True Stories
173 voters

Places That Are Surprisingly Easy to Sneak Into

Updated January 4, 2018 621 votes 173 voters 14.2k views16 items

List RulesVote up the places you think you could probably sneak into (if you wanted to).

There's a certain bias many people have; let's call it "the illusion of safety." That is, believing things they think should be secure actually are. In some cases, that belief is so strong nobody even bothers to make it illegal to, say, sneak into a very important building, like a King or Queen's palace. It's just kind of assumed that would never happen.

Sure, we'd all like to believe it takes some combination of Danny Ocean and Tom Cruise to get into our most "secure" facilities, like the White House. But many times, a little bit of patience, a lot of bravery, and an axe will do just fine.

If history has taught us anything, it's that there's no such thing as truly "safe" or "secure." One determined person can make mincemeat of the best-laid defenses. It takes an entire forge to make chain mail, but a single arrow to find its weakness. That's how people can sneak into a building like a nuclear power plant. Here is a list of people and groups that broke into places you'd never believe it was possible to gain access to - with minimal effort.
  • 1

    Red Square (During the Cold War)

    Photo: brando.n / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    In 1987, a daring young lad from West Germany had a brilliantly suicidal idea: to end the Cold War by flying his tiny Cessna airplane into Russian airspace, landing right in the middle of Red Square and giving the Russians and NATO something to talk about. And he did it.

    Despite flying right through the Iron Curtain, supposedly some of the most heavily defended airspace in the world, and fully expecting to be shot down by a squadron of MiGs, 19-year-old Mathias Rust piloted his small plane right to the Kremlin's front door and landed in Red Square like he owned it. People were fired. And by "fired," we mean "shot." Mathias did succeed in a way, too; at the very least, his infiltration proved that Russia was nowhere near the dominant military power it still played at being, and Gorbachev "tore down that wall" a short time later.  
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    Does this seem easy?
  • 2

    10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister's House)

    Photo: David / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Say what you will about the Brits, but they do put a lot of faith in their people. So much so that in 2008, a burglar convicted of theft 78 times simply walked into the PM's house right through the front door. He arrived with his Lithuanian girlfriend, who quickly flashed her Lithuanian ID card to the guards. Assuming the couple to be poorly dressed foreign dignitaries, the guards let them in. The two walked from office to office, shoving stuff in their pockets. As you do. They were finally caught, but the couple isn't in prison, and the guards still have their jobs. So... cool?
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  • 3

    Nuclear Power Stations

    Photo: cyocum / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Nuclear terrorism is a horrifying idea - and it doesn't require a Russian warhead bought on the black market. Greenpeace protesters proved that twice, once in 2003 and once in 2010, when they broke into two separate nuclear power plants using nothing more than a pair of wire-cutters.

    On the first occasion, the tie-dye wearing Greenpeace terrorists made it all the way to the central control room of England's Sizewell B nuclear plant. They repeated the feat in Sweden a few years later, while wearing giant windmill costumes.
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  • 4

    Scottish Castles

    Photo: neil roger / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    Castles are designed to be invasions-proof - that is kind of the point of them, right? Sure, we have all kinds of modern weapons that could level any sort of fortification now, but certainly a castle would be the ideal location to protect valuable works of art against guys with an axe. Yeah, you'd think. But in 2003, Drumlangrig Castle in Scotland was broken into by four gentlemen wielding weapons that dated back to earlier than the castle itself. They stole several precious works of art, including a da Vinci masterpiece entitled "Madonna of Yarnwinder." Valued at about $40 million, it was eventually recovered by the rightful owners.
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    Does this seem easy?