On a lighter note: Wise space criminals and safe raiders stay under the radar

by | Jan 18, 2016 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

The film, Superman III (1983), directed by Richard Lester, might not have been the best of the series but it did feature the comedian and comic actor, Richard Pryor. His clever but also naïvely foolish character, Gus Gorman, finds a way of becoming instantly rich by using computer hacking to steal half a cent from every one of his firm’s employees via their payslips, and funnelling the proceeds into an expense account. The Webscoe firm’s bosses might never have cottoned on if he hadn’t turned up to work the next day driving a brand new red Ferrari, with very loud music blaring from it. In other words, smart hacker he might have been, but he was not smart enough to keep a low profile.

Perhaps the Russian space executive accused of embezzling funds from the still-being-built Vostochny launch base, might have been wise to watch this movie before he decided to drive around in his diamond encrusted Mercedes car. The Siberian Times reported that he was eventually caught by the authorities in neighbouring (and friendly to Russia) Belarus last summer.


A tad too obvious alleged space embezzler gets caught driving his diamond encrusted Mercedes car. Courtesy: Siberian Times via Artstechnica.com

A tad too obvious: alleged space embezzler gets caught driving his diamond encrusted Mercedes car. Courtesy: Siberian Times via Artstechnica.com


Of course, such criminally stupid “schoolboy errors” can be made by experienced villains as well. The old boy ex-cons (most were older convicted criminals and some were even pensioners) involved in the raid on the Hatton Garden safety deposit vault, which was almost expertly perpetrated during the Easter weekend of 2015, failed to realise the impact of the “surveillance society” that we all now sadly live in. CCTV and car number plate recognition cameras were not just in the vicinity of the building, but also in the streets surrounding it. In other words, they should have kept their disguises on and used fake number plates there as well. Worse than that, some of the gang were later recorded in a police surveillance operation boasting about the raid – one of the largest heists in British history – while in a pub.

The elderly gang, most of whom have since been captured and convicted, were dubbed by Metropolitan Police crime expert Peter Spindler as “analogue criminals operating in a digital world”. Mind you, perhaps not all of them were as unworldly and stupid as first thought. Little is known about one, yet-to-be-apprehended, alleged member of the gang, except that he is called “Basil”. Meanwhile, there is still an estimated ten million quid missing from the job.

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