Wed, 31 Jul 13 at 14:12   | comment No Comments Yet

Diamond Theft Revives Faith In The Big Steal

Cannes Hotel

Not so well guarded after all

I have often lamented the decline of great (real-life) capers. In the old days, if you wanted to steal a few million dollars you had to go out and work for it: tunnel into a vault, break into the mail van on a high-speed train, or climb a thirty-story building and crack a safe in the penthouse. Now you need only click a few keys on a keyboard and, voila, ten times that amount is winging its way to your Caymans shell.

Just as computers have ruined so many other parts of our lives — conversation, reading, generally getting off our butts — they’ve also ruined the heist.

Except, not quite. And that’s why it was so gratifying to read of this weekend’s Cannes diamond theft. One hundred and thirty-six million dollars! Tangible goods, stolen by a man with a gun! — truly back to basics.

That said, I do have one complaint. It wasn’t exactly complicated, this great theft. It didn’t require months and months of patient preparation, like 2003’s Antwerp diamond district heist (which was almost Hollywood in its complexity). The criminals didn’t have to tunnel 100 feet into bank vault, as in Berlin earlier this year. No, all the guy did was buy a pistol and walk into a hotel. How hard is that?

Maybe there’s still a place for the second-story man.

Maybe I’m in the wrong profession.

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