Criminal Exuberance

It's getting harder to write crime fiction of the comic noir variety what with all the gonzo headlines we get these days.

Crime, like many pursuits, can be broken down into three main parts: planning, execution, and escape.

Of the three, one might reasonably argue escape is the most important. After all, if your plan is drawn in crayon and your execution is, let's say, amateurish, all you really need to do is get away. There's always tomorrow to take another shot at the big time. 

This past week, a band of five All Star bank burglars were branded "Sophisticated" by the national press. Perhaps. Give them full points for planning. They identified a target branch, moved their gear into vacant office space upstairs, and worked through the night—several nights, apparently—without getting caught.

Using acetylene oxygen blowtorches, sledge hammers, and concrete saws, they cut through two feet of reinforced floor and into the bank's vault. They even disabled electronic security systems. Brilliant work. Worthy of Hollywood. Execution? Top notch. 

But Act Three was rather like a Guy Ritchie flick.

The cops arrived in the middle of the night, scratched their heads, and wondered why a secondary alarm was sounding. The building was secure. No broken glass or movement inside.

The Sophisticates were nowhere to be found. Vanished. Disappeared into the wind.

Enter the dog. The sniffer. The K9 Unit, in cop-speak. Let's call him "Storm".

Storm wanders around the property and...WOOF. Our criminal masterminds? Hiding in the trees nearby.

Picture it: five sterling examples of the best burglars dirty money can buy, hanging in the branches like the Beagle Boys of Scrooge McDuck fame. Trapped by a dog, like so much skunk weed in a carry-on. 

Great plan. Superior execution. Caught red handed outside the bank, near a railroad track, waiting.

Let's try that again.

Near a railroad track.


Sorry boys, 2 out of 3 scores, let's see, ZERO. You forgot "Escape".

This all went down just one day after two serious bad guys managed to escape from a jail north of Montreal.

In this case, it's the escape that was film-worthy. Two prisoners swinging from a rope slung from a hijacked helicopter forced to land on the prison roof. Sounds like something Bruce Willis might star in. He could play the escapee who later told a radio station, "They put me in prison for nothing."

Execution? Solid. Escape? Full points. Then what?

“What, what?” you ask.

What next?

Well, guys, we brought you some beers and, heck, we're in cottage country. How hard can it be to invade a chalet, tell the owners to get lost, pop a brewskie or two, and come up with a plan? 

I mean, who FLIES out of prison without a clue what they're going to do after they land? 

C'mon guys. Exactly how long were you in jail dreaming that one up?

This week in crime land? Two stunning examples of criminal exuberance. Let's just say there's room for improvement.