Historical Heists: True Crime, minus the Truly Horrible People
August 11, 2022 12:25 AM   Subscribe

Videos like this one about the recurring thefts of the Ghent Altarpiece seem to scratch the same itch that true crime stories do but without the negative side effects. Seeing as I just ruined my ability to sleep for the next 48 hours by binging some especially violent true crime stuff on YouTube, please share your favorite videos about historical heists so I can redirect my brain towards less traumatizing mysteries than the ones I learned about today!
posted by The Adventure Begins to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Forgeries are great, too!
posted by The Adventure Begins at 12:31 AM on August 11, 2022

So, ignoring the "videos" part of the request (but maybe someone knows of a good creator with work on the subject? it's just not how I typically consume media, sorry!), a fascinating subgenre of the historical heist is the relic translation: a thief (often a monk or group of monks) breaks into the resting place of a particularly potent relic and, typically with the full consent of the saint, steals it for the use of his own community. These tales usually don't have much in the way of mystery, but the thieves often do have to deal with custodians of the relic who aren't too happy about the theft, so there's definitely an element of heist action there! Patrick Geary's Furta Sacra: Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages is the classic book on the subject.
posted by the tartare yolk at 10:16 AM on August 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

I love this question! I find the Gardner Museum heist fascinating - again, not a video, but the first season of the podcast Last Seen does a deep dive into it and it looks like the second season has some episodes that might be up your alley as well.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 10:52 AM on August 11, 2022

If you like podcasts you may want to check out Last Seen which is about things that have gone missing…
posted by dazedandconfused at 12:19 PM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

This Is A Robbery, about the Gardner Museum heist, is on Netflix.

There is also The Thief Collector and The Lost Leonardo.
posted by gudrun at 1:09 PM on August 11, 2022

Look for The Art of the Heist (14 episodes). Possibly on your local PBS or other public network, or at your library as DVD. I particularly found the episode about the robbery of a Buenos Aires museum, probably done by Argentine security forces, very interesting.
posted by CCBC at 4:56 PM on August 11, 2022

In addition to This is a Robbery, I'd recommend American Animals, Beltrachhi, Art & Craft, and There Are No Fakes.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 6:26 PM on August 11, 2022

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