Lately I have been given a lot of thought to crooks, especially thieves. Their operations are run along the lines of a successful corporate enterprise. A corporate enterprise has one aim in mind –increase profits and relieve the public of their money for certain goods and services the corporate enterprise provides. You have large conglomerates, you have medium sized companies, you have small enterprises and you have single owner entrepreneurs.
Now take thieves. You have the large conglomerate – the government with all its departments run by thieves all looking for profit. Then come the corporates or gangs of thieves that roam the country breaking into banks, houses, shops, places of worship at will helping themselves to whatever takes their fancy. There are the smaller outfits mainly friends or family members who plan heists in different areas of a district and take off to plan hits on another district. Then you have the loners or single entrepreneurs who work alone breaking into locked houses, shops, cars, temple and church cash boxes.
Their business plan is carefully thought out. I won’t say the obvious about the government; it’s there for anyone to see. We will start with the gangs of thieves. They sprout in all sorts of places. They could be poor, starving people unable to land a good job, or they could be white collared workers who get together and formulate a plan to make some serious money.
They need seed capital to start up their operations, because they need to travel to the area they wish to rob, stay in hotels, or rent rooms, they need to buy some form of transport, and they need to live in an area to get familiar with it. The next item on their agenda is to take a decision on a hit. Once that is done they hand out duties which play on the strengths of each gang member. The good looking charming ones become salespersons or boyfriends of the maids in the houses, they get a close look and inside information of what challenges lie ahead in terms of breaking and entering.
They have to be physically fit to carry out the actual robbery, climbing up drainpipes, or jumping from eave to eave. Then they have to plan their exit strategy, maybe have a vehicle that they need to transport their pickings. A subsidiary plan has to be made for stealing the vehicle and control has to be exerted not to get side-tracked into stealing vehicles for a living.
They need confidence, clear heads, focus and hard work. They have to go over their plan minutely, checking for blocks to their operation at every step. They have to think up a Plan B for every stage. Because you just might meet up with a strong woman who hits first, ties one of the gang up to a tree and calls the cops later. So many things can go wrong. In some posh localities, the streetlights are not working and everything is going just nicely, when a large group of stray dogs suddenly start barking, or worse, they start biting.
It’s high risk work but the pickings are huge. In really wealthy households the owners never give the actual value of cash and jewellery stolen for fear of attracting the Income Tax authorities.
Remember the jewel heists in Goa within the last ten days – fake policemen who relieved Goan women of their jewellery, the trio who posed as Navy personnel, bringing great losses to local jewellers, and now three women from Maharashtra who helped themselves in a Margao jewellery store.
Successful heists need planning, execution and courage. If only these skills were adapted to legitimate use … But then there’s that phrase that someone coined about this kind of individual: They’d rather make a crooked penny, than earn an honest pound.