Tag Archives: crime

Bank robbery beginning to end

I liked that this piece had the entire story of a crime, from planning to prosecution, with some bonus criminal stupidity to boot.

In 2011 the Federal Reserve physically handled transfers of about $640 billion in cash. That’s about 35 billion bills. The money mainly passes through a handful of cash logistics companies, themselves a $14 billion sector of the U.S. economy. The most famous and important of these companies is Brink’s, which dates to 1859. It handles an average of about 250 flights worldwide each day, part of about 1,500 high-value shipments the company runs daily.

Despite the rivers of cash, surprisingly little is stolen. Armored carriers overall reported only 42 thefts in 2011, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On those rare occasions when money is snatched, however, things can get messy. In February 2012 a Garda driver in Pittsburgh allegedly shot his partner in the back of the head before driving off with $2.3 million. In December, four men shot a Loomis armored car driver in the face before taking the truck from a Maryland strip mall.

This week’s best crime stories

These are the types of stories I would read all day if I had time. Two fascinating crime pieces from this week.

Do quarter horses count as real horses? Never mind. Mexican drug cartels and horse racing.

The business was “so far out there it’s hard to believe,” said Morris Panner, a former prosecutor who handled drug cases. “Maybe they were using some kind of perverse logic that told them they could hide in plain sight, precisely because people wouldn’t believe it or question it.”

The Treviño brothers devised an elaborate scheme in which Mexican businessmen paid for the horses — some of them worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — from their own bank accounts so the purchases would appear legitimate, according to the affidavit. The Zetas would later reimburse the businessmen, and the horses’ ownership would be transferred to Tremor.The brothers’ activities on either side of the border made for a stark contrast. One week in May began with the authorities pointing fingers at Miguel Ángel Treviño for dumping the bodies of 49 people — without heads, hands or feet — in garbage bags along a busy highway in northern Mexico. The week concluded with José Treviño fielding four Tremor horses in a prestigious race at Los Alamitos Race Course, near Los Angeles.

Rudy Kurniawan's counterfeiting of prestigious maybe have broken wine collecting forever. That he was able to pull it off for so long gives credence to the idea that most people can't taste the difference between a $4 bottle of wine and a… say, $42,500 bottle of champagne. Alternate title for this story? The Talented Mr. Ripple.

On March 8 of this year, Kurniawan was arrested by F.B.I. agents at his home in Arcadia, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, and charged with multiple counts of wire and mail fraud, notably in connection with the attempted sale of the bogus Ponsots. According to court documents, when agents entered Kurniawan’s house, they discovered a counterfeiting factory, with scores of bottles being converted to knockoffs and thousands of fake labels for the most prestigious wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux. It appears now that Kurniawan may have sold millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit wines and scammed some of the world’s biggest collectors. It is potentially the largest case of wine fraud in history and may have left the market for rare and old wines irredeemably corrupted.

Also, this spoke to me, because basically, these people moved from comic book speculation to wine speculation… And you know what comic books are worth now.

In 2000, wine auctions worldwide grossed $92 million; by last year, that figure had quintupled, to $478 million. The buying frenzy was driven in large part by young collectors in the United States.

They use ferrets to look for buried art?

An update on the Gardner Museum Heist?

They have brought with them a ground-penetrating radar device, as well as two beagles and a ferret, to look for what they say are weapons. But we all know what they are actually looking for -- and they are looking for the paintings,” McGuigan said.

Authorities have said that at least two men dressed as police officers talked their way into the Gardner on March 18, 1990, tied up the security guards, and left with 13 masterworks, including three by Rembrandt and five by Degas. Some of the stolen pieces could sell for $50 million on the open market, art experts say.

The best story you’ll read about a burglary you’ll read this week

Burgled in Philly on The Bygone Bureau is a crime story with some quirky details.

A word about the machine guns: one of them is mine, the other one is Matt’s, and they were for decoration. They were functional and we had ammunition, but they weren’t really for home defense or hunting. We thought they looked badass hanging on the wall — and they did.

Via Kayfabe

Stolen bike stolen back

If you get your bike stolen, this is one way to get it back, but please be sure it's safe before you do it.

A Colorado woman took matters into her own hands when her bike was stolen from outside of a Boulder sports bar. She tracked down her stolen bike on Craigslist, pretended to be an interested buyer and stole back her own bike.

Via Vaughn