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->'''Gru:''' We stole the Statue of Liberty...
->''[the minions cheer]''
->'''Gru:''' The small one from UsefulNotes/LasVegas.
->''[cheering stops]''
->'''Gru:''' I won't even mention the Eiffel Tower... also Vegas.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe''

As a way to prove their [[{{Criminal}} thieving]] credentials, the best ImpossibleTheft is to steal something '''''HUGE'''''.

Thefts of this trope come from characters who set their sights high, higher than would be even feasible: why raid an {{Ancient Egypt}}ian tomb if you could steal ''the pyramid in which the treasure is buried''? Sunken pirate ship? No problem, just pilfer ''the entire body of water under which it's trapped''. Even if it's anchored to the Earth's core, or ''is'' the Earth's core, and there's no possible way someone could steal it ''without'' drawing attention. That is the Monumental Theft.

It may be considered the inverse to the SisterTrope, IntangibleTheft. While an Intangible Theft of the moon's gravity would cause tidal problems here on Earth, people can still see the moon itself in the sky. A monumental theft describes stealing the moon, so that no-one can find it. Both tropes are a type of ImpossibleTheft.


[[folder:Carmen Sandiego]]
* As the TropeCodifier and a character appearing in VideoGames, LiveActionTV and WesternAnimation, ''Franchise/CarmenSandiego'' has stolen numerous things that should be otherwise impossible to steal. Her villainy ranged from "stealing something just to prove she could" to "stealing something that would cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt."
** The Moon, [[NoEndorHolocaust damage to the Earth be damned]]. Maybe she stole the damage too?
** Countries.
** TheBermudaTriangle. She probably made it get lost in itself.
** The Ozone Layer. According to the Chief it has caused a worldwide disaster (of course the detectives are on the advice of the Chief wearing SPF 9 Zillion Sunblock so that they can track down and arrest Robocrook before the environment gets any worse).
** The frickin' Milky Way Galaxy. [[FridgeLogic Theoretically, that means she stole Earth as well.]]
** The World Trade Center towers. Needless to say, that one's [[FunnyAneurysmMoment a whole lot less whimsical seeming now]].
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3O66Uuayn8&list=PLEEC10AB6D9832C64 The Roman Forum.]]
** In "The Case of the Unsolved Crime", Carmen and henchman Sam O'Nella steal the Pantheon from Rome, Italy. However Carmen, punishing Sam for a past betrayal, ditches him immediately after the heist, leaving him with a thousand-ton stone monument of a white elephant. Sam unsuccessfully tries to sell the stone to be used in paper-weights before being caught.
** ''WesternAnimation/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'' worked hard to make Carmen Sandiego's seemingly outrageous crimes semi-plausible in their execution. True to herself, she always commits her crimes just to prove she can, and allows the stolen goods to be recovered once the theft's been accomplished.
*** The opening credits have her stealing a Chinese stone lion, The Sphynx, and the Statue of Liberty in rapid succession.
*** A plan to make her the most famous crook in time by stealing the Roman Colosseum from Ancient Rome, deals with stolen miniature landmarks, ACME's first Chronoskimmer, a bust of a Roman leader, a electric magnet from the future, and Hannibal's elephants.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Issac and Miria from ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}!'' style themselves as Monumental Thieves. However, their ambition is offset by one simple fact: they are... [[CloudCuckoolander mentally interesting]]. (For example, they once attempted to steal all of History itself... by stealing the front step of a museum, rendering it impossible to enter. Another theft saw them attempt to steal from the very Earth itself... by mining for gold. For nine months. In a cave that had no prior history of ever yielding gold.)
* ''Anime/{{FLCL}}'' has Atomsk the Pirate King.
** He is said to have stolen entire solar systems.
** In ''[=FLCLimax=]'', he takes the Medical Mechanica building.
* ''Characters/LupinIII''.
** He'll sometimes steal things just to prove that he ''can.'' He once stole ''The Statue of Liberty''.
** He once stole the Cristo Redentor[[note]]the giant statue of Jesus in Rio[[/note]] - ''because he needed someplace to hold the cash from the main heist of the episode''.
** In one movie alone he stole a submarine, a large nuclear fuel source, a space shuttle, and a satellite full of money.
** In another he started a legitimate company by stealing oil from a rival company's well.
** A subversion occurs in ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'', [[spoiler: the treasure of the Cagliostro family is a lost and almost perfectly preserved Roman city which was hidden beneath the lake in which the castle rests.]] Lupin admits that it's the greatest and most valuable thing he's ever encountered, but it's simply too big for his pocket.
