They say rats squeal when they are being hunted and nearing capture and they’re right.
None more so at present than the rat banksters and nowhere more so than on Wall Street. If you listen carefully you can hear them squeal even above the noise of the New York traffic.
And the reason for the squealing?
Only that federal authorities are at long last closing in on some of the worst culprits whose greed and contempt for their clients caused the financial crisis we have all be suffering from during the past decade and more.
But before you start clapping the feds on the back, let me say it is too little and too late. None of the banksters are likely to face jail sentences which is what they deserve for their crimes against the people.
However, it is something and these days that’s about the best you can hope for.
In terms of the numbers, the banksters are facing fines of something in the region of $63 billion.
Wow, listen to them squeal!
It seems like a lot of money – and it is a lot of money, it could keep all of us blogging away happily for the rest of our lives and then some. But put in the context of what the banksters defrauded their clients out of and what they lost it is just a pittance.
Putting the figures into context, J P Morgan Chase’s $13 billion mortgage settlement in November was probably some kind of record, but they issued more than $460 billion in mortgage securities.
To illustrate it in numbers people can relate to better, that’s like a thief stealing a thousand dollars from you and getting away with it if he paid you back $28.
I bet the amount of the settlement doesn’t seem so big now. Nor is it commensurate with the size of the crime. But that’s what they’ll probably get away with. And they’re not even grateful for this small smack on the wrist, hence all the squealing.
Just as a bit of a contrast to yesterday’s post, today I have ten stories, which are either about thieves who were smart enough to get away with it, or police who were too dumb to catch them.
The readers can make up their own minds.
1. Double Trouble
On Feb 25, 2009, three masked robbers boldly busted into Kaufhaus Des Westens, the second largest department store in Europe.
Via a rope ladder, the men were able to enter and ransack the main floor without tripping any sensors or alarms.
But what may have been a fatal error – leaving behind a single glove – ended up creating a bizarre situation.
DNA found on the glove matched TWO people: identical twins identified as Hassan and Abbas O.
German law however requires that each person be individually convicted and because their DNA is so similar, neither can be exclusively pinned to the evidence.
German police were forced to set them both free, and the third man has yet to be found.
. 2. The World’s Most Famous Fugitive
No, it’s not the one about Dr Richard Kimble trying to hunt down the one-armed man, although many readers may well be familiar with this story too which is about probably the world’s most famous fugitive.
On the night before Thanksgiving, November 24, 1971, a passenger by the name of Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, OR bound for Seattle.
Clad in a suit and raincoat, wearing dark glasses and carrying a briefcase, he sat silently in the back of the plane. After calmly lighting a cigarette (yes smoking was permitted in airplanes in those days), he ordered a whiskey from the stewardess and then handed her a note.
It read, ‘I HAVE A BOMB IN MY BRIEFCASE. I WILL USE IT IF NECESSARY. I WANT YOU TO SIT NEXT TO ME. YOU ARE BEING HIJACKED.’
He demanded $200,000 and four parachutes delivered to him in Seattle.
When the plane landed, he released all the passengers, save for the pilot, co-pilot, and stewardess.
Once the money was delivered in the middle of the brightly-lit tarmac, Cooper demanded the pilot take off for Mexico, flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Shortly after takeoff, over the mountains northwest of Portland, the six-foot-tall Cooper strapped on a parachute and jumped.
He was never heard from again.
Did he survive?
In 1980, roughly $6000 was found of the money in bundles on a beach, but no signs of a body.
The case remains open and is the only unsolved crime in US aviation history.
. 3. Cops And Robbers – Boston Style
On March 18, 1990, the day after Saint Patrick’s Day, policemen arrived at the door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, claiming to have received a call about a disturbance.
Breaking protocol, the security officer let them in.
One of the men said he had a warrant for the guard’s arrest, and they convinced him to step away from his post.
Bad move: the “policemen” were really criminals in disguise, and they quickly handcuffed him and ordered him to call the other guard to the front, who was also subdued.
The thieves absconded with 13 paintings, including masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas, worth a third of a billion dollars.
To this date, no one has been arrested in conjunction with the crime, nor have the paintings ever been recovered.
4. Cops And Robbers – Japanese Style
On December 10, 1968, in Tokyo, Japan, a Nihon Shintaku Ginko Bank car, transporting 300 million Yen ($817,000 US) in its trunk, was pulled over by a policeman on a motorcycle, who warned them of a bomb planted underneath.
Since there had already been bomb threats against the bank, the four passengers exited the vehicle as the uniformed patrolman inspected below the car.
Moments later, smoke and flames could be seen under the vehicle, causing the men to run for cover.
Of course, it turned out the smoke was from a flare and the cop was a phony.
He jumped in the car and sped off with the loot.
Even though there were 120 pieces of evidence, 110,000 suspects and 170,000 police investigators, the man was never caught.
In 1975, the statute of limitations ended, and in 1988 all civil liabilities were voided, but still no one ‘fessed up.
