On May 9, 1671 Irish-born Colonel Thomas Blood (1618 - '80), disguised as a clergyman, attempted to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. He was immediately caught in the bungled heist.
Later, he was condemned to death and then mysteriously pardoned by King Charles II, even given land in Ireland worth £500 a year. It might have been that Blood convinced the king that there were other conspirators who would avenge the colonel's death. It has also been suggested that his action had the connivance of the king himself, because Charles was very short of money at the time.
The Crown Jewels have been kept at the Tower since 1303, when most of them were retrieved from the window of a London jeweller's shop after they were stolen from Westminster Abbey ...
(More at Wilson's Almanac Book of Days, May 9.