activities as a means to their end, and they stole approximately 341,000 rubles ($3.4 million in today's terms) from a bank stagecoach in Tiflis -- now the capital of Georgia -- as funds to purchase more weaponry. Sources dispute where exactly Stalin was at the time of the attack, but there's no doubt that both men went on to achieve great political success without having to answer for the crime.

 Rte.ie |

Ireland: Kenneth Littlejohn

British-born Kenneth Littlejohn had quite a colorful career: After two Birmingham robberies and a brief stint in jail, he moved to Dublin in 1970 to start his own company and became a popular guy in town, even learning to fly and winning the affections of a local billionaire heiress. He then moved back to England, and through the connections of his brother Keith, whose prison rehabilitation had become the pet project of Lady Pamela Onslow, Kenneth managed to convince MI6 to hire him as an agent to infiltrate the Official Irish Republican Army. The two brothers subsequently robbed a Dublin bank of  £67,000 in 1972 -- apparently at the behest of the British government, who of course denied the claims. The siblings managed to return to England, where they were caught two years later, but escaped two years after that. While on the run, Kenneth brazenly gave press interviews; he was inevitably imprisoned again but was let out early on the condition that he never return to Ireland. 


England: Derek “Bertie” Smalls

By his mid-30s, Derek Creighton "Bertie" Smalls had already become a career criminal as well as a respected figure in the London underworld. In 1970, he led a gang of thieves in robbing a Barclays Bank of a record £237,000. After he was caught, the clever robber offered to give up the name of every criminal he had worked with in exchange for full immunity, which was granted to him for the first and only time in British history. Smalls' underworld cohorts were so inflamed by his snitching that they put a £1 million price on his head, forcing him to live under police protection until he died of natural causes in 2008 at the age of 73.

 Inside Time |

Canada: Stephen Reid

Stephen Reid was part of the three-member Stopwatch Gang, which gained notoriety for carrying out speedy bank heists that garnered an estimated $15 million over 140 robberies. He was sentenced to two decades in prison after the police finally caught up in 1980, but Reid didn't allow  jail time to stop his productivity. He embarked on a writing career, submitting a manuscript of his eventual novel "Jackrabbit Parole" to Susan Musgrave, a writer-in-residence at the University of Waterloo. Their correspondence turned romantic, and the pair married in 1986, a year before Reid was released on parole. He slipped up in 1999 and was convicted for another bank robbery, but apparently he's reformed enough for his Wikipedia tagline to be "writer" instead of "robber." Not bad, Mr. Reid.

 Google |

France: Albert Spaggiari

While operating a photography studio in Nice in 1976, Albert Spaggiari plotted to rob the Société Générale bank, and enlisted a gang to dig a 25-foot tunnel between the vault and the city sewers. The robbers worked the whole weekend, reportedly cooking meals and drinking wine while emptying deposit boxes inside the vault, and made off with almost $10 million worth of cash, gold and jewels. A few months later, police found Spaggiari and elicited a confession. However, during his court hearing, the resourceful thief distracted the judge and leaped out of a nearby window, making his getaway on a waiting motorcycle. Spaggiari was never caught again, despite writing a book about the heist along with two other books, and even giving a broadcast interview. The spoils of the heist were never found, even after his death in 1989.

 Shantaram.com |

Australia: Gregory David Roberts

With a net haul of merely $38,000 from 24 robberies, the interest in Gregory Roberts lies in the fact that he became known as the "Gentleman Bandit" -- apparently, he only stole from businesses that were insured and said "please" and "thank you" to his victims. He was eventually imprisoned but escaped (in broad daylight!) and evaded capture for 10 years before landing behind bars again. There, Roberts penned his semi-autobiographical novel "Shantaram," which became so popular that Johnny Depp signed on to play the protagonist in the film adaptation, though the project was later cancelled. Nowadays, the former convict spends his time getting glowing write-ups in Vanity Fair.

 Wikimedia Commons |

Belgium: Carlos Hector

A Brussels bank lost $28 million worth of diamonds in 2007 when one of their "trusted customers" raided the vault and simply walked out. Going by the fake identity Carlos Hector, the thief had posed as a successful businessman and befriended the bank's staff by using charm and even chocolate. The charade went on for a year, during which he obtained a key to the vault. The mysterious robber was never seen again, and neither were the diamonds.

  • Big_Bear

    Likely and inside job, since the diamond market is so controlled.

    • LSD

      What do u mean? Speak up. Don’t be shy or chicken.

  • ds

    what no politicians named in this….

    • john smith

      obama just bought a 40 million dollar house in Hawaii…./not bad for never having a job

      • MSSC

        How about the Whole Damn Bush family

        • Disquskurr

          Sorry you got it all wrong.Bush family are above approach due to their race. It is only Obama that we have permission to bash due to his race & creed.

      • SpellChck

        Um, how bout Bush selling his ownership of the Rangers before running for office? I bet that one slipped your mind…

        • Arthur Stephens

          George Bush owned less than 1% of the Rangers and even that money he invested was a gift from his dads friend named Raintree

    • John Muller

      entry #1, Stalin and Lenin are not politicians?

