#3. The Home of the British Prime Minister (10 Downing Street)
Obadiah Marius is probably the worst cat burglar in England, having been arrested 78 times in 30 years for his serial inability to break into things and get away with it.
While most people would probably just switch to a hobby more suited to their skills, like collecting whiskey bottles, Marius decided for some reason to actually up the ante on his criminal antics and break into the home of the British Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street. We presume nobody was more surprised than Marius that he succeeded.
Via Wikimedia Commons
But first, he had to get through scores of security guards and ... oh.
In 2008, Marius entered the British center of government with his Lithuanian girlfriend, armed only with her Lithuanian national ID card, which he flashed at security. They let him through without reading it, because apparently the only condition needed to see the Prime Minister is that you have a card of any description.
"Very well, you may enter five times."
Weirder, Marius was a drug addict, and not really one of those drug addicts who could pass easily for a foreign diplomat on his way to a delegate conference. Nevertheless, he had the run of the building, unchecked, for almost an hour. So this petty criminal was just randomly going through top minister offices before security staff decided that the track-suit-wearing man with the shaved head who was stuffing things into his pockets was probably not a visiting world leader. At least not from any first-world nation.
Via Daily Mail
That's him on the right ... walking around in not-prison after 78 arrests.
#2. Red Square During the Cold War
During the Cold War, you couldn't get further behind the iron curtain than Red Square, the heart of Moscow that's bordered by the Kremlin, the Soviet seat of government. A Westerner infiltrating Red Square would have been like Stalin strolling onto the White House lawn. But it totally happened in 1987, when a West German teenager landed a plane in Red Square as though it was the tarmac of LAX.
After an arms reduction deal between the USA and the USSR went awry, 19-year-old Mathias Rust decided for some reason it was up to him to help reduce tension between the Soviets and the West. His plan? Fly a small Cessna from Finland across the Baltic and into Russia, just so the two sides would have something to talk about again.
That's him, leaning against his plane like it ain't no thang.
It's not at all clear why a small airplane getting shot down by a dozen Soviet fighter jets would end the Cold War, but whatever. Much to everyone's surprise, he didn't get shot down. And in fact, Rust's ill-advised journey actually did help to end the Cold War, if only because his success proved to the Russians that their defenses were utterly hopeless.
When Rust's tiny little plane came in contact with Russian radar, the system proved surprisingly shoddy, with the plane flickering on and off the radar screen. At the same time, the military couldn't decide whether the aircraft was an enemy or not, so they delayed the order to shoot it the hell out of the sky.
"I apologize for my balls not being here. They required a larger courtroom."
Amazed that he had survived his suicidal journey this far, Rust decided to go the whole nine yards and land in Red Square, which he did, while Soviet authorities wringed their hands and tried to decide what to do about it. After Rust disembarked and chatted to people for a few minutes, Moscow police finally decided to arrest him.
But the damage was done, and Gorbachev fired his defense minister, as well as several other Soviet military leaders whose job it was to prevent something like this from happening. Today, the plane is in a museum and Rust is a professional poker player, as he obviously knows a thing or two about gambling, or at least about the art of not giving a shit.
#1. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the home of the Queen of Britain, and because frail old ladies are rarely known for their self-defense mastery, it should be about the most secure building in the country. Indeed, the palace has almost never been broken into. It just turns out that it's because nobody has ever tried.
Not until 1982, anyway, when an unemployed drunk named Michael Fagan simply strolled in and woke the queen up to have a chat.
Via Daily Mail
"I needed to know if she had any Grey Poupon."
As if that weren't brazen enough, Fagan's unscheduled audience with the queen occurred on his second intrusion into the Royal Palace. Both times, Fagan evaded security cameras, servants, James Bonds and all those guards with the big furry hats in what should have looked like the climactic scene from the next Mission: Impossible movie. And what was his genius plan? Well, he didn't have one. He just jumped over a fence, climbed a drainpipe and slipped through an open window.
So the guy just lucked out, right? Well, here's where the story gets weirder. On his first attempt, Fagan was spotted by a maid while he was shimmying up the drainpipe. The maid called security, and security "decided not to act," presumably arguing that if they investigated every report of drainpipe-climbing hobos they would never get any work done. Once he actually got inside, all the alarms turned out to be broken. Finding himself in the kind of fantasy situation that thousands of British anarchists masturbate over, Fagan simply stole a bottle of wine. It wasn't even good wine. He was in the queen's house and he took a bottle of $6 plonk, then left.
"Oh, honey, that's nice. What is that, Mad Dog 20/20?"
One month later, Fagan came back. Climbing back up the drainpipe, he found the window still unlocked and decided to visit the queen. And although they'd fixed the alarms this time, the guards again didn't respond, assuming it was a bunch of false alarms. At this point we have to wonder what these guys actually do for a living.
This time Fagan managed to cut his hand on a broken ashtray before entering the queen's bedroom. When the queen awoke to find a stranger at her bedside, ominously dripping blood on her duvet, she made the reasonable decision to call security. And surely they came running at the queen's personal behest, right?
Nope. From her calm tone of voice, they assumed that her situation wasn't urgent. And we like to think that, when she called the police and identified herself as the queen, they replied "Right, lady, and I'm Napoleon."
Via Wikimedia Commons
And that the officer was, in fact, Napoleon.
Queen Elizabeth was forced to engage Fagan in banal conversation for 10 minutes until a maid entered the bedroom and asked what he was doing there, to which the queen presumably replied, "You fucking tell me." Even after all that, Fagan couldn't actually be charged for his adventure because it turned out the justice system forgot to make breaking into Buckingham Palace a crime. The only thing they could arrest him for? Stealing that cheap bottle of wine.
For more places that you want to break into, check out 6 Incredible Real-World Supervillain Lairs and 6 Massive Secret Operations That Are Hidden All Around You.