Tiger kidnapping

Last updated

A tiger kidnapping or tiger robbery involves two separate crimes. The first crime usually involves an abduction of any person or thing someone highly values. Instead of demanding money, the captors demand that a second crime be committed on their behalf. The second crime could be anything from robbery, murder, to planting a bomb. [1] A person or item held hostage is kept by the captors until their demands are met. The goal of the captors is to have their risky/dirty work performed by another person. The victims of a crime like this are less likely to report to authorities since they just committed a crime themselves. [2] [3]


Police have identified highly organised paramilitary training camps that prepare potential tiger kidnappers; one witness stated that trainees operate so cohesively that they are comparable to a SWAT team. [4]


The practice began as a twist on a tactic used by the Irish Republican Army, which kidnapped people in order to coerce others into placing car bombs. [5]

The first recorded crime that can be described as a tiger kidnapping occurred in 1972, [6] but the term was coined in the 1980s and gained more widespread use in the following decade. Since tiger kidnapping is technically two crimes committed in tandem, statistics regarding their occurrence are difficult to compile. Tiger kidnappings have occurred in several jurisdictions, but are more common in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Belgium. [3] Examples include the Northern Bank robbery and Bank of Ireland robbery. [7] According to International Herald Tribune , tiger kidnappings "have become common in Ireland, a close-knit society where criminals can closely track their targets" and "they have typically involved thefts below €1 million." [7] After the 2009 Bank of Ireland robbery, Charlie Flanagan, a member of the Irish Parliament, remarked that “tiger kidnappings are taking place in Ireland... at a rate of almost one per week.” [8]


Businesses can take several steps to guard against these such as mandating that two or more people must work in tandem in order to open sensitive areas such as bank vaults and cash boxes. [5]

The movies Cash on Demand , Nick of Time , Bandits , Firewall , Intermission and Waist Deep dramatize tiger kidnappings.

The video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All features a tiger kidnapping as a plot point in its final case.

A tiger kidnapping is also carried out in Season 4 of Love/Hate .

The series Happy Valley features a kidnapping that is falsely described as a tiger kidnapping by Sergeant Cawood.

See also

Related Research Articles

Patty Hearst American newspaper heiress, actress

Patricia Campbell Hearst is an American author and actress. A granddaughter of the American publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, she became internationally known for events following her 1974 kidnapping by a left-wing terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army. Hearst was found 19 months after being abducted, by which time she was a fugitive wanted for serious crimes committed with members of the group. She was held in custody, and there was speculation before trial that her family's resources would enable her to avoid time in jail.

Stockholm syndrome psychological phenomenon where hostages express empathy and sympathy toward their captors

Stockholm syndrome is a condition in which hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. Emotional bonds may be formed, between captor and captives, during intimate time together, but these are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. The FBI's Hostage Barricade Database System and Law Enforcement Bulletin indicate that roughly 8% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome. About ninety-six percent of victims involve suicide, domestic violence, and include people with previous relationships with the abuser.

Bank robbery Crime of stealing from a bank using violence

Bank robbery is the crime of stealing money from a bank, specifically while bank employees and customers are subjected to force, violence, or a threat of violence. This refers to robbery of a bank branch or teller, as opposed to other bank-owned property, such as a train, armored car, or (historically) stagecoach. It is a federal crime in the United States.

A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which an offender or perpetrator uses or threatens to use force upon a victim. This entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, such as murder or rape, as well as crimes in which violence is used as a form coercion. Violent crimes may, or may not, be committed with weapons. Depending on the jurisdiction, violent crimes may vary from homicide to harassment. Typically, violent criminals includes aircraft hijackers, bank robbers, muggers, burglars, terrorists, carjackers, rapists, kidnappers, torturers, active shooters, murderers, gangsters, drug cartels, and others.

