#3. A Church
In what is perhaps the biggest simultaneous dick-slap to the face of both God and the legal system, an entire church was stolen. In--hold on, let's see which country this was here...
Oh, right: Russia, again.
According to reports, a local businessman came by and offered villagers about four cents a brick for the church. We'll theorize he actually meant a lump sum for the building, but was rather surprised to open his door one morning to hundreds of Russian villagers with their arms full of bricks.
The theft of the church apparently happened over the course of less than a month, and officials believe that the bricks in question were re-purposed to build other local buildings which we're assuming are all hugely cursed. This in mind, they offered a reward for the return of the church. We like to imagine a large group of Russians huddled over a trashcan fire trying to determine which bricks the nearby McDonald's doesn't actually need to stay upright.
#2. A Fully Loaded Oil Tanker
While Somalian pirates can only hijack oil tankers and hold them for ransom, others just steal these gargantuan, slow-moving boats outright.
The tanker, called the MV Asterious, was moored at an oil field in Ghana, and was being guarded by the Nigerian navy. Now, two things: one, we suspect the Nigerian navy isn't all that impressive; two, the MV Asterious had an all Russian crew. The boat happened to be chartered by two different oil companies, GNPC and Lushann Eternit, who both blamed each other when they clearly should have been blaming the Russians.
The Nigerian Navy.
The boat was never recovered and no suspects or leads have been reported. Later, in the same year, two more tankers were also stolen overnight, futher insulting the Nigerian navy. One tanker, the MV Jimoh, was found repainted. While that works great on cars (at least in the Grand Theft Auto universe), we doubt it has the same effect on ships.
"The missing ship has been arrested," navy commander Kabir Aliyu said, which without checking further we are going to assume that involved slapping a pair of comically oversized cuffs on the boat and putting it into ship prison wearing an enormous striped uniform.
#1. The Empire State Building
Yes, you read that right. The Empire State building was stolen, and it only took 90 minutes. Let us repeat that: The Empire fucking State Building was stolen in 90 minutes. Though you may be disappointed to learn that the actual theft did not involve a massive underground drill or a super-sized Superman villain helicopter.
No, instead, the building was stolen by the New York Daily News. Through an elaborate (see not that difficult) process of forgery, the news agency managed to create documents for a bill of sale and other undisclosed legal documents convincing enough to make the New York City Office of the City Register transfer the title of the building to Nelots Properties, LLC. You noticed it too, huh? That Nelots is 'stolen' backwards? Oh you didn't? Don't worry, neither did the Office of the City Register.
You know what else they didn't notice? Some of the important names on the documents, like the witness the notary, who happened to be Fay Wray (the original King Kong star), and Willie Sutton (the famous bank robber).
NYC's notary clerk.
In all fairness, the stunt was designed to draw attention to a flaw in the system in which the clerks are not required to verify any information. In the article they brought attention to actual cases of this kind of entire house theft where the thieves would take out mortgages on the house, and leave the actual owners stuck to pay off the mortgages while thieves pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Unlike the above mentioned assholes, the Daily News returned ownership of the building to Empire State Land Associates. We like to think we would have done the same. In exchange for a pile of money exactly the size of the building.
Be sure to check out today's Photoshop contest, which takes you Inside The Inboxes of 15 Famous Villains.
And you can visit the Internet's new home at Cracked.com's Top Picks, because we stole it. That's right, the whole fucking thing. Bitches.