Strangest Crimes in History


Throughout history, there have been crimes so bizarre, so outlandish, and so utterly perplexing that they defy belief. These strange crimes captivate our imagination, showcasing the limits of human creativity and folly. This article delves into some of the strangest crimes in history, exploring the details, motivations, and outcomes of these unbelievable yet true stories. From the Great Emu War to the mystery of DB Cooper, prepare to be amazed by these tales of unusual criminal endeavors.

What Constitutes a Strange Crime?


A strange crime is one that stands out due to its unusual nature, whether it be the method of execution, the motivation behind it, or the bizarre circumstances surrounding it. These crimes often involve an element of the absurd or the unexpected, making them memorable and intriguing.


Strange crimes often share certain characteristics, such as:
  • Unusual Methods: Employing creative or unconventional tactics.
  • Absurd Motivations: Driven by peculiar or seemingly irrational reasons.
  • Unexpected Outcomes: Resulting in surprising or unpredictable consequences.
  • Cultural Impact: Leaving a lasting impression on society and often becoming the subject of media and folklore.

Historical Context of Strange Crimes

Notable Eras

Different historical periods have seen their share of strange crimes, often influenced by the cultural and social norms of the time. For example, the eccentricity of the Victorian era or the lawlessness of the Wild West provided fertile ground for bizarre criminal activities.

Cultural Influences

Cultural factors play a significant role in shaping the nature of crimes. Societal attitudes towards crime, the availability of technology, and the prevailing economic conditions can all influence the types of crimes committed and the methods used.

The Great Emu War


In 1932, Australia found itself embroiled in a peculiar conflict known as the Great Emu War. Farmers in Western Australia, struggling with an overpopulation of emus damaging their crops, called upon the military for assistance.


The emus, having migrated inland during breeding season, descended upon the farmland in large numbers, causing widespread destruction. The government’s response was to deploy soldiers armed with machine guns to curb the emu population.


Despite the military’s efforts, the emus proved surprisingly resilient, and the campaign was ultimately deemed a failure. The Great Emu War remains a humorous reminder of the unexpected challenges nature can present to human endeavors.

The Antwerp Diamond Heist

Detailed Account

In 2003, the Antwerp Diamond Center in Belgium was the site of one of the largest diamond heists in history. A group of Italian thieves, led by Leonardo Notarbartolo, meticulously planned and executed the theft, making off with over $100 million worth of diamonds, gold, and other gems.

Techniques Used

The thieves used a combination of advanced techniques and old-fashioned cunning. They bypassed the security system, which included infrared heat detectors, a seismic sensor, a magnetic field, and a lock with over 100 million possible combinations.


Despite their sophisticated planning, the gang was eventually apprehended, although much of the loot was never recovered. The Antwerp Diamond Heist remains a testament to the audacity and ingenuity of the criminal mind.

The Great Train Robbery


The Great Train Robbery of 1963 in the UK involved the hijacking of a Royal Mail train by a gang of 15 robbers. The gang, led by Bruce Reynolds, meticulously planned the heist, learning the train’s schedule and movements to execute their plan.


The robbers managed to stop the train and overpower the crew, stealing £2.6 million (equivalent to about £53 million today). They used walkie-talkies to communicate and had detailed knowledge of the train’s route and security.


The majority of the gang was eventually caught and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but a significant portion of the money was never recovered. The Great Train Robbery remains one of the most famous and daring heists in British history.

The Gardner Museum Heist

Details of the Crime

In 1990, two men dressed as police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and made off with 13 pieces of art valued at over $500 million. The stolen pieces included works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas.

Stolen Artworks

The stolen artworks have never been recovered, and the empty frames still hang in the museum as a reminder of the loss. The heist remains the largest unsolved art theft in history.


Despite numerous leads and a $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen art, the case remains unsolved. The Gardner Museum Heist continues to captivate art lovers and crime enthusiasts alike.

The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels

Historical Theft

One of the most daring heists in history involved the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels in 1907. The jewels, valued at approximately £250,000 at the time, were stolen from Dublin Castle under mysterious circumstances.

Recovery Efforts

Despite extensive investigations, the jewels were never recovered, and the case remains unsolved. The theft of the Irish Crown Jewels is shrouded in mystery and speculation, with theories ranging from political intrigue to simple greed.

The Disappearance of DB Cooper


In 1971, a man known only as DB Cooper hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft, extorted $200,000 in ransom, and then parachuted from the plane, disappearing without a trace.


Despite an extensive manhunt and ongoing investigations, Cooper’s true identity and fate remain unknown. The case has become a part of American folklore, inspiring numerous theories and speculations.

Ongoing Mystery

The DB Cooper case remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of aviation and crime. Each year, new theories and potential evidence continue to emerge, keeping the mystery alive.

The Great Boston Molasses Flood

Event Description

In 1919, a storage tank in Boston’s North End burst, releasing a wave of molasses that swept through the streets at 35 mph, killing 21 people and injuring 150 others.


