Where's the bridge? The 7 Biggest Things Ever Stolen

We think of thieves on a spectrum from the kid who steals a candy bar from 7-Eleven, to the group of guys in a tuxedos knocking over a casino in an elaborate heist involving grappling hooks.

But there is a level of thief even above them, guys who think a little bit bigger than everybody else. Too big, it turns out. That's why they tried to steal things like...

#7. A 3,000 Pound Bell

How often do you go to church (or in this case, a Buddhist temple) and, upon hearing the bell think, "I want one!" Well, some other guys apparently did, and they decided to make their dream come true.

You can imagine the surprise of the Buddhist monks at a temple in Tacoma, Washington when they noticed their enormous bell was missing. Especially considering the thing weighted 3,000 fucking pounds.

Experts (see local police) theorized that, unless the thieves had some kind of super powers, they would have had to have brought a forklift and a truck to load the thing onto. With all the quiet time at those temples, you'd assume someone would have heard something (it is a freaking bell, after all), but nobody heard or saw a thing.


"Well I got this forklift...might as well use it to steal a big ass bell..."

The monks said the bell, cast in Vietnam, was so valuable that they couldn't calculate its worth, which must have pissed them off even more realizing that the assholes who stole it were probably going to sell it for scrap. That, of course, raises the question of just what the thieves thought they would do with the thing after they had it, as even the shadiest pawn shops and scrap metal yards would probably give you more than a raised eyebrow as you dragged this bastard through the door.

It turns out they didn't have a plan. The monks got their bell back a year later, when some dumbass tried to sell it and some other junk for $500. The buyer went right to the cops, ruining his own chances to have a huge kickass bell on his porch.

#6. A Beach

In July of 2007, officials in Jamaica were presumably walking along the beach when, all of a sudden, there was no more beach. After hiding their weed, they notified local police that an entire fucking beach had been stolen.


"Is it just me or was this place more beach-like yesterday?"

Approximately a half mile of beach was taken, and no one knows where it went or who took it. Natural causes were ruled out, and island officials believe approximately 500 dump trucks were loaded up with the sand and taken elsewhere on the island. Again, they don't know where it went, who took it or why, though you'd think that the dude suddenly selling timeshares for houses with the slogan "NOW WITH BEACH!" would be the key suspect.

#5. A Tank

1995 was a simpler time. Terrorists weren't supposedly hiding under every rock and bringing too much shampoo on a plane wouldn't get you a body cavity search. Back then if you wanted to, say, borrow a tank from a military base, you could pretty much just walk in. It was all done on the honor system really.

Don't believe us? Ask Shawn Nelson. Shawn was a typical man whose life got a little tough, what with trying to sue San Diego, and a hospital, and trying to build a mining quarry in his back yard. Being the kind of guy who likes to think outside the box, Shawn decided to steal a 57-ton M60 Patton Tank from his local National Guard armory.


"Well, if this sign doesn't work, gosh, I don't know what to do.

As it turns out, no, tanks don't require keys to start, and yes the hatches were locked, though police theorized he used a crowbar to break into three different tanks before finding one that would start. Yes, the only thing stopping Al Qaeda from taking over an armored division was that they didn't know about the crowbar thing.


The secret to American safety.

Only after it was too late did a guard notice someone, you know, was stealing a freaking tank. Being the brave soul he was, the guard did the only thing his training and pay grade allowed him to do: call someone else.

In the mean time, Nelson took his newly-found wheels out for a spin through suburban California; crushing cars, trailers, knocking over utility poles and prompting countless SUV drivers to lean out of their windows and ask him where they could buy one.

How do you stop a tank in that situation? You don't. The ensuing 23 minute chase ended only when Nelson managed to get the tank stuck on a jersey barrier in the middle of the highway. At that point, probably after shitting themselves at the sight of said tank, the cops jumped on the war machine, opened the hatch and shot Shawn to death. Yes, the man was presumably undone by the same technique he had invented: the ingenious "crowbar to the hatch" tank hack.

#4. A Bridge

Ever had somebody say, "Well if you believe that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you!" Well be careful if you happen to be in Russia at the time, because there's a certain chance that the dude just might have a bridge out back he's trying to move.

It may, in fact, be this bridge that was stolen in Khabarovsk, Russia. And the thieves stole it overnight! That's right, a 38-foot long steel bridge designed for automotive traffic was stolen overnight, without anybody noticing.


Something's missing...

In what has got to be the most incredible "guess what I did while I was drunk last night" story ever, the local police theorize that a group of thieves dismantled the bridge to sell the metal for scrap. You know, because it's Russia.

The worst part, is that these are probably serial bridge thieves. According to the article, two other bridges were completely stolen earlier in that same year, and police suspect the crimes are connected (though obviously not by a bridge). But of course the saddest part of this is what it suggests about Russia. One, that (unlike the bell thieves) the perpetrators were apparently able to find a taker for the scrap metal who'd turn a blind eye to the clearly bridge-shaped nature of many of the pieces ("I, uh, found it. In the river.").


"Look, it doesn't matter how I got it, do you want it or not? I'll throw in the train."

Secondly, there's the motorists who stopped when their headlights revealed a half-gone bridge, along with a group of dudes with cutting torches running away with chunks and giggling, and who didn't bother to report anything. We can just picture them doing a U-turn, shaking their heads and muttering, "Yakov Smirnoff was right."

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