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Before we discuss the top 10 heists of all time, let's decide what qualifies as a heist. A heist is a crime with a large amount of money, jewelry, art or other valuables stolen. Heists are well-planned crimes that often involve outlandish schemes. Let's look at the top 10 heists of all time. 1. Butch Cassidy and the "Sundance Kid" Though it didn't involve a huge amount of money, it's hard to beat the notoriety of our first heist. In 1889, Butch Cassidy & the "Sundance Kid", with their gang known as the Wild Bunch, hijacked a Union Pacific train near Wilcox, Wyoming. By the time the dust settled, they had blown up several train cars and a bridge. They escaped with about $60,000 in cash and bonds. 2. Allen Pace In 1997, Allen Pace, a Regional Safety Inspector, let five accomplices into a vault at a Dunbar Armored Car facility in Los Angeles California. They escaped with $19 million in cash. The police eventually arrested all six thieves, but $10 million of the money was never recovered. 3. Banco Central in Brazil The 2005 robbery of the Banco Central in Brazil was a classic heist, involving a complex scheme. A gang of thieves posing as landscapers rented a house two blocks from the bank, then dug a 255-foot underground tunnel. They broke into the vault on a Friday, but the theft wasn't discovered until the following Monday when nearly $70 million turned up missing. 4. Great Train Robbery of 1963 Another famous is heist was the Great Train Robbery of 1963, perpetrated by a gang of 15 men who tampered with railway signals to stop a Royal Mail Traveling Post Office train. They escaped with $74 million, most of which was never recovered. 5. Drumlanrig Castle Robbery The Drumlanrig Castle Robbery of 2003 was a daring heist, involving four men posing as tourists. Threatening the guards with an ax, they made off with the Leonardo da Vinci painting, Madonna of the Yarnwinder; which was worth around $40 million. 6. School of Turin In 2003, a group of criminals known as the "School of Turin" broke into the vault at the Antwerp Diamond Centre in Belgium. Three years before the crime, the mastermind Leonardo Notarbartolo rented an office in the building, giving him 24-hour access. These thieves escaped with $100 million worth of uncut diamonds, gold, and other jewelry. 7. Pink Panthers In 2008, four men dressed as women walked into the Harry Winston diamond store in Paris. Once inside, they threatened employees with a hand grenade. These men, known as the "Pink Panthers," escaped with a whopping $108 million worth of jewelry. 8. Gardner Art Museum One of the most lucrative art robberies of all time was the 1995 theft at the Gardner Art Museum in Boston. Two men posing as police officers duped the guards into letting them into the building. They escaped with several paintings, worth about $300 million. 9. D.B. Cooper Comparatively speaking, $200,000 isn't a lot of money, but it's difficult to match the audacity of D.B. Cooper. D.B. hijacked a plane in 1971, claiming that he had a bomb in his briefcase. After receiving his money, he parachuted out over Washington State. He was never found, making his case one of the great unsolved crimes of all time. 10. The Mona Lisa Without a doubt, the greatest heist of all time is Vincenzo Peruggia's theft of the Mona Lisa. Vincenzo hid in the Louvre overnight, then walked out with the painting hidden under his smock. He hid the painting in his apartment for two years, but was captured when he tried to sell it. The Mona Lisa is worth around $700 million, making this robbery the most lucrative of all time.