* In episode 5 of ''Anime/SpacePatrolLuluco'' [[spoiler: [[SpacePirates Luluco's mother]] steals the entire city of Ogikubo and puts it up for sale on the black market.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/TheBlackKnight'': ''Le Chevalier Noir'' (The Black Knight) in Creator/DonRosa's [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Scrooge McDuck]] stories is a GentlemanThief who might pull one off, now and then. At one point, he steals a whole viking ship, whilst ''completely naked''. Even he recognized the impossibility of swiping Scrooge's whole fortune, though, so he planned to disintegrate it instead. Scrooge doesn't find him as honorable as he claims to be, however, because he pulls off such heists [[{{pride}} to boost his ego]], even calling the press beforehand and telling them where to be to cover the story.
* Creator/DCComics:
** ''{{ComicBook/Batman}}'' villain Dr Tzin-Tzin once stole the Sphinx and hid it on the bottom of the ocean, for no adequately explained reason. Other than "because he ''Could!''"
** ''ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica'', during UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, has the Injustice Society holding a competition amongst its members to see who could steal the most impressive patriotic item. Targets included Old Ironsides (which is, at least, designed to be mobile), the Liberty Bell, Plymouth Rock, the Freedom Train and the Washington Monument! They then stole a stadium full of people to judge the winner.
** ''ComicBook/{{Superman}}''
*** The villain ComicBook/{{Brainiac}} will often use a shrink ray to steal cities. The Bottle City of Krandor is the one kryptonian city that Superman was able to take from him.
*** A story written in UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks has ComicBook/LexLuthor planting bombs in all the world's great monuments, and then he threatens to detonate them unless Superman would physically steal them for him. Supes does eventually find a way to disarm the bombs, but not before he has had to carry half the world's monuments to Luthor's hideout.
** ''ComicBook/{{Trinity}}'' has a group of villains performing ever-more elaborate thefts of items as part of a magical ritual. Amoung the items stolen are items related to the OriginStory to Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, including an entire street: (the space-plane rescued by Superman in his first public appearance, the clay Diana was made from, and Crime Alley). Ultimately they [[IntangibleTheft steal the heroes' status as The Trinity,]] the ''three most important people in the world'', resulting in history itself changing.
* The title character of the Italian comic ''ComicBook/{{Diabolik}}'' stole an ''enormous'' platinum disk, so great it took a train to move it... It was stolen [[TemptingFate just as a cop stated it was too big to steal]].
* ''ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse'': In his first incarnation Paperinik (Donald Duck's superhero-avenger of himself alter ego) steals huge amounts at once.
** He stole Scrooge's money-filled bed while he was sleeping on it in the very first story.
** In one story he faked a FaceHeelTurn caused by a supposed amnesia and ''stole half of Duckburg piece by piece'' (at that point the police just gave up and started playing with flowers), and gave it back once he had dismantled the criminal organization he had set to infiltrate.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/GloriousShotgunPrincess'', [[spoiler: Kasumi Goto]] is a Sidereal Exalted and she steals a villain's house.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe'':
** Before the film, Gru has stolen [[Franks2000InchTV the Times Square Jumbo-tron]], the Statue of Liberty ("The small one, from Las Vegas"), and the Eiffel Tower ("Also from Vegas").
** One of Gru's rival villains is able to completely remove one of the Pyramids of Giza and replace it with an inflatable model without anyone noticing.
** Gru's notion of revenge is to concoct a plan to steal ''the moon''. (Admittedly after shrinking it to the size of a basketball.)

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The plot of ''Film/MenInBlack'' hinges on an entire ''galaxy'' being captured by war-inclined alien bugs. (Of course, since it's a microcosmic galaxy about the size of a marble, this is not as difficult as one might think)
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries''
** In ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'', Magneto takes the Golden Gate Bridge and relocates it to Alcatraz.
** In ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', Magneto steals a stadium.
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'' has Indy find an entrance to catacombs under Venice by reading Roman numerals inscribed on columns looted from the Byzantine Empire's capital Constantinople during the Crusades.

* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Fred Colon justifies hanging around various Ankh-Morpork landmarks rather than going on an actual beat by the fact that he is guarding them against such grandiose thieves. This is made more impressive due to the fact many major landmarks were designed by Bloody Stupid Johnson, and are thus rather small.
*** In spite of this, Unseen University did get stolen once, but that was just a student prank.
*** As did the Brass Bridge. One wonders if Colon is really up to the job.
** In ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'', Cohen the Barbarian stole [[spoiler:a country]] by going to the throne room [[RefugeInAudacity and saying it was his.]]
