Top 10 Wealthiest Thieves

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When we alerted our readers to the fact that rich people are way more likely to steal things than people who earn far less than they do, exactly one of them (our readers) wanted to see a list of 10 wealthy shoplifters to support the claim even though, you know, there was a link supporting it and everything. However, we’ve never been one to let down our fan, so, PragmaticStatistic, this one is for you.

10. The Czech Republic President steals a pen, on camera.

Vaclav Klaus was the president of Czech Republic in 2011. Now we don’t know how much Czech Republic Presidents earn but high ranking positions like the leader of a country don’t exactly pay peanuts. That makes this theft all the more ridiculous, as not only did Vaclav steal a pen, he stole a ceremonial, jewel encrusted pen on live television.

Even if he was stupid enough to think the cameras there for the sole reason of filming him sign a document wouldn’t catch him pilfering the ink coffin, it was a ceremonial pen. As in, that’s exactly the kind of thing people would notice going missing.

When asked to comment Klaus simply responded that “he takes things all the time” which obviously makes it okay.

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9. The king of Egypt steals a watch, from Winston Churchill.

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King Farouk of Egypt, despite being a king with wealth to rival Nintendo, was a very, very angry man and noted miser. A miser for the uninformed is basically the kind of person who’d eat a 5 bean chili and a packet of soap powder on Monday if they wanted a bubbly bath on Wednesday.

Farouk was noted to have the demeanour of a young child, as in, if Farouk saw something he wanted, he’d just take it, regardless of the owner. Along with stealing a watch from Winston Churchill, Farouk also stole from the Shah of Persia’s coffin. Because when you’re a king with god like power and a penchant for taking whatever you felt like, ghosts pose little threat.

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8. The celebrity chef who stole onions, while buying champagne.

Though famous chefs probably don’t earn the same money as kings and presidents, the fact that they own restaurants that charge a week’s wage for a chicken coated in tiger eyes would indicate that they’re not exactly the kind of people who hurt for money, which makes the case of Antony Worral Thompson all the more depressing.

The famed British chef was arrested in 2012 for stealing cheese, coleslaw, and onions (among other items). After the case gained steam Thompson broke down and confessed to crying himself to sleep at night as well as stealing trivial items while at the same time buying hundreds of pounds worth of champagne. So if you thought rich people had it easy, just remember that somewhere out there a rich guy is crying himself to sleep because he can’t stop stealing onions. Then again, he’s doing that crying in a bedroom bigger than most of our houses, so he can suck it up.

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7. The millionaire’s daughter who stole make-up, with 320 dollars in her purse.

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Caroline Giuliani was caught in 2010 stealing several hundred dollars worth of make-up from an expensive make-up shop. After being caught and promptly told to cut that stuff out, she was dragged to a police station where the police discovered she not only had double the amount of money necessary to pay for the items she stole but that her parents were multi-millionaires.

Even worse, she left the precinct with no more than a slap on the wrist, which is rather annoying when you consider that her father used to be the mayor of New York, and during his time in office he championed legislation that would have punished people for crimes as trivial as jay-walking. She walked away from a shoplifting charge scot-free, because she was mad at her dad and couldn’t help it.

Come on Caroline, if you’re angry at your dad at least put it on a rap album. Then at least we could shoplift it so you know how much stealing hurts.

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6. The Indian restaurant owner, slash gold thief.

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Madhukar Mohandas Prabhakar is a notorious thief who used to take taxis to the wealthy Mumbai district of India where he would raid the crap out of any house he saw with the lights off. Though it’s not known how much of his ill gotten gains went to funding his lifestyle and how much of his wealth came from his actual business, it’s safe to say Prabhakar was a millionaire.

However unlike the other people on this list, Prabhakar didn’t steal for his own benefit, he did it for his community, in which Prabhakar funded many projects making him very popular with locals. So hey, not all thieves are bad guys, but then again, Prabhakar was caught and arrested. Maybe he should have tried moving to America, rich people never go to jail here.

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5. The millionaire who stole history, from a library.

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Farhad Hakimzadeh was a wealthy, knowledgeable businesnman with an interest in rare books and cultural history. With that in mind, you’d expect a guy who loves books to be respectful of them and not say, slash them to pieces to stick in his private collection where no one else could see them. But no, that’s exactly what he did.

Yes, despite being a lover of rare books and an author himself, Farhad saw absolutely nothing wrong with destroying or damaging dozens of rare, irreplaceable tomes just to pad out his own private collection. Because hey, knowledge should be free, but awesome knowledge should be locked in a rich guy’s library. That’s education 101.