The disaster was caused by a combination of faulty construction, fluctuating temperatures, and a large influx of molasses. The incident highlighted the dangers of industrial negligence and poor regulation.


The Great Boston Molasses Flood is a bizarre but tragic example of how a seemingly harmless substance can cause widespread devastation. The incident has since become a curious footnote in Boston’s history.

The Mad Bomber of New York

Criminal Profile

From the 1940s to the 1950s, George Metesky, known as the Mad Bomber, terrorized New York City by planting bombs in public places. His motive was revenge against Con Edison, a utility company he believed had wronged him.


Metesky planted over 30 bombs, injuring many but miraculously killing none. His campaign of terror gripped the city and baffled the police for years.


The Mad Bomber was eventually caught in 1957, thanks to psychological profiling, and was declared insane, spending the rest of his life in a mental institution. His case was one of the first to use modern psychological profiling techniques.

The Great Kentucky Meat Shower

Incident Details

In 1876, a bizarre phenomenon occurred in Bath County, Kentucky, when chunks of meat fell from the sky over an area of about 100 yards. The event, known as the Great Kentucky Meat Shower, puzzled residents and scientists alike.


Various theories were proposed to explain the phenomenon, including the possibility that a flock of vultures regurgitated the meat while flying overhead. However, no definitive explanation has been found.

Scientific Explanation

The meat was later identified as lung tissue from either a horse or a human infant, adding to the mystery. The Great Kentucky Meat Shower remains one of the strangest events in American history.

The Theft of the Mona Lisa

How It Happened

In 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian handyman, stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris. Disguised as a museum worker, he hid in a broom closet overnight and walked out with the painting hidden under his clothes.


The theft went unnoticed for over 24 hours, giving Peruggia time to escape. The painting was recovered two years later when Peruggia tried to sell it to an art dealer in Florence, Italy.


Peruggia claimed he wanted to return the painting to Italy as an act of patriotism. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre, and Peruggia served a short prison sentence. The theft made the painting even more famous.

The Brinks Job

Crime Details

In 1950, a gang of 11 robbers stole $2.7 million (equivalent to about $29 million today) from the Brink’s Armored Car Depot in Boston. The robbery was meticulously planned, with the thieves wearing Halloween masks to conceal their identities.


The gang spent months preparing for the heist, studying the depot’s routines and rehearsing the crime. They managed to pull off the robbery without firing a shot.


Despite their careful planning, the gang members were eventually apprehended and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. The Brinks Job remains one of the most infamous heists in American history.

The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

Scope of the Theft

Between 2011 and 2012, thieves stole 3,000 tons of maple syrup valued at $18.7 million from the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve in Quebec, Canada. The theft was discovered when inspectors noticed barrels filled with water instead of syrup.


An extensive investigation led to the arrest of several individuals involved in the heist. The stolen syrup was partially recovered, but the crime highlighted the economic importance of maple syrup to Canada.


The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist is one of the largest agricultural thefts in history, demonstrating that even the sweetest commodity can be the target of crime.

The London Hatton Garden Heist


In 2015, a group of elderly men, known as the “Bad Grandpas,” executed a daring heist at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in London. The gang used industrial tools to drill through a concrete wall and access the vault.


The thieves stole an estimated £14 million worth of cash, jewelry, and other valuables. The heist took place over a holiday weekend, allowing the gang ample time to carry out their plan.


The majority of the gang members were eventually caught and sentenced to prison. The Hatton Garden Heist remains one of the most audacious and well-executed burglaries in British history.

The Great Balloon Bombs

WWII Incident

During World War II, Japan launched thousands of balloon bombs aimed at North America. These balloons, filled with explosives, were designed to cause wildfires and panic.

Impact on U.S.

Although most of the balloons failed to cause significant damage, a few did reach North America, causing minor incidents. The balloon bombs remain a unique example of wartime ingenuity and the use of unconventional weapons.

Japanese Tactics

The balloon bombs were an early attempt at long-range attacks using wind currents to carry the bombs across the Pacific. The operation highlighted the innovative and desperate tactics employed during the war.

The Lavender Hill Mob

Crime Details

The Lavender Hill Mob was a group of criminals who, in 1950, stole £26,000 worth of gold bullion from a delivery van in London. The heist involved melting down the gold and disguising it as souvenirs.

Cultural Impact

The heist inspired the 1951 film “The Lavender Hill Mob,” which became a classic British comedy. The crime and its cinematic portrayal left a lasting impression on popular culture.

Lessons Learned

The Lavender Hill Mob’s heist demonstrated the importance of planning and creativity in criminal endeavors, as well as the potential for such events to capture the public imagination.

The Curse of the Hope Diamond

History of the Diamond

The Hope Diamond, one of the most famous jewels in the world, is rumored to be cursed. Its history is filled with tales of misfortune and tragedy befalling its owners.


The diamond has been stolen multiple times throughout history, adding to its mystique and the legend of its curse.


Despite its dark reputation, the Hope Diamond remains a highly valued and sought-after gem. Its storied past continues to fascinate and intrigue.

