Real Life NYC Robbery Borrows Methods from Movie

Posted by , , at 4:49 pm

We’ve pretty much all heard the term “copycat crime” at one time or another. The definition I like is:

A criminal act that is modeled or inspired by a previous crime that has been reported in the media or described in fiction.

Thanks, Wikipedia! And while I see plenty of reports where a burglar or gang has liberally borrowed the tactics of another, it’s not often that the latter section of the definition above comes into play – the part about repeating something described in fiction. But that’s exactly what happened in New York City recently, as reported in this news story.

Sometimes life imitates art: a New York City burglary crew has picked up a crime technique used by bank robbers in the 2010 Ben Affleck movie “The Town,” cops say. Several burglary suspects told New York City detectives that they had seen the movie bad guys spray bleach on ATMs and cash drawers to try to destroy DNA evidence, and did the same thing, the AP reports.

Very Busy Burglars

The suspects were picked up in connection with 62 burglaries at delis, discount stores, and pizzerias in Brooklyn and Queens–netting them a total haul of $217,000, police say. Four are awaiting arraignment, while a fifth is already locked up on an unrelated weapons charge.

More Copycats?

This isn’t the first time that suspected criminals have turned to pop culture for tips. In May, bank robbers in Chicago used the same nun costumes that the robbers use in the film. Also, in 2005, New York City police said members of a Queens drug ring watched the critically acclaimed HBO crime drama “The Wire” to hone their skills in avoiding arrest.

We can all be thankful that residential burglars are rarely so enterprising: the overwhelming majority of home intrusions are committed by far less sophisticated individuals, who are more likely to be feeding a drug habit than spending time thinking up clever ways to get in your home, or erase any evidence of their crimes. But with only one in four US homes protected by a monitored alarm system, and a burglary happening about every 14 seconds, we’re clearly making it too easy for the bad guys – even the not-so-clever ones.

As we’ve stated many times, the very best deterrent to intrusion is a monitored home alarm system – especially one with safer cellular monitoring and smarter interactive features. FrontPoint specializes in these systems: as the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US, that’s what people know us for. And we do it better than anyone else, with technology that is safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. Just read our rave reviews, and you’ll see why you should call FrontPoint today.

Comments (4)

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  1. Roberto Leroy

    So how is FrontPoint addressing the new fad of buying a cellular signal blocker as being told in the news and seen on TV shows?

    I have Frontpoint stickers in my windows. Maybe I should stop advertising how my alarm system works.

    If my system frOm alarm.com loses a signal, I get it set up right, I may get an informational alert. But that’s it.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Roberto – Great question, and one that comes up from time to time. In the first place, we have never had an incident where a burglar gained entry by successfully blocking the cellular signal on a FrontPoint system. And despite the fact that it could practically be done, in over 20 years in the alarm industry, I have never heard of it being done even one time. Of course, that does not make it impossible – just highly unlikely. The reality is that the average burglar is far more likely to have a $3 pair of wire cutters and go after any phone and Internet connections, since burglars know that is still the way most alarm systems work. Bad guys don’t know FrontPoint from ADT, I am willing to bet. Also, the cheap and easily accessible types of blocker have a short range, so if you follow our directions and do not place the control unit near the door, or readily in sight from outside, that makes it much harder to block a signal. Thanks again for raising this point.

  2. Roberto Leroy

    So how is FrontPoint addressing the new fad of buying a cellular signal blocker as being told in the news and seen on TV shows?

    I have Frontpoint stickers in my windows. Maybe I should stop advertising how my alarm system works.

    If my system frOm alarm.com loses a signal, I get it set up right, I may get an informational alert. But that’s it.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Roberto – Great question, and one that comes up from time to time. In the first place, we have never had an incident where a burglar gained entry by successfully blocking the cellular signal on a FrontPoint system. And despite the fact that it could practically be done, in over 20 years in the alarm industry, I have never heard of it being done even one time. Of course, that does not make it impossible – just highly unlikely. The reality is that the average burglar is far more likely to have a $3 pair of wire cutters and go after any phone and Internet connections, since burglars know that is still the way most alarm systems work. Bad guys don’t know FrontPoint from ADT, I am willing to bet. Also, the cheap and easily accessible types of blocker have a short range, so if you follow our directions and do not place the control unit near the door, or readily in sight from outside, that makes it much harder to block a signal. Thanks again for raising this point.