* In ''[[Literature/{{Dortmunder}} Bank Shot]]'', Dortmunder and his crew steal a bank. (It was a temporary branch established in a mobile home, but even so, it shows some serious ambition.)
* Frenchman in ''Literature/{{Englishman}}'' has a habit of stealing landmarks from other countries and relocating them to Paris.
* ''Literature/LineOfDelirium'':
** Curtis van Curtis owns a lot of land on Terra where parts of his enormous palace are located (connected by portals). When walking through it, Kay notes a circular collection of standing stones, likely Stonehenge, right near van Curtis's wartime ship.
** Lyka Seiker's bath chamber is topped by the Art/SistineChapel's painted ceiling. She reflects that the reclining figure on the central panel always reminds her of Kay.

[[folder:Live-Action Television]]
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'': In "Stealing Home", the CSI team investigate when an entire house is stolen.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In the episode "The Stolen Earth"... well, you can guess.
** And in "Smith and Jones", the entire Royal Hope Hospital is transported to the Moon.
* One episode of ''Series/MichaelBentinesPottyTime'' had someone stealing Nelson's Column, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. It turned out he had only removed them so he could have them cleaned as gifts to the respective governments.
* ''Series/MiraiSentaiTimeranger'' start BigBad ''stealing the prison'' instead of just breaking out the criminals they wanted as henchmen.
** Also happens in its adaptation, ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce''
* Creator/SarahSilverman's show: After discovering that [[DivineRaceLift God is black]] (as in the race, not the color), Creator/SarahSilverman snarks that she's cool with it and ''not'' one of those racists who would wonder if a black God is going to steal the Moon (heavily implying she is EXACTLY that kind of racist). Then again, since God is....well, God, that might actually put the scenario above and beyond this trope.
* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', the Asgard have been known to remove entire Goa'uld pyramids and armies of Jaffa by beaming them up and not bothering to reintegrate them again afterwards. They've also used this to borrow the Stargate more than once, and one one occasion, pilfer all of the [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking food stores]] present in Cheyenne Mountain! Really, it's gotten to the point where [[BigGood Thor]] seems to be doing this simply [[{{Troll}} for his own amusement]]!
* Objects stolen on ''Series/{{Banacek}}'' have included a 3 ton sculpture, and and an immobilized DC-8 jetliner.
* ''Series/MadamSecretary'' season 3 has Henry [=McCord=] tracking statues of the Twelve Apostles stolen from the Monastery of St. Gabriel in Algeria by the Islamic terrorist group Hizb al-Shaheed ([[FictionalCounterpart a stand-in for Daesh]]) before they blew it up.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'': The Sidereals have ''Neighbourhood Relocation Scheme'' at the peak of their Dodge Charm tree. This allows them to move regions of Creation anywhere from four to ten miles in radius, including terrain, habitations, and people, as far as they can run in a few hours ([[SuperSpeed including movement enhancements from Charms]]). [[CelestialBureaucracy Doing so without proper authorization paperwork filled is grounds for an audit.]] It should be noted that the prerequisite Charms are [[IWasNeverHere the cheaper of the two]] [[RetCon Sidereal Perfect Defenses]] and [[CombatAndSupport a Charm that lets you use your Dodge Charms on other people]], so taking it is easy to justify regardless of whatever else your life choices entail.
* High-Aspect miracles in ''TabletopGame/{{Nobilis}}'' can allow the player characters to steal, for example, historic buildings. Aspect 9 goes so far as to give you temporary mastery of a "Superior Historic Building Thief" Skill, for when you desperately need to put the White House, the Washington Monument, ''and'' the Lincoln Memorial all in Spokane for whatever reason.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* In ''Ride/TheAmazingAdventuresOfSpiderMan'' at Creator/UniversalStudios, Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Syndicate, with the aid of a levitation gun, steal the Statue of Liberty. They state that unless NYC surrenders themselves to them, they will destroy it. This thus propels forth the ride's storyline.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/EvilGenius'' eventually allows you to develop a shrink ray. Afterward, it becomes a mission goal to steal the Eiffel Tower.
* ''VideoGame/TachyonTheFringe'' has a side quest wherein the player, a freelance starfighter, escorts a ship carrying the roof of the Sistine Chapel and protects it from a baron's forces (their master hoping to steal it so they can humiliate another baron in the region).
* ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesTurtlesInTime'' starts with Krang piloting a massive exosuit and stealing the Statue of Liberty on live television.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMario64'', Bowser manages to uproot Princess Peach's castle and lift it into the sky, using his own castle (presumably burrowed into the ground and moved over).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'', players might notice that the Earth's Moon is missing. It is revealed during The Second Dream that [[spoiler:The Lotus teleported it into the Void, to protect the Tenno during the Old War.]]
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' backstory, Rajhin, the legendary [[CatFolk Khajiiti]] ImpossibleThief, is credited with stealing the [[OurElvesAreBetter Bosmeri]] "migrating city" of Falinesti. It remained missing for several years before mysteriously returning on its own.

* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': In Othar's Twitter, he was at one point asked to help after the Louvre had gone missing. It turns out that [[spoiler:it had been stolen using a shrink-ray and hidden inside a cake in a refrigerator, because shrunken objects expand when heated]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Megatokyo}}'': Yuki [[http://www.megatokyo.com/strip/1061 stole a zilla.]] That is, a [[{{Kaiju}} Godzilla analogue]].
* The Brotherhood of Evil Henchmen, in the ''Webcomic/{{Nodwick}}'' comic, attempted to become a whole society of Monumental Thieves dedicated to the service of others. They abducted Nodwick, whose henchman "special power" is the ability to haul titanic weights around like other people would their luggage, and tried to get him to reveal the secrets of his amazing cargo-hauling strength. As their own "power" is the discovery and acquisition of small and rare items (magical artifacts, abnormal brains, etc.) for their masters, they hoped to make themselves even more powerful by being able to haul off whole arcane libraries instead of a single magic tome, or sealed buildings full of forbidden artifacts instead of having to break in just for the magic sword. They finally gave up when Nodwick proved to be too much trouble to keep contained for interrogation, and realized that someone's more likely to notice a whole building gone missing long before a book.
* It doesn't actually happen in-story, but the main characters of ''Webcomic/ExterminatusNow'' propose a hypothetical scenario in which ComicBook/TheRiddler leaves a clue with no answers, culminating in Batman's detective work being interrupted by a news broadcast in which the Riddler steals the moon.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Taken UpToEleven in ''WesternAnimation/TheTwistedTalesOfFelixTheCat'' episode "The Earth Heist", where the '''entire planet Earth''' is deflated like a balloon and stolen by a giant spaceship belonging to an intergalactic repo company.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CatDog'', the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower were seen inside [[spoiler:a crocodile]], along with [[spoiler:the real Golden Hydrant]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{COPS}}'': As a birthday present for Big Boss, Berserko tried to steal the Cornucopia Bridge, by inflating the world's largest balloon and blowing up the supports. The C.O.P.S. stop him before he can fire the explosives so we don't see the bridge fly, but their reaction upon seeing the huge balloon inflated inside the bridge says that [[RealityEnsues it wouldn't work]].
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': An one-shot villain, Lilliput, steals Saint Canard's skyline while Darkwing's back is (literally) turned. (With a shrink ray)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** In one episode the crew visits Monument Beach, where a character mentions that New New York had a "super villain mayor" who stole several landmarks, such as the Sphinx and the Eiffel Tower, and put them on the beach at Coney Island.
** In the aptly named movie, ''Bender's Big Score'', Bender steals ''everything''. Items seen include the Mona Lisa (incomplete), Tutankahmen's death mask, and what has to be the True Cross.
* In one episode of ''Super Chicken'' (part of ''WesternAnimation/GeorgeOfTheJungle''), the villain stole the state of Rhode Island, by towing it out to sea, and hiding it under smog.
* The ''WesternAnimation/HoppityHooper'' episode "Colonel Clabber--Limburger Cheese Statue" featured a villain who was stealing the world's great landmarks and having them transported to his estate because he was unable to travel to see them.
* In the short-lived series ''WesternAnimation/{{Inhumanoids}}'', Metlar had what was likely the craziest motive for stealing the Statue of Liberty - he ''fell in love with it!''. (Maybe it makes sense a little, seeing as he was a giant monster made of living metal.) Even crazier, once he brings Lady Liberty to life, she's surprisingly accepting of it, but nags him relentlessly, working him even harder than his former slave-driving master Sslither did. Eventually, he decides to de-animate her and return her to her pedestal after getting sick of it.
* ''WesternAnimation/KidsNextDoor'': A one-shot villain shrank and captured monuments - ''and'' his rival, Numbuh 2 - to defeat him in a spectacular mini-golf (''"[[InsistentTerminology It's miniature golf!]]"'') game, also causing ''the planet'' to shrink so he could play a galactic golf game. Really.
