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Wilhelm Gerhard was bored. Two years of hiding from the American authorities for a grievous deed he pulled off in the U.S. Capitol, left him anxious to scheme new plans for wealth enhancement. First, the tricky heist of diamonds from an armored car outside the Amsterdam Branch of the Bank of China, then the greatest book robbery ever—he shamelessly stole the famed Gutenberg Bible from a museum in Mainz. His unique get-a-way on a Rhine river ship full of American tourists left the police searching in circles.

But Gerhard wasn’t the only one with ideas and an interest in money. Margaret and John Kawalski, retired Detroit school teachers, needed money to stay above the poverty line. They also had an ingenious plan to steal diamonds in Amsterdam, lift the valuable Gutenberg, and hide out on a river tour ship—but they were unsure how to go about robbing and completely unqualified as antiquities experts.