The Senior Citizens Crime Of The Century

Laughlines by William Thomas

Every day, seniors are being reminded by medical authorities to keep the body active, challenge the mind and both will serve you well in slowing down the aging process. Walk every day, sleep more, take up yoga, do crossword puzzles and keep adding new physical activities to your regimen.

All are good with one exception. Adding a new physical activity should not apply to a bunch of old guys in London, England whose idea of a new exercise routine involves spending a long weekend walking in and out of a safe deposit facility and removing $365 million in jewels that did not belong to them!

Meet the Hatton Garden Overachievers Club. On the first weekend of April, 2015 nobody noticed anything untoward as eight graybeards worked tirelessly moving heavy equipment into the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company and coming out with what bystanders assumed were “wheelie bins” full of debris. (All that glitters is not necessarily debris.)

Four minutes after the doors automatically locked on Thursday, April 2, the beginning of the four-day Easter bank holiday, thieves descended to the vault from an elevator shaft and drilled through a 50-centimetre wall using the best concrete drills money can buy. They took their time – seniors are also being told to reduce stress in their daily routine – and over the next three days they casually removed 200 million British pounds from 70 safety deposit boxes in an area of London where many people are in the jewelry and diamond business. Seniors being fussy about such things, they went home each night to sleep in their own beds. (Arrogance is not a pretty characteristic at any age.)

That’s right, the largest burglary in English history was carried out by eight senior citizens. The average age of the Hatton Garden Gang is 63. Total of all eight … 442 years. That’s an awful lot of experience, even as bank robbers go. Upon their arrest by Scotland Yard, the robbers were described as “Analogue criminals operating in a digital world.”

They got trapped by the new technology of number plate recognition and mobile phone evidence. Also, chattiness being a characteristic of old people, it did not help that Brian Reader, age 76 bragged about the jewel job over pints at the Castle Pub in Islington. His animated confession was filmed by undercover officers.

Additional clues that indicated this was not your normal jewel heist included the empty packages of Beta-blockers and stool softeners left at the crime scene. The all-points bulletin described the suspects as “more cranky than dangerous.” What sounded like a break-in alarm turned out to be a pacemaker malfunction. The thieves lost valuable time taking naps and looking for misplaced car keys. What police took to be a sophisticated, handmade burglary took turned out to be a walker. The getaway van travelled 210 kilometres with its left blinker on.

When the abandoned van was examined, it contained a one-for-all pallbearer pact and eight pee cups.

As far as it is known, $180 million of jewelry taken in the heist have not been recovered. I say this only because if your husband, for no apparent reason surprises you with a diamond necklace that has faint traces of Poligrip on it … the gems might be ‘hot’.

Names of the robbers who pulled off the nation’s biggest B&E are John “Colonoscopy” Collins, Danny “Low Bone Density” Jones, William “Abe” Lincoln, Hugh “Depends” Doyle, Carl “Dead” Wood, John “I Can’t Sleep At” Knight and Brian “I Need Cheaters To” Reader. (An eighth man, Jon Harbinson was found not guilty and released which is just as well because I didn’t have a nickname for him anyway.)

For comments and ideas, or a copy of The Legend of Zippy Chippy, go to www.williamthomas.ca