* In the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', Drakken steals an entire toy factory.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLooneyTunesShow'' episode "Eligible Bachelors", Colonel Frankenheimer attempts to steal the Eiffel Tower by hooking it to a zeppelin and flying it to Germany.
* "The Once and Future Thing Part Two" of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited'' featured Lord Chronos stealing historic landmarks from throughout space and time. And displaying them in the streets of Neo Gotham. This included, among others, the Titanic, the Sphinx, and the Colosseum.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' has an episode where Doofenshmirtz steals the Eiffel Tower, among other things, by shrinking them.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has Snake steal the entire Kwik-E-Mart. "I'm taking this thing to Mexico!" It ''was'' left unguarded at the time.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretShow'' episode "Monument Racing" involves two mischievous scientists using experimental "weird little motor thingies" to uproot and ''race'' several monuments in the air. While U.Z.Z. works to put a stop to it, everyone else bets on which monument will be the winner.
* 1973/74 ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends'' episode "Menace of the White Dwarf". The super villain Raven uses a fragment of a white dwarf star to steal the Washington Monument.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TotallySpies'' featured a villain who used a shrink ray to steal several monuments (i.e. the Taj Mahal and Mount Rushmore).
* In the original series ''WesternAnimation/{{Transformers}}'' episode 'Thief In The Night', the Decepticon Trypticon steals several famous landmarks - including Fort Knox, the Taj Mahal, the St. Basil's Cathedral (mistakenly called 'the Kremlin') and the Eiffel Tower) in return for large supplies of high-quality fuel from the fictional nation Carbombya. The heists were neither very well-planned nor particularly cunningly performed: he basically just ''went there'' and pulled the buildings out of the ground before carrying them off (Trypticon is rather a large Transformer).
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'', a crooked travel agent who ends up getting the same [[RubberMan elastic powers]] as Dale uses his abilities to steal all the world's monuments for ransom. When the Rangers investigate his travel agency, Dale thinks the models of the monuments on his desk were the real things miniaturized.
* The [[LilliputianWarriors Fmeks]] tried this in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/MenInBlackTheSeries'', {{shrink|Ray}}ing and stealing several US monuments for the planet they were trying to re-create (as their own was destroyed by one of their schemes backfiring). These included the Statue of Liberty and the Yankee Stadium.
* An episode of the obscure ''WesternAnimation/GarbagePailKidsCartoon'' did this. The Kids are called upon to investigate the disappearance of a "garbage" version of Abraham Lincoln (called Wrinklin' Lincoln) from Mt. Rushmore. The culprit turns out to be a man who wants to put Wrinklin' Lincoln's head on an incomplete Egyptian Sphinx using "crazy-paste" glue.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' has [[http://www.cracked.com/article_17090_wheres-bridge-7-biggest-things-ever-stolen.html the 7 biggest things ever stolen.]]
* Police in Jamaica have been baffled by a beach theft. What was stolen? It wasn't some random beachgoer's valuables, and it wasn't some easily-resalable asset. It was [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7678379.stm the beach itself.]]
* [[http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=100140&in_page_id=2 Bridge outside Cheb, Czech Republic, discovered missing]]. Fifth such bridge to disappear in East Europe in last year. Reward offered. Culprit may also be hiding other bridges from [[http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=9004439 New Zealand or Poland]].
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amber_Room The Amber Room]] of Tsarskoe Selo, Saint Petersburg. Originally constructed in Prussia, and then presented by William I to UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat as a gift. During the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII German invasion of Soviet Union]], German soldiers disassembled the Amber Room and relocated it in Könisberg (today Kaliningrad). Since Könisberg has been heavily bombed towards the end of the war, the fate of the room is still unknown and in the 70s the Soviet government decided to construct a replica.
* [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/07/pennsylvania-bridge-theft_n_1001124.html A bridge also went missing]] in North Beaver Township, Pennsylvania. A story just about made for [[http://www.youtube.com/user/TVsCraigFerguson?blend=1&ob=5#p/c/0EE4FC52DD92F112/0/eXfYPIw_iwQ late night comedy]].
* A particular [[http://www.snopes.com/autos/theft/carthief.asp urban legend]] celebrates this type of thief: a man chains his shiny new car to the ground with padlocks in an effort to prevent it being stolen, and finds it the next morning still securely locked under the chains... but ''facing the opposite direction''. Inside the car is a note: ''"If we want it, we'll take it."''