5. Diamonds Are Forever – Unless Someone Steals Them
The largest diamond heist in history was stolen from the world’s most impenetrable vault, located in Antwerp, Belgium.
Two floors below the Diamond Centre, it was protected by a lock with 100 million possible combinations, as well as heat/motion sensors, radar, magnetic fields, and a private security force.
However, on the weekend of Feb 15, using a series of moves that would make Danny Ocean jealous, the thieves were able to silently enter the vault, bust open the safe deposit boxes, and make off with the glittering loot.
And although the purported ring leader Leonardo Notarbartolo was caught and sentenced to 10 years, he has since been released on parole.
Notarbartolo claimed in an interview in Wired Magazine that the true take was only $20 million and was part of a larger conspiracy involving insurance fraud.
Whatever — the loot was never recovered.
6. The Disappearing $million
On Friday October 7, 1977, before Columbus Day Weekend, a bank worker counted $4 million dollars in cash and stored it in a locked money cart within a heavily guarded vault, two floors below the Chicago First National Bank.
Tuesday morning, the money is counted again, and exactly $1 million dollars – in $50 and $100 dominations and weighing over 80 pounds – had vanished into thin air.
In 1981, $2300 of the money showed up in a drug raid, but otherwise both the perpetrators and the cash are still at large.
7. The Pink Panthers
The winner for boldest burglary goes to the perpetrators of the so-called Harry Winston Heist.
On December 4, 2008, four men, three of whom wore long blonde wigs and disguised themselves as women, charmed their way into the famous Harry Winston Paris jewelry store just before closing time.
Once inside, they brandished a .357 revolver and a hand grenade and began their pillaging.
Less than 15 minutes later they escaped with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds worth an estimated $108 million US.
Investigators believe it to be the work of the notorious Serbian criminal gang The Pink Panthers, responsible for $132 million in robberies around the world.
They have never been caught.
Obviously the police needed Inspector Clouseau on the case.
8. Tucker Cross Or Double Cross?
The Tucker Cross, was named after diver Teddy Tucker who, in 1955, recovered it from the 1594 wreck of the San Pedro.
It was a 22-karat gold cross embedded with sparkling green emeralds and considered priceless.
Nonetheless, Tucker sold it to the Government of Bermuda for an undisclosed sum.
In 1975, the Cross was moved to the Bermuda Museum of Art to be displayed for Queen Elizabeth II.
No one knows when or how, but during this transition, a clever thief replaced the original with a cheap plastic replica.
Presumably, this historical artifact was melted down, stripped of its jewels, and funneled into the Black Market.
9. Fancy A Brazilian?
No, nothing to do with Kim Kardashian or the netherlands. This happened in 2005, in Fortaleza, Brazil at the Banco Central, when a gang of enterprising thieves managed to carry off one of the biggest heists of all time.
This heist was the result of painstaking planning by a small gang of burglars who tunneled over 250 feet to the bank’s vault from a nearby property.
The robbers used a landscaping business as a front that allowed them to move massive amounts of dirt and rock without looking suspicious.
The tunnel was expertly constructed and had sophisticated lighting and even an air conditioning system.
After three months of digging, the thieves finally broke into the vault and made off with what was equivalent to $70 million dollars.
Since then, police have made a number of arrests in connection with the burglary and recovered roughly $9 million dollars of the haul, but the majority of the suspects are still at large.
10. The Thieves Of Baghdad
On July 11th, 2007 in Baghdad a private financial institution, Dar Es Salaam, was robbed by two, or possibly three guards.
They got away with a third of a billion in cash, all US bills.
Perhaps the bank itself did not want people to start wondering where, how, and why it had so much cash at hand, so they have kept mum and there has been minimal press.
But somewhere, the successful thieves are laughing all the way from this bank.
In 1982 in Bel Air, Los Angeles, an ambitious burglar broke into one of the vast mansions on millionaire’s row.
This palatial structure was a veritable gold-mine of treasures and he immediately started to fill his sack with loot.
He went through the ballroom and into the hall.
Then down the escalators to the single lane swimming arbour.
Up to the library.
Across the dining room, and out of the annex into the conservatory which contained sixty-three varieties of tropical plants and a cage-full of sulphur crested parrots.
After all that he decided that now was the time to make a quick exit with his ill-gotten gains.
He went back through the dining room.
Then up to the gymnasium and across the indoor tennis court.
Down a spiral staircase to an enclosed patio with synchronized fountains.
Out to the cocktail lounge and through junior’s sound-proofed drum studio, whereupon he found himself back into the room full of increasingly excited parrots that normally saw nobody from one day to the next.
Panicking slightly, he ran back towards the library and through swing doors into a gallery containing the early works of Jackson Pollock.
Then out through the kitchen, across a jacuzzi enclosure and up two flights of stairs.
