Wait For It: The Story of Criminal Mastermind Albert Spaggiari and the Mystery Millions

 June 8, 1989 (via On This Day) (also check this link)
Criminal mastermind, Albert Spaggiari, passes away and leaves behind the mystery of his stolen millions. Albert planned and pulled off the biggest bank robbery in France's history. Here's that story...

He was a complicated fellow... he began stealing things at a young age... left home at 17 to join the Parachute Regiment... was a decorated soldier... but also got caught stealing while serving in the military... 

When Albert got married and settled down in the 1960s, he seemed like a changed man. He moved to the South of France and became a highly-respected photographer. 

Then, one day, he learned that the sewer system in the city where he lived (Nice, France) ran next to the Société Générale bank. He couldn't resist the temptation... he had to figure out a way to rob the place.

His first step was to rent a safety deposit box at the bank and put an alarm clock inside it set to go off late at night. He needed to know if there were any security measures in that bank vault that would detect loud noises. The alarm clock didn't cause any commotion. The bank was quite confident that their vault couldn't be broken into.

The next step was to put a team together. For a couple months that summer (1976) they would go into the sewer at night and dig a tunnel.

On Friday night of the Bastille Day long weekend, they broke into the vault, welded the door shut from the inside and opened up 371 safety deposit boxes. They left on Monday morning.

The bank wasn't sure what was in each box, but they estimated that anywhere from 30 million to 100 million francs worth of cash and jewels was taken.

A few weeks after the heist police got a tip and arrested one of the team, and that guy named everybody... including the mastermind Albert Spaggiari. Would he be caught?! Yes... and no... Wait For It...


The story so far... an interesting guy in France gets a team together to tunnel through the sewer and steal millions from a bank.

But the police knew his name - Albert Spaggiari - and they knew how to find him.

Albert was an accomplished photographer, and when police went looking for him they learned that he was on a trip to the Far East with the Mayor of Nice... Albert was working as the trip photographer! Police were waiting at the airport to arrest Albert when he returned home. 

Fast forward to his trial... Albert asked to see the judge in the judge's chambers... then made a mad dash towards a window... he jumped, shouted "Au Revoir" and took off on the back of a motorcycle that was waiting for him. The judge still gave him a life sentence, but French police never saw Albert again...

Albert spent the rest of his life travelling between South America and Europe and they think he even came back to France to visit his wife. 

Albert passed away from lung cancer on this date in 1989... but where are his millions? That's the unsolved mystery.