James Burke (gangster) American gangster

James Burke, also known as "Jimmy the Gent", was an Irish American gangster and Lucchese crime family associate who is believed to have organized the 1978 Lufthansa heist, at the time the most lucrative cash theft in American history, and also believed to have either committed or ordered the murders of many of those involved in the months following the robbery.

The Brink's-Mat robbery occurred at the Heathrow International Trading Estate on 26 November 1983, with a record £26 million worth of gold bullion, diamonds, and cash stolen from a warehouse. The bullion was the property of Johnson Matthey Bankers Ltd, which collapsed the following year after making large loans to frauds and insolvent firms. Two men were convicted, and the majority of the gold has never been recovered. Insurers Lloyd's of London paid out for the losses. Several deaths have been linked to the case, and there are links to the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary in April 2015.

In some parts of the United States and some other English-speaking countries, home invasion is an illegal and usually forceful entry to an occupied, private dwelling with intent to commit a violent crime against the occupants, such as robbery, assault, rape, murder, or kidnapping.

The Northern Bank robbery was a robbery of cash from the Donegall Square West headquarters of Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Carried out on 20 December 2004, a gang seized the equivalent of £26.5 million in pounds sterling and small amounts of other currencies, largely euros and US dollars, making it the largest bank robbery in British history. Although the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the British and Irish governments claimed the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was responsible, this is denied by the Provisional IRA and the political party Sinn Féin. Although one person has been convicted of money laundering, the investigation is still ongoing, and the case remains unsolved.

Death of Brian Wells American death by explosive collar

Brian Douglas Wells was an American man who died during his forced involvement in a complex plot involving a bank robbery, a scavenger hunt, and a homemade explosive device. Wells was killed when an explosive collar detonated while he was surrounded by police in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. The collar had been forcibly locked onto his neck as part of the plot. The FBI led a task force investigating the crime, in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Pennsylvania State Police. CNN described the crime as "one of the most complicated and bizarre crimes in the annals of the FBI".

The Banco Central burglary at Fortaleza was the theft of about R$160 million from the vault of the Banco Central branch located in Fortaleza, in the state of Ceará, Brazil, on August 6, 2005. It is one of the world's largest heists. In the aftermath of the burglary, of the 25 people thought to be involved, just eight had been arrested, and R$20 million recovered, up to the end of 2005. In addition, several of the gang are thought to have been victims of kidnapping, and one, Luis Fernando Ribeiro, thought to have been the mastermind of the operation, was killed by kidnappers after a ransom was paid. Arrests and recovery of the money, as well as kidnapping and murder of the perpetrators, have been ongoing, though most are still unaccounted for.

Martin "The General" Cahill was a prominent Irish criminal from Dublin.

The Lufthansa heist was a robbery at John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 11, 1978. An estimated $5.875 million was stolen, with $5 million in cash and $875,000 in jewelry, making it the largest cash robbery committed on American soil at the time. In popular culture, it is the main subject of two well-known television films—The 10 Million Dollar Getaway (1991) and The Big Heist (2001)—and is a key plot element in the film Goodfellas (1990). The heist's magnitude made it one of the longest-investigated crimes in the United States; the latest arrest associated with the robbery was made in 2014. Jimmy Burke was reputed to be the mastermind of the robbery, but he was never officially charged in connection with the crime.

Henry Hill American mobster

Henry Hill Jr. was an American mobster who was associated with the Lucchese crime family of New York City between 1955 and 1980. In 1980, Hill was arrested on narcotics charges and became an FBI informant. He testified against his former mafia associates, resulting in 50 convictions, including those of caporegime (captain) Paul Vario and James Burke on multiple charges.

