Sunday, January 3, 2016

Jackpot: "Why We All Dream of Being Jewel Thieves"

Ummm...Gary Grant, Grace Kelly, French Riviera, directed by Hitchcock?
I'm going with yes.

From The Daily Beast:
Billed as the “biggest burglary in English legal history,” the April 2015 Hatton Garden heist in central London is already the stuff of legend—from the silver-haired suspects and their Ocean’s Eleven-style intricacies to the loot discovered in a graveyard. Within moments of the crime’s revelation by a stunned Metropolitan Police, media outlets outdid one another to produce architectural diagrams of the targeted building, down to the black silhouettes of unidentified men shown abseiling down empty elevator shafts and cutting holes through solid concrete walls. One reporter for the BBC even taught himself basic climbing skills and familiarized himself with a specific make of concrete drill in order to reenact the heist—for useful forensic insights or merely for clicks, it was hard to say.

The crime itself took three years of planning but just one long Easter weekend to pull off. What we now know, in terms of how the heist occurred, comes not only from the group’s eventual confessions—they were arrested only a month later—but also from police recordings obtained using hidden cameras in the gang’s preferred pub, The Castle in the London borough of Islington. Despite their apparent criminal expertise, the group stupidly continued to meet there (and to openly gloat about their spoils) in the weeks following the burglary.

This gang of pensioners, one of them 76 years old, broke into the underground vault of Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd. in London’s jewelry district. Their estimated take was anywhere from £14 million worth of gemstones and cash to a truly eye-popping £200 million.

Some of the booty was later found buried under a headstone, but only about one-third of the stolen goods have so far been recovered. To access the vault itself, the men used a diamond-tipped Hilti DD 350 to drill through nearly 20 inches of solid concrete. Hilti tools are already known for their combination of raw power and sonic discretion: Recent tests in New York City have favored a municipal shift to Hilti tools for use in public construction projects precisely because they produce less noise. They are a late sleeper’s—not to mention a bank robber’s—best friend.

The other details of the crime—the crew’s misleading orange work vests with GAS written on them, the hard hats, the plastic garbage bins, the walkie-talkies, the concrete drill—reveal that the tools and techniques of breaking and entering are more often than not also those of architectural construction and maintenance. In other words, cutting through walls for reasons of plunder and cutting through walls for reasons of firefighting or architectural renovation are conceptually separate but technically identical.

As I explore in my book A Burglar’s Guide to the City, what are commonly thought of as “burglar’s tools”—such as lock picks, crowbars, and bump keys—are far surpassed in both efficiency and function by the official tools of breaking and entering used by maintenance crews, SWAT teams, and fire departments. That is, the equipment already exists for near-unlimited entry into even the most secure architectural structures in the world; but, thankfully, public access to these tools is carefully regulated. In many cases they require training so specific that criminal suspects can often be deduced from lists of qualified operators. So when a concrete drill like the one used by the Hatton Garden gang is found at the scene, it immediately opens a trail that can lead investigators back not to the criminal underworld but, interestingly, to the construction industry. Indeed, London police were able to trace the Hatton Garden gang’s drill to a theft at a nearby construction site.

Seen in this context, burglary becomes the flipside of the architectural world: a dark twin to the world of building renovation and maintenance.

When news of the crime broke, Google queries for the Hilti DD 350 noticeably spiked—perhaps implying something more than mere idle curiosity about the capabilities of a power tool. Indeed, sudden public interest in a previously obscure concrete drill suggests that the promise of a new super-tool, allowing illicit access to buried vaults, was something that, in however metaphoric a sense you want to look at this, people had been hoping for all along. It promised a true key to the city, putting you always just one extension cord away from secret treasure.
Further, the hole itself, so cleanly produced by the machine’s diamond-tipped teeth, later became part of local mythology....MUCH MORE
So let's stick with:

The picnic scene that overlooks Monaco: 1009 D53 (Avenue des Anciens Combattants d'Afrique du Nord), 06240 Beausoleil.[1]

[1]  Le Stuff: To Catch A Thief 

From: "To Catch a Thief (1955) - locations

Here's a side-by-side comparison of how the locations have changed