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4. The politician who claimed back the money he gave to charity.

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The MP’s expenses scandal was a story that rocked English politics by actually making English people care about politics. Basically English MP’s had expense forms that they could fill in and send off to cover any costs they incurred while serving the country. Many MP’s took this to mean “free money” and promptly sent off for anything and everything they couldn’t be bother paying for.

Some MP’s bought second homes, some bought plasma screen TVs and others bough moats and houses for their ducks. Then you had the politicians who really took the piss. Like Frank Cook who successfully claimed back 5 pounds he’d donated to charity, along with another 130 thousand pounds worth of stuff. He later apologised for his mistake, because obviously filling in a form and signing it is something we all do by accident from time to time.

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3. The Comptroller who stole millions, on top of a 80 thousand dollar paycheck.

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We can’t let England have all the glory though, over here in America we really know how to milk the system. We have people like Rita Crundwell who, on top of being paid 80 thousand dollars a year, decided she just needed to embezzle millions upon millions of the tax payers dollars to get by, because how do you expect someone to live on a measly 80 thousand dollars a year? We don’t know about you guys but we don’t know how anyone could live without a 2.1 million dollar motorhome on top of their own, already giant house. We don’t even think you can call living in a giant house living if we’re honest.

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2. The millionaire who stole a veteran’s credit card, to buy pizza.

Richard Ludwig, a Michigan dentist, is accused of stealing a military veteran's credit card to buy pizza while in town for his son's baseball game.

What makes this entry sad isn’t that a millionaire stole from a Navy vet who’d just finished buying presents for his 9 year old son’s birthday. It’s how fast said millionaire took that chance.

When Harrun Majeed lost his credit cards he called his credit card company and explained his situation, only to be told that no less than 8 minutes after he’d lost them, someone had already found them and used them to buy 40 dollars worth of pizza. When cops caught up to the thief they not only found out that he was a millionaire, but that he had 250 dollars in cash in his back pocket.

When asked if he needed money, Dr. Richard Ludwig responded flippantly and asserted that he was a millionaire. When asked why he decided to steal the cards like a butthole instead of returning them or handing them into the police, he responded with “I picked up the card, what was I supposed to do with it?” Oh, we don’t know Ludwig, how about next time you decide to not be a total wang?

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1. The millionaire who became a Lego baron.

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Though the thought of people with more than most stealing things they don’t need is one we find rather infuriating, this next story is too hilarious to be mad at the guy it’s about.

Thomas Langenbach, a wealthy tech worker created the persona of Tomsbrickyard which over several months became one of the foremost sellers of Lego on Ebay. Tomsbrickyard, prior to Langenbach’s arrest, had actually had an almost perfect 99.9% approval rating.

So where does the theft come into this? Well, Langenbach found that if he printed out barcodes he found online and then stuck them onto toys he found in Target, he could buy them for a heavily discounted price and sell them on for a profit. So he did just that, with thousands of toys. Literally thousands, when the police finally cottoned on and raided his home they said it looked like “Lego land” and commented that his urge to sell the tiny bricks must have been the result of some sort of compulsion.

So yeah, rich people, for some reason, do seem compelled to steal things they could easily afford, however, every now and again they’ll do so in such an awesome way you really have to admire them for it.

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4 Comments

  1. Great list. An addition: two Estonian guys Raivo Roosna (aka Daniel Ladion) and Aleks Lepajõe robbed a jewellery store in Helsinki, Finland in 1984. They were caught, but the jewels and diamonds were never found. They served 8 years in prison and came back as wealthy men with the loot that the police never found. Both men have since become media celebrities and businessmen in Estonia, Sweden and Finland.

  2. PragmaticStatistic on

    Dear Shell,

    Thanks for backing up your first article with the examples in this article. As a marketing communications professional I always had to back up any claim I made, so when I saw that the original claim about shoplifting rich people without any of the usual Top-Ten examples I had to call it out. Sorry, but when you set such a high standard for backing your usual articles you have done, you have to do it each and every time.

    Thanks again.

  3. Not quite the same but there have been a few cases here in England where recent lottery winners continue to claim tens of thousands of pounds in benefits they are obviously no longer entitled to.

    These people are clearly suffering from forms of kleptomania, it’s a horrible situation where a mental illness leads to criminal behaviour. Obviously we can’t allow them to indulge in their crimes, but they aren’t in concious control of their actions. It’s a lose lose situation.

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