On Christmas Eve, 1985, an unknown number of criminals pulled off the largest heist of Mexican goods since Miami Vice's second season finale. Their target was Mexico City's National Museum of Anthropology, which houses that Mayan calendar everyone is so afraid of, and the enormous Olmec head Bart Simpson got from Mr. Burns in Season 2. Hans Gruber may have been too busy in Europe to have pulled off the caper, but one thing is for sure: Whoever John McClane's Mexican equivalent was, he was asleep at the wheel.
Most heist films depict the trial run of the theft as presenting impossible odds and almost zero chance of escape. This wasn't that kind of movie. Choosing the night before Christmas in the overwhelmingly Christian nation ensured that security would be sluggish on account of excessive holiday cheer. As for the museum itself, the thieves couldn't have wished for better odds if the loot had been stored in a retirement home: no electronic security, no working cameras, a floor-plan they knew "perfectly" and eight sleepy security guards doing rounds every two hours.
Gross stereotype offered for illustration purposes only
The thieves had all the time they needed to scale the museum's seven-foot fence, maneuver through a malfunctioning air-conditioning duct and end up in the museum basement. They helped themselves to whatever they wished and then vanished without a trace, Steve Gutenberg-like. No locks were picked, no glass was broken and no doors were forced. In short, like a pervert on the Tokyo subway there was no smashing: just grabbing.
Now, with all that fence-climbing and duct-shimmying, you'd probably assume that the thieves could only steal one or two things. Not so. By 8 am, Mexico woke up to find what Forbes dubbed "the single largest theft of precious objects" ever. One-hundred and forty-four artifacts of Aztec, Mayan and Mesoamerican origin had been stolen. The price of just one of the treasures, an obsidian monkey, was $20 million. To make matters worse, most of the relics were only one-inch in height-- ideal for smuggling since they didn't require breaking down the artifacts for transport. Ever the professionals, it took the mainstream media three days to cover the story due to the holidays, at which point the criminals already had the head start they needed to disappear... probably singing Feliz Navidad the whole way.
(Last known whereabouts.)