In the April of 2015, a bank heist was reported in England. A theft of over $20 million (£14 million)! It was called the biggest in the country’s legal history. But it’s not the money that’s the impressive part. In fact, once you hear the other details of the burglary, you won’t be blown away by the amount anymore.

So here’s what went down. While the rest of England was celebrating Easter, 8 to 9 men were 3 months into planning a crime that would go down in history, regardless of the outcome. The first intriguing fact about the crime was that they were all pensioners. Yup, wrinkled, balding men who looked like they would have trouble walking. 

The second astounding part was the place these guys chose to hit, the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit building. Which is was one of the most secure buildings in Britain. 


This isn’t your regular bank robbery, where you walk in wearing masks, shoot a few bullets in the air and threaten the guy behind the counter. What these pensioners were attempting goes much deeper than that. Literally! Because, the facility stored everything underground!

They operated with such stealth that there was no sign of breaking and entering. The front door was left untouched. They used an elevator shaft to climb down to the vaults. Yup, old men above 70 did that. Their plan was to drill through the vault’s 50 cm thick wall. Probably tired from all the climbing, their attempt at drilling was unsuccessful.


But the bad, old guys weren’t the kind that gave up. They came back the next day. Not thwarted this time, they ransacked 73 deposit boxes and stole gold, silver and diamonds, making a total loot of $20 million. And they left no forensic clues behind. 

But there was a twist to the tale. Of course there was. The cameras caught them. Just like in the movies!

And keeping with the movie script, these old lads got caught and were sentenced to prison a year later, in March, 2016, after they all pleaded guilty. John Collins (75), Terry Perkins (67), Daniel Jones (59) and William Lincoln (60) received a 7-year jail term while Carl Wood (59) got 6 years. The youngest of the lot, Doyle (49), got a 21-month sentence suspended for 2 years.

Brian Reader – the oldest member at 76 and also the ringleader – was part of the infamous 1983 bank heist at the Heathrow Airport where 26 million Pounds worth of gold bars were stolen. He got 6 years and 3 months for pulling this one.


However, the mastermind behind the act was not caught. Just like in the movies! The man they call Basil made it off with two-thirds of the loot while the rest was recovered. There’s a price of £20,000 for Basil’s capture. 

Detective Superintendent Craig Turner said, “There may be people out there who have a bit of sympathy in relation to those that were sentenced today. However, these were all career, callous criminals.”


Well, he’s right about that. It takes massive stones to pull off something like this. And of course, meticulous planning and experience too. 

Looks like they checked all the above boxes but when it came to outrunning the cops, the grandpa gang just didn’t have it in them!