The Millennium Star Fake-Out (2000)
Where: Millennium Dome, London, England
How much: Approximately $700 million
In general, diamond heists almost always have a cinematic feel to them. There's painstaking planning, high drama and the chance that one little thing will go wrong and ruin the entire plot. But few attempted heists have the suspense and Hollywood ending of this near-record heist.
In 2000, thieves attempted to steal $700 million worth of diamonds from London's Millennium Dome. Included in the intended booty were the world-famous Millennium Star diamond, weighing in at 203.04 carats, and 12 blue diamonds, weighing a total of 118 carats, all owned by diamond conglomerate De Beers.
Stealing these gems would mean unfathomable wealth, so the criminals didn't go cheap on preparations. They came prepared with the weapons and tools to do the job right.
The thieves were heavily armed and threw gas canisters into the Dome to cover their entrance. Wearing gas masks, they ran in and smashed the display cases with sledgehammers. They were about to grab the diamonds when police officers, dressed as cleaning crew, rushed in and shut them down. The police had been tipped off before the heist and had already nabbed the speedboat that was the alleged getaway vehicle.
Even if the robbers had managed to grab the jewels and escape, they would have been distraught at their haul. The night before the attempt, authorities had replaced the real gems with fakes just to be sure they remained safe no matter the outcome of the raid.