5 Most Successful Thieves of the World

Opportunity makes a thief.

Frank William Abagnale, Jr.


Frank William Abagnale was almost unconquerable. He practically succeeded in everything that he attempted, together with dodging the police and even the FBI. His expedition of criminology started at the gentle age of 16. He was a natural in con artistic quality, imitation and masquerade. With time and age, he just got more and more refine in his talents of fraud. His plans were perfectly designed with perfected methods. He devised and proved how talented he was in not one but countless events. But his scheme of cashing a large number of checks at one time was perhaps the most prominent of all. He was a master in his criminal skills. He was a former confidence cheat, check forger, fraud, and an escape artist. Surprisingly, he never actually stole any priceless works of art, rather used his cunningness to scam millions of dollars from banks across 26 countries in a passage of only five years. Taking false identities of successful lawyers and doctors he spread across the Atlantic. Another notable scam of his was of handling a business of traveling with young women as stewardesses for a fake airline. He gave them an opportunity to spend the summer traveling Europe, promising them an opportunity to work for the airline following graduation. No one had the slightest of hints that they just a part of an elaborated scam. With this scam, Frank literally pocketed about $300,000. Not just that, he is possibly the only alive thief today who has had nearly as much success post his life of crime as he did while on the run.

François Villon


Francois Villon is also known as the ‘Vagabond king’. Although he is also recognized as the French poet, since he was quite an innovator in terms of themes of poetry, and most of his poetry that he wrote while imprisoned was about his own life, a record of poverty, trouble, and trial. But actually, he was thief, and rover; he was known for his life of criminal excess. He had turned to crime, joining a gang of thieves called “Gang des Coquillards” and began stealing from churches and communal offices. His real identity, his real name is still a question, because he was renowned for two different surnames. Through historical evidences it reveals that Francois belong to a very poor family. A surprising element of his early life is that he was a student in arts at about twelve years of age and even continued his studies and received a degree of bachelor’s. Fruitless attempts have been made to find out about his activities during his educational tenure as to what could he have done or might have done. One of his greatest achievements as a robber was that of having stolen five hundred gold crowns from the chapel of the college de Navarre. For over four years after this incident, Villon was recorded to have remained a nomad. Time and time again, he was captured and imprisoned for his countless criminal acts and robberies. But his bails were always accepted or he would find his way out. At one point of time he was even condemned to be hanged, but he was never hanged. What became of François Villon after his last disappearance, nobody knows, he just vanished from history.

Bill Mason


Apparently, he was a hard-working father and a loving husband. He was in a business of real estate and worked as a Manager. But actually, Bill Mason was the most successful thief in the history of America. It is truly remarkable as to how he kept his real identity a secret from his family, friends and FBI for so long. He was one of the greatest jewel thieves in the world. He is known to have stolen a whopping $35,000,000 from the private residences, stolen priceless jewels from socialites and celebrities. He even stole from Robert Goulet, Bob Hope, Truman Capote, Johnny Weissmuller, and twice from Phyllis Diller!! Even though he was leading a great life, but yet he opted for crime, why? Because was addicted to thrill and challenges. According to him, people could make high buildings, put extra guarding systems, lock their possessions at places they thought no one could steal, even by putting extra locks on, but he would still get them. And he actually did. To find out about his deeds and how he actually performed, could be read in his book “Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief,” where he revealed the true story and real incidents behind it.

Doris Payne


Now this is an interesting one. A notorious woman, becomes one of the most renowned and successful thief in the world. Yes! She would dress up all classy, enter the store as the most desiring of jewels, get the clerk busy or make the rest mesmerized by her charms, then making them forget the number of items they would show her, and leaving with style, having stolen a handsome jewelry item! Simply inspiring, this young woman has stolen innumerable pieces of jewelry over more than six decades, she has been very, very successful. She never really had to grab the jewels and run, it was not her style. It was way back as teenager, when she had for the first time got hold of a really expensive watch by mistake. And it was there onwards that Payne never wished to look back. She learnt a trick of how to get into a shop and steal something without getting noticed. She knew a cheap dress or a cheap purse would give her a doubtful appearance, so she always made sure she was properly dressed and entered the right shop at the right time. She had learnt with time (as narrated by herself) how to speak less, how to never give out information, where to sell and how to etc. She would normally keep the stolen item in plain sight to never having to hide it. The story about Doris is a long one, and worth a read. For her it was never about making money or spending it. It was about the game.

Albert Spaggiari


“Without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence”, was probably a trademark of Albert Spaggiari. The renowned note was found after the biggest robberies of all times in the 1976 in France. It was written by the mastermind, Albert Spaggiari, a criminal by profession, one of the most successful ones. In his early life, he was the owner of a photographic studio and pretty much a civilized person. However, perhaps he got bored of his middle-class life and turned to the world of crime. A world he had had the taste of in his youth, and had to pay for it in shape of imprisonment. But this time the return was not just a testimony, it was a commitment. Soon after his return to crime, he devised a great plan of robbery. For that he recruited a group of professional gangsters. His instructions to them were to never drink coffee or alcohol and to get proper sleep. The task was to dig a tunnel during a festive occasion whilst the bank remained closed. Albert was able to not just get into the vault but opened up to 400 safety deposit boxes and stole up to 60 millions of money and other valuables! Even after the literally baffled police came to have found out about him, he (during the case session) distracted everyone ran away. He was never caught after that.

The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.



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6 Responses

  1. Bartholomeismith says:

    In these type of theive Government had been already declared a Prize for those person who have easily find a theive.

  2. NeoDra says:

    they are legends…

  3. Bill Mason Jr. says:

    Wait till you see headlines in a few years….They truly are legendary and you would find yourself paying more respect to people like them than to those who protect you from them.RIP….

  4. Joseph Sturgis says:

    It takes a thief…

  1. December 21, 2011

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