Home » History » The Highest Amount Stolen in a Street Robbery was Valued at £292 Million. This Happened in 1990 When a Courier was Robbed on a Street in London.
City Bonds Robbery

The Highest Amount Stolen in a Street Robbery was Valued at £292 Million. This Happened in 1990 When a Courier was Robbed on a Street in London.

Set aside Bonnie and Clyde and Jesse James. The true pros steal money in massive quantities, on an industrial scale. And for truly large thefts, you must be well-organized and well-connected, which means that businesses and politicians rank high on the list of the world’s greatest heists. But did you know that the highest amount stolen in a street robbery happened in London?

In 1990, a courier was robbed on a London street. The robber made off with £292 million in bearer bonds. This is now worth £758 million, or $1.086 billion USD. This remains the largest sum ever stolen in a street robbery.

The Biggest Street Heist

On May 2, 1990, John Goddard was holding a briefcase as he walked down a quiet side street in the City of London. Nothing unusual about that, you might think, except that his case contained 301 Treasury Bonds worth nearly £1 million each! Goddard was a messenger for Sheppard’s, a money broker, and he routinely carried these Bank of England Treasury Bills, but on this day, he was robbed of the bonds, which were as good as cash.

Police believe the mugger was a petty thief named Patrick Thomas, but Thomas cannot be charged because he was murdered in December 1991. Keith Cheeseman, who received a six-and-a-half-year sentence, was one of five men arrested for the theft. He was the only person imprisoned for the robbery because the other four people were acquitted due to a lack of evidence. Surprisingly, no evidence was presented during the trials of these four men in 1991, so they could all walk free.

The police recovered 299 of the bonds thanks to an informant, and the FBI and City of London police collaborated to infiltrate the gang. A few questions remain unanswered in relation to the City Bonds Robbery. Police closed the case relatively quickly, but it seems incredible that only one man suffered the consequences of such a lucrative robbery when the identities of other participants were presumably known. It’s also worth noting that one of history’s largest robberies was carried out in broad daylight by a low-level thief wielding a knife. (Source: The History Collection

Rumors Surrounding Thomas

His death has been linked to his cocaine addiction and inability to keep his mouth shut. The rumor mill was rife, and it suggested that a City futures dealer passed insider information out to a fraud gang in Ireland. As Thomas became more ‘big-headed’ about his role and talked about it as he spent a lot of money, the police became very interested.

He was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head in his south London home. The bonds began to appear in the United States, hawked by known fraudster Keith Cheeseman, drawing the attention of the FBI and the Met to the case. Cheeseman had a varied con man career, including purchasing the football club Dunstable Town FC with the proceeds of another fraud. The club was forced to close in 1977. (Source: The History Collection

Image from HistoryCollection

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