A FRIEND DESCRIBED landlords as “greedy, blood-sucking vultures”, causing me to immediately make a secret note for the Mixed Metaphor Police.
I pointed out that he himself was a landlord.
“Exactly,” he said. “That’s how I know.”
Like every decent human being, I think being a landlord is a heinous crime which should be punishable by death, like murder, genocide, listening to K-pop, etc.
So I was delighted to hear that property-owners are being bypassed by one smart profession: thieves.
Burglars are getting into “steal to order” services to cut out storage costs.
I learned this from a Tokyo-based business executive who was clearly impressed by the thieves’ professionalism, momentarily forgetting, as business executives do, about the troublesome existence of the law, morality, etc.
He sent me a cutting about a Tokyo thief who specialized in breaking into people’s backyards and taking photos of sports bicycles to post on internet sales sites. When a buyer offered a good price, he would steal it to order.
After months of success, he was finally caught last week when he took so many bikes from a single victim that a detective took the case. The ‘tec did an internet search to see if the bikes were for sale—and was astonished to find they’d all been advertized and sold BEFORE being stolen.
Meanwhile, a UK reader sent me a cutting about a woman caught shoplifting in the town of Spalding a few days ago.
She was carrying four shopping lists, each in different handwriting. Yes, she too was stealing to order.
Then a reporter colleague told me about a gang of god thieves in China. They took photos of idols (stone ones, not singers) in Chengdu and Meishan, which they circulated to antique collectors.
When bids were made, the thieves would wait for bad weather. “They usually stole the statues on rainy days, when the supervision of authorities was found to be more lax,” the Huaxi Dushi Bao newspaper reported.
A drop of rain would fall and screaming guards would flee for shelter. With careful timing, the thieves god-napped 300 deities before they were caught last year.
When I was a young reporter in Hong Kong, a police unit called the Serious Fraud Squad uncovered a massive steal-to-order salad ring. (This is not joke.)
Restaurateurs listed their daily requirements of bak choi, lettuce and broccoli for thieves who made targeted veggie-heists at fresh food markets. (Oddly, this is the only serious fraud case which has never been made into a movie.)
In the UK last week, police warned householders in the town of Alsager that thieves have been locating homes containing dogs and then painting a “K” (short for “K9”, as in “canine”) on the front of them. Once buyers are found, thieves steal the dogs.
Reporting the thefts must be embarrassing.
VICTIM: “My house has been robbed.”
COP: “Have you thought about getting a guard dog, sir?”
VICTIM: “That’s what they stole.”
Perhaps we can learn from the thieves? Thank you for reading this column. Now kindly forget every word of it. If I am having an off-day in a year or two, and need to re-use a column, I may steal it.