The Securitas depot robbery was the largest cash robbery in the world during peacetime, masterminded by mixed martial arts fighter Lee Murray. It took place on the evening of 21 February 2006 from 18:30 GMT until the early hours of 22 February 2006. Several men armed with AK47s, and Škorpions abducted and threatened the family of the manager, tied up fourteen staff members and stole cash worth over $92 million (£53,116,760), in bank notes belonging to the Bank of England from a Securitas Cash Management Ltd depot in Vale Road, Tonbridge, Kent in the United Kingdom. The Securitas depot robbery, is only eclipsed by the wartime $1 billion dollar Central Bank of Iraq heist, done under the orders of Saddam Hussein, by his son Qusay in 2003.

The Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery was a robbery of $17.3 million in cash from the Charlotte, North Carolina, regional office vault of Loomis, Fargo & Co. on the evening of October 4, 1997. The robbery was committed by Loomis vault supervisor David Scott Ghantt, his married girlfriend Kelly Campbell, Steve Chambers, his wife Michelle Chambers, Michael Gobbies, and four other co-conspirators. An FBI criminal investigation ultimately resulted in the arrest and conviction of eight people directly involved in the heist, as well as sixteen others who had indirectly helped them, and the recovery of approximately 88% of the stolen money.

2009 Bank of Ireland robbery

The 2009 Bank of Ireland robbery was a large robbery of cash from the College Green cash centre of the Bank of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland, on 27 February 2009. It was the largest bank robbery in the Republic of Ireland's history. Criminals engaged in the tiger kidnapping of a junior bank employee, 24-year-old Shane Travers, and forced him to remove €7.6 million in cash from the bank as his girlfriend and two others were held hostage.

2009 Graff Diamonds robbery

The Graff Diamonds robbery took place on 6 August 2009 when two men posing as customers entered the premises of Graff Diamonds in New Bond Street, London and stole jewellery worth nearly £40 million. It was believed to be the largest ever gems heist in Britain at the time, and the second largest British robbery after the £53 million raid on a Securitas depot in Kent in 2006. The thieves' haul totalled 43 items of jewellery, consisting of rings, bracelets, necklaces and wristwatches. One necklace alone has been reported as being worth more than £3.5m. Britain's previous largest jewellery robbery also took place at Graff's, in 2003. As of September 2014, none of the stolen jewels have been recovered.

Crime in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland before the Troubles ended, low-level petty crime was not as common as in the rest of Ireland or the UK.

The National Surveillance Unit (NSU) is the principal clandestine intelligence gathering and surveillance operations unit of the Garda Síochána, the national police force of Ireland. The unit operates under the Crime & Security Branch (CSB), based at Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, and also works from Harcourt Street, Dublin. Members of the unit are specially trained and selected Detective Gardaí who are tasked to remain covert whilst on and off duty, tracking suspected criminals, terrorists and hostile, foreign spies operating in Ireland. The unit's detectives are routinely armed. The National Surveillance Unit is understood to possess a manpower of approximately 100 officers, and is considered to be the most secretive arm of the force.

The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) is a specialist national unit within the Garda Síochána, Ireland's national police service, responsible for proactively targeting and investigating drug trafficking and serious organised crime both within Ireland and outside the jurisdiction. The Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau has a complement of 111 Detective Gardaí and a total staff of up to 400 officers, all of whom are armed.


  1. "Pair escape 'tiger kidnap' ordeal". BBC News. 2007-07-28. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  2. "'Big rise' in NI kidnap robberies". BBC News. 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  3. 1 2 "Tiger kidnap - the threat to the UK banking sector" (PDF). Control Risks Group Limited. 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  4. Mooney, John (2006-12-31). "Balkan training for Tiger kidnap gangs". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  5. 1 2 IRELAND -The Latest 'Tiger Kidnapping' Trend. OffNews.info Accessed March 2, 2009.
  6. Summers, Chris (2008-01-28). "Can 'tiger kidnappings' be prevented?". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  7. 1 2 7 arrested after Irish bank heist. International Herald Tribune . Published March 1, 2009.
  8. Robert Mackey, 7 Arrests After Ireland’s Biggest Bank Heist. The New York Times . Published February 28, 2009.