  • tiredofnothingbutnegativity

    4 comments, (5 if you count mine) one of them a lead-in for an advertisement, one a sarcastic comment on politicians in general and of course the obligatory anti-Obama comment. I bet if there was a story that simply said ” the sky is blue” someone would have to say something negative about the president. WOW!

    • RedCloud

      If “O” had done anything, just anything positive, there wouldn’t be the snarky postings everywhere. Even the poor dog has to suffer “BO” Barrack Obama? I mean really when is the public going to catch on?

      • Joe Blowski

        your smoke break is over, boy. get back to mowing my lawn.

        • AllaMo

          That is bad, dude. Please do not belittle good, honest laborers.

  • Dan

    Excuse me but when I read “international” in the title, I expect to hear about more than all Europe (Canada and Australia are of course not in Europe, but in terms of origin and current culture, are pretty close). Where is the one about the Japanese robber or some intriguing Chinese bank robbery? Boo Eurocentrism.

  • Love

    CEO like Kenneth Lay an egg with Keith, Post politicians 2 million to 300 million during the recession(January Time cover story on vice president Gore), Capitalism in it self will destroy itself. When Enron’s CEO was convicted and waiting sentencing, why was he not in Jail? He probably would not have died, with local physicians confirmation and cremated and spread the ashes in expensive Colorado. I like Colorado. Oh, the rule is ‘if convicted and you die before sentencing no fines will be imposed upon the grieving family that criminally prosperously became F uck ing rich. I am from Kansas and I still want to know the state resident of Bob Dole. Let’s face it. We are in it for our selves. Oh, that profane running sentence above is just an emotion. I am no GOP but I will quote the Bible: ” Amos 8:4 Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land”. You will have to read and possibly meditate on the entire chapter, the entire book. or the entire Bible. The Catholic verse of Amos 8:5″When will the new moon be over” you ask, “that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath, that we may open the grain-bins? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! tHEY DID NOT CAPITALIZE SABBOTH, EPHAH OR SHEKEL. That was me complaining about my faith. `I feel Amos 8:5 defines capitalizism without the universal spirit My 4 year old needy me.

    • LlarryLLama

      Capitalism gets destroyed when you add “Crony” to it, as has happened to the United States economy and government.

  • Kevin

    So much for Happily Ever After if you spend 40+ years in police protection

  • AllaMo

    Small fry compared to the assholes of wallstreet that precipitated the great recession. And, with the treasury’s help, still get multi-million bonuses every year.

    • US Navy Veteran

      Can you imagine how much worse it would have gotten if Cantidate-for-the-rich-only Mitt Romney had won in 2012?
      I wish the GOP would field a real cantidate, more like T. Roosevelt…

      • AllaMo

        Perish the thought (Or, an Abe Lincoln). But, dems need to hold the senate. And, get a majority in congress. If only Barack remained true to most of his campaign promises – like closing gitmo, really getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, universal health care… then pigs would have sprouted wings.

        • LlarryLLama

          Good sarcasm on the web..finally!

      • rantnraver2

        I agree. It’s so nice that Wall Street has been reformed under Obama. They’re not fleecing anyone anymore and the pay and compensation is in line with shareholder interests. And even better he still found time to make sure household income went up, initiated a travel ban to protect us from Ebola, prevented ISIS from getting a stranglehold in Iraq, stopped colleges and for private schools from turning out graduates with crushing debt and worthless degrees and reformed immigration. A true American hero.

      • moreOn

        cantidate? candidate?

  • LlarryLLama

    Want to ensure that there are damn few more of these glorified thugs? A bullet between the eyes of a couple still living, should stop the trend.

  • KKKrush KKKommunism NOW

    It wasn’t happily ever after for the millions of Russians murdered by Stalin and Lenin.

  • SirQL8

    Lenin and Stalin got away with armed robbery ? That’s Bolshevik, man !

  • Helmut Thick

    How did they miss Biden and Obama? They’ve been robbing the US Treasury for 6 years!

    • AnotherTurtle

      They also missed Dodd and Frank.

      • Helmut Thick


  • Cookie Cookie

    Reading the comments very entertaining. Also proves when you have only ONE flashing brain cell left, you’re more likely to repeat the same behavior LOL – sadly you won’t recognize that I’m referring to YOU !

  • Silence_DoOkay

    Stephen Reid: “his Wikipedia tagline (is) ‘writer’ instead of ‘robber.’: The article should have said: “Not bad autobiographical writing Mr. Reid.” Which of course has never been edited otherwise because Nobody Cares!

  • joemama

    What about the family that created fractional reserve banking, the greatest crime the world has every known and the reason the worlds economies are so screwed up. Why don’t you see them on the Forbes richest lists? Lets just say they own the news, educate yourself, youtube the secret of oz learn how money is created know the lies

  • Thomas Kopper

    I already flushed his daughters Agee minutes ago