21st Century Crime

by wjw on October 5, 2008

A man robbing an armored car in Washington State recruited his unwitting henchmen from Craigslist.

. . . an ad was posted on the free classified advertising site, asking for 15 to 20 men to show up near the Bank of America on Old Owen Road at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday to work on a maintenance project called “Restore Monroe.”

“The men were to wear dark blue shirts and surgical masks covering their noses and mouths. In return, they’d be paid about $28 per hour, which Willis said is well above the standard for that kind of work . . . “

While these guys were standing around providing a distraction, a man dressed in a similar fashion maced the guard, grabbed the bag of money, and ran for a nearby river, where his getaway inner tube was waiting.

This is damn near perfect. Using 21st century communication technology, a man recruits a gang of accomplices who don’t even know they’re accomplices. He’s assembled a criminal gang as if they were a flashmob! (“Wear a flat cap, domino mask, and a striped shirt, and carry a bag labeled ‘SWAG.'”)

Meanwhile in Nigeria, Henry Okah and the boys of MEND use similar tactics to recruit a guerilla army, embargo and/or steal half a million barrels of oil every day.

Here’s an idea whose time has come. (And fortunately, it’s what my next book is going to be about.)

halojones-fan October 5, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Heh. After umpteen hundreds of stories about people getting “brain-hacked” or getting morphed into “cyber-zombies”, it turns out that all you need to do is offer $28 and people will gladly dress like criminals and hang around a bank!

robp October 6, 2008 at 1:36 am

This certainly speaks for the sheer number of total idiots on the Internet. I personally make it a habit to never intentionally dress like a bankrobber while loitering near a bank.

There was also a case awhile back where someone tried to hire a hitman on craigslist; the ad was vague, the guy who answered it called the cops after discovering what he was going to be paid for, and the advertiser was arrested.

And I always thought the weirdest thing about craigslist ads was the ‘casual encounters’ section. Ads that read something like, “I’m looking for a blowjob between 7 and 7:30 this morning. I’ll be driving west on the 580 heading toward San Francisco and would prefer a beautiful woman who lives near an offramp.”

Rebecca S. October 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm

His getaway inner tube? Sweet. And ditto about the next book.

Ralf the Dog October 6, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Clarification needed. Mr. Williams, I have liked every book you have written (with the possible exclusion of the Elvis Stuff). If your next book is about a guy on a getaway inner tube, I must say I have grave doubts.

Ty October 6, 2008 at 8:42 pm

While I don’t remember there being any inner tubes, Both Daniel and I pushed fairly strenuously for at least one yurt.

Ethan October 10, 2008 at 8:03 am

Unfortunately for you in the rest of the 49, we in Washington are beyond awesome, as long as we’ve had our coffee.

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