Best Cities for Thieves

With the video game Thief out this week, we ponder the most thief-friendly places to live.

Thief, the video game where you take on the role of a master thief named Garrett, is out today. While the game takes place in an ambiguous place called “The City” (how creative), it got us thinking about the places we’d most like to live if we had Garrett’s skill set of picking locks, stealthy takedowns, and generally existing in the shadows while stealing loads of loot hand over fist. Once we got our diploma from Master Thief school (that’s a thing, right?), our first plane ticket would be to any one of these exotic locales, where we’d proceed to rob everyone and everything blind.


The elite playground, money-laundering paradise of Dubai would be stop number one on our Master Thief tour de force, and we’d steal everything that wasn’t bolted down. Super cars, stacks of cash, jewels, art collections…we’ll take all of it. The best part is that we wouldn’t even feel the least bit bad since it is rumored that most of the money in Dubai comes from Afghanistan, where 90% of the world’s heroin is grown. Stealing from there would make us half Robin Hood and half Captain America, and that’s a mix we could certainly live with.


The Nevada Gaming Commission requires every casino in Vegas to back up all of the bets it takes on a 1:1 ratio (probably the only part of the Ocean’s movies that wasn’t total bullshit). That means the average 150 million bucks that gets gambled in Vegas per day is also stashed down below. We’re not saying you could get away with robbing a Vegas casino without some insanely intricate plan full of misdirection and serious technology, but, if we were master thieves, Vegas would still be high on our “To Do” list.


Home to the Louvre and other impressive museums and art collections, Paris might not actually be the most lucrative city for a thief to reside, nor would it be a place we’d want to live; but it’s certainly a place where you could earn the credibility to be called a “master” thief. Hell, we’d rob the Louvre just to hurt the nationalistic pride of that one jerk waiter on Rue Saint-Honoré who corrected our pronunciation of “Rue Saint-Honoré.” We tried our best – now go get us a cafe au lait, garçon.

New York City

Yeah, we all saw Die Hardwith a Vengeance and know there’s billions of dollars in gold in the New York Federal Reserve. In case you didn’t have dump trucks on hand (or an army of German mercenaries to drive them) or an Office Space-type scheme to take the leftover pennies from every one of the NYSE’s transactions, we could always go cat burglar on any one of NYC’s wealthy residents…or try to steal tomorrow’s auction offerings at Sotheby’s…or knock over any number of the stores in the 47th Street Diamond District. As thieves, we’d really heart NY.


Unless your name is Nicolas Cage and you’re trying to steal priceless pieces of American History, Boston doesn’t really have the appeal of the other places on this list. So why is it here? Because Massachusetts has the most lenient penalties for burglary in the USA. That translates to a little over three years of jail time for the average burglary in Massachusetts versus a whopping 13+ years in South Dakota (the harshest in the USA, according to a 2008 poll). At the very least, we’d nab Paul Revere’s hat just to spice up things in the bedroom but, mostly, because we could.

Vatican City

The Vatican is estimated to have holdings of over $15 billion, and that’s pretty much all just real estate and stock holdings. Never mind the absolutely priceless art collection that actually resides within its walls. Any number of the pieces from Renaissance oil paintings to Middle Age tapestries would fetch eight figures. Stealing an armful of art from the Vatican would set you up (and your children, and their children) for life and then some. Bonus points if you make your escape in the Popemobile (which is worth over half a million bucks itself).


We barely know how to pronounce the name of this country (it sounds like “cutter” if our more worldly friends are to be believed), but that wouldn’t stop us from going there with the sole intention of robbing their royal family blind. Between their art collection, which includes Cézanne’s Card Players (valued at $259 million) and a car collection full of rare, Turquois one-off Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, and other miscellaneous supercars, we’d treat Qatar like our candy store if we were a master thieves – harsh consequences be damned.


New York City might have a Diamond District, but Antwerp is the diamond district to the world, where most of the world’s diamonds go to get cut. Living in Antwerp as a thief would be like the first five minutes of the movie Snatchevery single day. Now we just need to find a cousin named Avi to whom we could unload our haul.