The Most Famous Thief of All Time, Ranked

Choose the thief you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 14, 2024 07:16
Throughout history, tales of cunning heists and shadowy figures have captured the human imagination, leaving us both amazed and perplexed by their exploits. By ranking the most notorious thieves through time, we gain a unique insight into the minds and methods that have swayed destinies and economies. This process not only satisfies our curiosity but also sheds light on the broader implications of their actions on society and justice. Here on this site, users have the power to cast their votes, influencing the ongoing rankings of history's most famous thieves. Each vote contributes to a live leaderboard that reflects the collective opinion of our audience. Engaging with this list offers a dynamic way to connect with history and the legendary figures that have left their mark on the world. Your participation helps paint a clearer picture of who the public views as the most impactful and intriguing among them.

Who Is the Most Famous Thief of All Time?

  1. 1
    Known for stealing from the rich to give to the poor, Robin Hood is a legendary figure in English folklore.
    Robin Hood in other rankings
  2. 2

    Bonnie and Clyde

    Media and public
    Infamous American criminals who robbed banks and killed several people during their crime spree in the 1930s.
    Bonnie and Clyde is a call sign referring to the notorious criminal couple, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who were active during the Great Depression. They gained notoriety for their bank robberies, car thefts, and murders.
    • Time period: 1930s
    • Nickname: Bonnie and Clyde
    • Occupation: Outlaws
    • Notable activities: Bank robberies, car thefts, murder
    • Escape methods: Frequent use of stolen cars
    Bonnie and Clyde in other rankings
  3. 3
    A notorious American outlaw who robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches in the late 1800s.
    Jesse James in other rankings
  4. 4
    A fictional gentleman thief created by French author Maurice Leblanc. Lupin is known for his wit, charm, and ability to pull off daring heists.
  5. 5
    D.B. Cooper
    U.S. Federal Government · Public domain
    An unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 in 1971 and extorted $200,000 before parachuting out of the plane and disappearing.
    D.B. Cooper in other rankings
  6. 6
    A group of international jewel thieves who have pulled off heists in multiple countries, earning them a reputation as one of the most sophisticated criminal organizations in the world.
  7. 7
    A group of British criminals who stole millions of pounds from a Royal Mail train in 1963. The robbery was one of the most audacious and well-planned heists in history.
  8. 8
    Frank Abagnale
    Frank_Abagnale.jpg: Marcus JB derivative work: SoWhy · CC BY 2.0

    Frank Abagnale

    Frank William Abagnale Jr.
    A former con artist and check forger who posed as a pilot, doctor, and lawyer before being caught and serving time in prison. His life story was later adapted into the movie "Catch Me If You Can."
    Frank Abagnale is a former con artist and forger who posed as an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer during the 1960s. He is considered one of the most notorious impostors in history.
    • Aliases: Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams
    • Birthdate: April 27, 1948
    • Nationality: American
    • Crimes: Check fraud, forgery, impersonation
    • Years Active: 1964-1970
    Frank Abagnale in other rankings
  9. 9
    A fictional character from McDonald's advertising, known for stealing hamburgers. While not a real thief, the Hamburglar is one of the most recognizable and iconic "thieves" in popular culture.
  10. 10
    Vincenzo Peruggia
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    An Italian worker who stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. The theft was a major scandal at the time and turned the painting into one of the most famous works of art in the world.

Missing your favorite thief?


Ranking factors for famous thief

  1. Notoriety
    The level of recognition and awareness surrounding the thief's exploits. This includes media coverage, public perception, and overall fame.
  2. Infamy
    The extent to which the thief's activities were deemed illegal, daring, or audacious. The more significant and high-profile the thefts, the greater the infamy.
  3. Impact
    The overall impact of the thief's actions, such as the value of stolen goods or cultural artifacts. The broader consequences, such as financial loss, historical significance, or social disruption, can also be considered.
  4. Historical Legacy
    The lasting impact and influence the thief had on subsequent thieves, popular culture, or criminal methodology. This includes the thief's portrayal in books, movies, or other media.
  5. Skill and Technique
    The level of sophistication, skill, and ingenuity displayed by the thief. This includes their ability to evade capture, plan and execute thefts, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  6. Notable Heists
    The thief's involvement in well-known or exceptional thefts. This can include robberies of museums, major banks, high-security locations, or valuable items with significant historical or cultural importance.
  7. Escape and Capture
    The manner in which the thief evaded capture or, conversely, how they were finally apprehended. Whether through cunning escapes or dramatic arrests, these factors can contribute to fame.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous thief of all time. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or thief is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 183 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each thief once every 24 hours. The rank of each thief is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous thief of all time

Background Information: Who is the Most Famous Thief of All Time? Throughout history, there have been countless famous thieves who have captured the imagination of people all over the world. From Robin Hood to Bonnie and Clyde, these notorious criminals have become legends in their own right, inspiring books, movies, and even songs. One of the most famous thieves of all time is undoubtedly the Frenchman Arsène Lupin. Created by author Maurice Leblanc in 1905, Lupin is a gentleman thief who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, much like Robin Hood. He is known for his wit, charm, and cunning, and has become a beloved character in French literature. Another famous thief is Vincenzo Peruggia, who famously stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911. The theft shocked the world and made headlines for years, and Peruggia became an instant celebrity. Despite being caught and serving time in prison, he remained a folk hero in his native Italy. Of course, there are also infamous thieves who are reviled rather than revered. Jesse James, for example, was a notorious outlaw who robbed banks and trains throughout the American Midwest in the late 1800s. He and his gang became the stuff of legend, but their violent crimes left a trail of devastation in their wake. Whether they are loved or loathed, famous thieves have captured our imaginations for centuries. Their daring heists, clever disguises, and larger-than-life personalities continue to fascinate us, and their stories

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