It’s been a year of smash-and-grabs, get-aways, infiltrations, intrusions, master schemes, and mad dashes. The heist economy was alive and well in 2016, and our dedicated caper correspondents have kept tabs on the most ambitious acts of larceny and loose morals in the global economy. To wit, here’s your year in heists and capers:...MORE
The Million-Dollar Eel Endeavor
With its vast immigrant population, New York City is home to a stunning variety of cuisines, some of which are legal and others are not. This sometimes leads smugglers to sneak invasive or endangered species past animal-trafficking cops. In this case, a $1 million shipment of frozen BBQ eels arrived in a New Jersey warehouse legally, but three cooks used falsified papers to receive the eels before their rightful owners could pick them up. Working with the police, the rightful owner managed to spring a sting on the crooks when he found several men looking to offload a large volume of eel at cut rates. After being led to the warehouse where his goods were found, police arrested the crooks and seized the eel-vidence.
The Japanese Cash-Machine Junket
It’s a classic of the modern heist genre: Convince ATMs to spit out cash at the exact time your accomplices are in place to collect it. A 2013 version of this heist inspired the original edition of this post. This year, the scene is set in Japan, where thieves used spoofed credit cards to steal more than $13 million from Standard Bank of South Africa in just three hours. A team of one hundred criminals pulled the money out at banks across the country before the banks could be alerted to stop them. Two men were arrested shortly after the heist, but Japanese authorities have yet to reveal further details; reportedly, a Chinese criminal organization is suspected of having taken advantage of Japan’s lax cybersercurity.
The Queens Rooftop Rumble
Tunneling into a bank vault is a classic move. The 2016 twist? Go in through the roof. A group of thieves in New York City found an opportunity to do just that, cutting through the roof of Maspeth Federal Savings Bank over a May weekend to ransack clients’ safe-deposit boxes and snatch free cash. A neighbor of the bank called police to report the suspicious appearance of a black-painted ladder in his backyard and a box on the roof of the bank. According to the New York Times, police declined to investigate, telling the the man that he was the proud owner of a new ladder. The robbery was discovered two days later when the bank re-opened, and the box the neighbor spotted turned out to be one of many empty safe-deposit boxes left on the roof. The thieves are linked to nine other rooftop bank robberies, and are still at large....
Some of our 2016 posts on such things:
A Burgler's Guide To The City--How a Criminal Sees the World
ISIS Earns Millions Skimming Forex, Trading Equities
"A gang of idiots somehow managed to steal $80 million of rare artifacts from English museums"
Jackpot: "Why We All Dream of Being Jewel Thieves"
Ummm...Gary Grant, Grace Kelly, French Riviera, directed by Hitchcock?
I'm going with yes.
"The great global avocado trade flow chart"
Money, Murder and Sadomasochism: A Look At the L.A. Tech Scene
Climateer Line of the Day: "...The Only Risk Was Theft By Lawyers" Edition
Ethereum Found the $53 Million
It's always in the last place you look.
"Forget malware, crooks are cracking ATMs the old-fashioned way – with explosives"
NYC Bank Burglars Stole $5 Million in Cash, Diamonds Hollywood Style
Fires, Thefts: The Scandals of 740 Park, the World’s Richest Building (Koch, Merkin, Schwarzman,Thain, Mnuchin, Tisch, Lauder et al)
"How to Fake It So No One Notices" (the Ivy League, the Holy Foreskin, the Amazon, the usual)
"...have you seen these seven missing Warhols?"
How to Spot a Hedge Fund Fraudster
Bombast. In my experience they are all bombastic.
And stripper poles.
You would not believe the number of stripper poles that crooks collect.
Author's Book Doesn't Sell, He Sues The Internet
40% of Econ Experiments Can't be Replicated
Crime Headlines From 2025
Ransomware: In Which Izabella Goes All 14th Century Condottieri
And many more. These are just some of the 2016 vintage, and not including Theranos, JustMayo and other finance doings where the real money is to be found.
Collecting these things is sort of a hobby.