The Axeman of New Orleans


From 1918 to 1919, a serial killer known as the Axeman terrorized New Orleans, murdering at least six people and injuring many others. The killer’s weapon of choice was an axe, and he targeted Italian immigrants and their businesses.


Despite extensive investigations and public outcry, the Axeman was never caught. The case remains one of the most chilling unsolved mysteries in American criminal history.


The Axeman’s crimes have inspired numerous books, articles, and even a jazz song, cementing his place in the annals of American folklore.

The Yorkshire Ripper


Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, was a British serial killer who murdered 13 women and attempted to murder seven others between 1975 and 1980. His crimes created widespread fear and panic.


Sutcliffe’s modus operandi involved attacking women with a hammer and stabbing them with a screwdriver. His violent and gruesome attacks shocked the nation.


Sutcliffe was eventually apprehended in 1981 and sentenced to life imprisonment. His crimes and the subsequent investigation led to significant changes in police procedures and public awareness of serial killers.

The Great Alaskan Mystery

Event Details

In 1950, a military transport plane carrying 44 people disappeared over the Alaskan wilderness. Despite extensive search efforts, the plane was never found, leading to numerous theories and speculation.


Theories about the plane’s disappearance range from mechanical failure to UFO involvement. The case remains one of the greatest aviation mysteries in history.

Ongoing Mysteries

The Great Alaskan Mystery continues to intrigue aviation enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists, with new theories and searches periodically emerging.

The Heist of the Nazi Gold

War-Time Theft

During World War II, the Nazis looted vast amounts of gold from occupied countries. As the war ended, much of this gold went missing, leading to numerous searches and investigations.

Search for Gold

The search for the missing Nazi gold has captivated historians and treasure hunters for decades. Various expeditions have been launched to locate the hidden treasures.


The mystery of the Nazi gold has spawned numerous myths and legends, contributing to its enduring allure and the ongoing quest for its discovery.

The Pizza Bomber Heist

Crime Details

In 2003, pizza delivery driver Brian Wells was forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his neck. The case, known as the Pizza Bomber Heist, involved a complex plot and multiple conspirators.


The FBI’s investigation uncovered a twisted plot involving several individuals who manipulated Wells into committing the robbery. The case remains one of the most bizarre and tragic crimes in recent history.

Media Coverage

The Pizza Bomber Heist received extensive media coverage and was later the subject of documentaries and true-crime series, highlighting the bizarre and tragic nature of the crime.

The Skyjacking of Flight 305


In 1971, DB Cooper hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305, extorted $200,000, and parachuted from the plane, disappearing without a trace. The case remains one of the most famous unsolved mysteries in aviation history.


Various theories about Cooper’s identity and fate have emerged over the years, but none have been conclusively proven. The case continues to fascinate and baffle investigators and the public alike.

Cultural Impact

The Skyjacking of Flight 305 has inspired numerous books, films, and TV shows, cementing its place in popular culture and the annals of American crime history.

The Great Alcatraz Escape


In 1962, three inmates—Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin—escaped from Alcatraz, the infamous maximum-security prison on an island in San Francisco Bay. Their plan involved meticulous preparation, including creating a makeshift raft and dummies to fool the guards.


The escapees used a network of tunnels they had dug over several months. They navigated the treacherous waters of San Francisco Bay, but their ultimate fate remains unknown.


The Great Alcatraz Escape is one of the most famous prison breaks in history. Despite extensive searches, no conclusive evidence has been found to determine whether the escapees survived.

The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa


Jimmy Hoffa, a prominent labor union leader, disappeared in 1975. His involvement with organized crime and contentious relationships made him a target for various factions.


Numerous theories about Hoffa’s disappearance exist, ranging from mob hits to government conspiracies. Despite extensive investigations and searches, his fate remains unknown.

Search Efforts

The search for Hoffa’s remains has spanned decades, involving numerous tips and digs. His disappearance remains one of America’s most enduring mysteries.

Modern-Day Strange Crimes

Recent Unusual Crimes

Strange crimes continue to occur in modern times. Recent examples include cyber heists, bizarre fraud schemes, and peculiar acts of vandalism. These crimes often involve new technologies and sophisticated methods.


Some notable modern-day strange crimes include the hacking of high-profile social media accounts, thefts of unusual items like beehives, and elaborate art forgeries.

Cultural and Psychological Factors

Why People Commit Strange Crimes

Understanding why people commit strange crimes involves examining cultural and psychological factors. These may include a desire for attention, financial desperation, mental illness, or cultural influences that glamorize or rationalize criminal behavior.

Psychological Insights

Psychologists study the motivations behind bizarre criminal behavior, offering insights into the human mind and the factors that drive individuals to commit such acts.


Strange crimes capture our imagination and challenge our understanding of human behavior. From the Great Emu War to the mysterious disappearance of DB Cooper, these bizarre and intriguing stories highlight the creativity, folly, and complexity of criminal endeavors. By exploring these unusual crimes, we gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse motivations and circumstances that lead to such extraordinary events.

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