At this point he became hysterical, ran outside along the balcony, around the circular corridors, up more stairs, down the landing into the master bedroom and woke up the owners to ask them how to get out.
In order to spare him further distress, they arranged for a local policeman to escort him from the premises.
I think he spent the next few years also in another big building, but one with much smaller rooms.
“Three groups spend other people’s money: children, thieves and politicians.
All three need supervision.”
One of the things that stupid bureaucrats do is make stupid laws. Increasingly they are making it harder to catch and punish criminals. It’s starting to happen more and more in the United States, it started happening a long time ago in Britain. When you take away punishment, or you make doing jail time ‘easy’, or you make it possible for criminals to sue the people they have perpetrated the crimes against, then all you end up doing is encouraging crime. It is as simple as that.
But let’s make one thing very clear before I go on with this blog.
The vastly overwhelming majority of people are decent and law abiding. That is true of almost every country and city you could mention, even those with unsavory reputations.
But unfortunately it is also true that every country and city does have its criminal elements, whether it be serial killers, one-off murderers, fraudsters, drug dealers, arsonists, or whatever.
I don’t like any of these groups. But there is one group in particular that I detest above all.
I HATE thieves!
It isn’t because their crimes are any worse than the others, in fact they aren’t. But your odds of running into a serial killer or even a murderer are thankfully very rare. Similarly, if you don’t deal in financial matters your chances of being defrauded are slim (banks excepted of course because along with the politicians they are currently committing the greatest fraud of all time and we are all the victims). If you aren’t into the drug scene then you are unlikely to mix with drug dealers, etc etc.
But unfortunately your chances of becoming the victim of a thief is not so rare. As a matter of fact sometime in the average person’s life they will experience some kind of theft, from the petty kind such as someone taking a cel phone or purse or wallet to the more serious thieves who feel they can invade your home and steal and destroy your property.
What is the mentality of these people that makes them think that they can take other people’s property or invade their space? It’s a bit like the mentality of an annoying fly that thinks it has the right to crawl all over your face or a mosquito that decides to feast on your blood.
Sadly when you report these crimes to the police they have reached the stage where they tell you the chances of catching the perpetrators are extremely slim. You’ve lost your stuff, if you can make a claim on your insurance, do it, otherwise tough luck! You are never compensated for the invasion of your privacy, however, nor the psychological damage some people experience as they ‘live in fear’ of another theft.
The problem is large, and getting larger, and it has spawned a multi $billion industry worldwide to try to prevent such acts. Many homes are now equipped with alarms and serious locks and bolts. A growing number now also have cameras and so forth.
That we should now all have to live inside our own small fortresses is testimony to the damage the bureaucrats have done to our countries. I fear if the economic situation deteriorates things will get increasingly worse on this front.
What can be done about it?
Well, for a start everyone has to realize that it does not have to be this way.
I have been in countries where there were hardly any thieves at all. It just wasn’t in the mindset of people to take other people’s personal belongings. I remember a friend of mine on holiday there a few years ago making a phone call from a public payphone on the street and using his Amex credit card to pay for it. A couple of days later he noticed that credit card was missing. Retracing his travels in his mind he remembered that the last time he had used it was at the public payphone. He was going to report the loss of the card to the credit card company, but before he did so he thought he’d better check for himself. He went back to the payphone and there was his credit card, untouched, just where he had left it two days ago!
Now I live in a country where thieves are everywhere. You could hardly get your credit card and wallet back into your pocket without someone’s hand in there first waiting to steal it!
The difference is down to two things, instilling a good moral attitude within the population and combining that with a zero-tolerance approach to anyone who steps out of line.
On a personal level you can take all the precautions you feel are necessary. But you also need get involved too. Complain to the bureaucrats and the politicians and do it regularly. Make their lives a misery for a while, they’ve been trying to do it to us for a long time, and get together with similar minded people and groups in your area and even on the social web. Whatever else you do, don’t sit back and accept it!
Okay, rant over. I don’t want people who read this to run and hide under the bed. That is both unnecessary and would be an admission that the bad people have won – and we can’t allow that. And anyway console yourselves in the knowledge that the thieves aren’t always that smart.
For example, this…..
Would-be burglars Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller hatched a flawless plan to break into an apartment in Caroll, Iowa. They also came up with the idea of drawing masks on their faces instead of buying masks. Money must have been tight!
However, the masterplan had one tiny flaw. These master criminals decided to draw on their ‘disguises’ using a permanent marker pen.
Police stopped their car after a witness reported two men ‘with painted faces’ were trying to break into the apartment. The caller added that the pair were wearing dark, hooded tops and had driven off in a big white car.
Police soon spotted a 1994 Buick Roadmaster matching the description and stopped it at gunpoint.
Inside they found the two men, both of whom had what appeared to be masks, beards or moustaches scrawled on to their faces.
McNelly, 23, and Miller, 20, were both charged with attempted second-degree burglary and released on bail. McNelly was also charged with drunk driving.