Jack “Superthief” MacLean
MacLean stole in excess of $133 million in jewels, having robbed thousands of homes. By the time police nabbed him he was the owner of a helicopter and multi-million dollar mansion. His genius IQ failed to avoid his capture, but nevertheless, he was smart enough to have a police scanner with him during crimes.
He never destroyed property to gain entry; victims often didn’t even know they’d been robbed or blamed family members on the thefts. His capture resulted from having an accomplice who tried selling the loot on the open market.
At seven Harris-Moore ran away from home and lived in the forest, though made excursions into residential areas to steal food. At 13 he was sentenced to three years but ran away, committing over a hundred burglaries, eventually upgrading his thefts to valuables like computers and cars. Harris-Moore even stole single-engine airplanes. Finally he was caught trying to steal a boat.
Madhukar Mohandas Prabhakar
Prabhakar has been at thievery for over 40 years, never leaving enough evidence to get a conviction. This millionaire lives in Pune, India, and steals to fund the poor.
Prabhakar carries out his burglaries by flying to Mumbai, locating a wealthy area and pinpoints at least five possible targets. He comes back later to break in, stealing gold or silver valuables that he melts somewhere else. He sells the loot and launders the money through his hotel business.
Spilotro got a burglary ring going with his brother and the Mafia, and became rich. Typically, the burglars would drill through the outside wall of a business, locate its safe and crack it. The money that was made by selling stolen goods was laundered through Spilotro’s hardware store business.
During another drilling, the gang found themselves surrounded by cops; many went to prison, forcing Spilotro to retire from burglaries. Somehow, he evaded conviction, but was eventually killed by Mafia associates who were fed up by his arrogance.
The Hillside Gang
In the past three years, this gang has ransacked at least 150 celebrity mansions in Beverly Hills. One gangster would climb onto the balcony to enter the second floor, then deactivate the alarm. The accomplices then entered. They located the safe, then cracked it offsite.
In 2010 some old safes were discovered that had DNA evidence—leading to the arrest and conviction of Troy Thomas. This ended the burglaries.
Blane David Nordahl
Nordahl stole silver from perhaps 150 homes, coming away with $3 million. Nordahl broke into homes by removing panes of glass, taking hours to silently achieve this to avoid setting off alarms. He’d get past sleeping dogs and avoided tripping motion detectors once inside, then disabled them.
Nordahl was even brazen enough to stick around outside, testing the loot for its value with a silver test kit. Finally he was caught stealing cutlery and is in prison.
Jewelry heist specialist Notarbartolo’s MO was to “shop” at a jewelry store with a woman and take photos with a camera inside a ballpoint pen. Once a target was decided upon with his gang, he’d arrange ahead of time for fencing to sell the loot as fast as possible post-burglary.
During one robbery he left a partially eaten sandwich; DNA led to his arrest. He served time, but once free, seemingly returned to crime; a jewel stash was discovered in his BMW, but was eventually returned to him due to lack of evidence. He’s still free.
Mason wrote a book, “Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief.” During the 1970s and ‘80s he pilfered celebrity apartments, ultimately stealing $35 million worth of jewelry. Using climbing skills, he scaled high-rise apartments. Mason analyzed ahead of time his targets, though gives the errors of his victims most of the credit for his success.
Ignacio Del Rio
Del Rio specialized in committing home burglaries, training in climbing techniques and studying lock picking. Del Rio’s plan involved first studying the target house, including occupancy habits of the residents. He’d then scale to the second floor balcony, pick a lock and deactivate the alarm.
Del Rio was a tidy burglar, cleaning up so that the residents wouldn’t know right away they’d been victimized. He was captured only when someone came upon his stolen loot, worth $16 million, at a storage facility.
Peace, born in 1832, broke into thousands of homes. Peace was violent, having murdered at least a few people along the way. He spent days as a concert violinist, but come nightfall he’d rob expensive homes. One night the owners awakened and had their bulldog go after Peace. He delivered a fatal punch to the dog’s face, then fled. Finally, while robbing a mansion he was caught. At 47 he was executed at a prison.
Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.