Different home security companies will have different approaches to producing, distributing, installing, and monitoring their systems. For the sake of this comparison, Best Company took two well-known home security companies that have different approaches and compared their services according to our criteria. Here's what you need to know: Professional Installation vs. DIY Installation Vivint is well-known for teams of orange-clad representatives canvassing neighborhoods, pitching potential clients on security systems that will protect their homes while offering robust smart home features. When you sign a Vivint contract, the representative will set an appointment to have a professional installer come to your home. From that point on, your home is professionally monitored 24/7 for burglars, fires, floods, and carbon monoxide. On the other hand, Protect America doesn't have any of these door-to-door representatives or in-person professional installers. Instead, you select a package from the company's website and the company mails the system directly to your door. From that point, you're free to install the system yourself or call a customer service representative to walk you through the process. Protect America systems also feature the same professional 24/7 monitoring as Vivint. Clearly, these companies have different approaches to distribution and installation, but what about everything else? Monthly Price Vivint prefers to quote you a monthly price, but the company website does indicate that monthly fees start at $39.99. However, this is a little high compared to some of the top-ranked companies in the industry. When you want to add home automation features, it'll cost you extra. Protect America features packages that start at $19.99 per month for any consumer—one of the lowest price tags in the industry. This package is the most basic of systems with just a few door/window sensors and a landline connection, but this may be acceptable for consumers who just want the basics. Upfront Fees Neither Vivint nor Protect America feature any installation or activation fees. This is encouraging, considering that many home security companies will charge hundreds of dollars in activation and installation fees. Contract Length Vivint features a 60-month contract, so make sure you've read every inch of the fine print before you sign on the dotted line. If you need to move your system within the contract length, Vivint also charges a hefty move fee. On the other hand, Protect America works on a 36-month contract. If you want to cancel your services before the expiration date on the contract, you must pay the remaining balance upfront with both companies. Monitoring Options For any reputable home security company, your system will be monitored day and night by certified staff through a landline, broadband, or cellular connection. However, not all companies offer all of these options. Vivint only operates based on a wireless/broadband connection. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if the internet goes down at your house, so does your home security system. If you're considering installing a security system at your remote cabin in the woods, Vivint might not be your best option. Protect America features packages in all three of these monitoring options. The landline packages are the least expensive, but broadband and cellular options are available at about $20/month extra, and these are the plans that feature home automation options. Depending on whether you want just the bare basics or the extra goodies, you'll pay a different fee. Equipment/Tech Vivint Features: SkyControl Panel Vivint Sky App Monthly Professional Monitoring Smoke Detectors Motion Detectors Window/Door Sensors Doorbell Camera (extra cost) Element Thermostat (extra cost) Kwikset Smart Locks (extra cost) Amazon Echo Compatability (extra cost) Vivint Ping Camera (extra cost) Linear Garage Door Control (extra cost) Light Controls (extra cost) Protect America Features: Touchscreen Control Panel Mobile App Monthly Professional Monitoring Smoke Detectors (extra cost) Motion Detector Window/Door Sensors Smart Locks (extra cost) HD Wireless Video Camera (extra cost) Amazon Echo Compatability (extra cost) Light Controls (extra cost) As you can see, the biggest difference is that Vivint's features are arguably more robust, but Protect America features very similar applications at a slightly lower price tag. Vivint will definitely win in this category, but that's only if you decide you want all the bells and whistles and not just the bells. Customer Feedback Unfortunately, Vivint customer feedback is plagued with dissatisfaction. Most customer reviews reflect experiences involving pushy sales reps and lackluster customer service, especially when it comes to canceling services or relocating your system. There are plenty of reviews that speak highly of the customer service and the quality of the systems, so it appears as though positive experiences with Vivint Home Security are hit-and-miss depending on the representative you work with. As of the time this article is being written, Vivint has a customer score of 3.7 out of 10 based on 87 customer reviews. On the other hand, Protect America's customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Based on over 700 reviews, the company has an overall score of 8.8 out of 10. Many customers comment on the easily-installed system, low prices, and helpful customer representatives. Overall The Vivint Breakdown: Leading home automation features Professional installation Lackluster customer experiences Slightly higher prices The Protect America Breakdown: Low, upfront pricing plans DIY installation with step-by-step help Exceptional customer experiences Competitive home automation features The deciding factors in this comparison are prices, customer service, installation, and home automation features. Protect America clearly has the upper hand when it comes to pricing; its basic system costs half the price of Vivint's basic system and still features professional monitoring. However, Vivint has a slightly wider array of home automation features, if you're willing to pay the difference. Protect America's installation is do-it-yourself and features helpful customer reps to help you through the process, but Vivint will take care of the entire installation process for you. Lastly, Protect America's customer service experiences are noticeably better than Vivint's, even if service is hardly ever in person. For a list of the best home security companies operating in your state, click here.
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