October 20 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Security Year: 2008 Rating: 3
Witnessing the rapid spread of the Flash Mob phenomenon, fueled by emerging driver organizations like Improv Everywhere, it occurred to me that these increasingly frequent and massive events could be used as cover for various forms of criminal activity. The first scenario that popped into my head was that of a bank robber arranging such a coordinated diversion to cover his or her tracks.
For example, imagine if the following flash mob (arranged in San Francisco just two weekends ago) was diverted to surround or walk through a bank or other burglary target:
A clever criminal dressed in bright red could then use such a crowd as cover for a quick escape.
Just how feasible is such a scenario?
As it turns out, a small-scale and version of this plan was successfully executed up in Monroe, Washington just two weeks ago.
According to local news channel King 5:
[A] brazen crook apparently used a Craigslist ad to hire a dozen unsuspecting decoys to help him make his getaway following a robbery outside a bank on Tuesday. He then made his escape in an inner tube on the Skykomish River.
The burglar’s ad called required respondents to don a yellow vest, safety goggles, a respirator mask and blue shirt and show up near the Monroe Bank of America at 11am. For the prospect of a $28.50/hour rate, 12 men showed up at exactly that time, providing ideal cover for the thief who was dressed in a similar manner.
The thief has yet to be identified. And I’d be willing to bet that we’ll be seeing some copy-cat attempts over the coming months.
So long as no one gets hurt, this sort of crime at least has some sinister entertainment value. I mean, to cap it off by floating away on an inner tube??
Now I am convinced that the truth is in fact stranger than fiction.
Big thanks to future blogger John Heylin for the Monroe burglary link.