Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It Takes A Thief—Discovery Channel Series


Tonight was the first episode of a new reality series on Discovery Channel, in which two ex-burglars arrange to break into the home of three bachelors (to show them how easy it is), and then revamp the house's security to prevent future break-ins.

The first home targeted belongs to John, who inherited it from his parents. With a brother and sister (who live elsewhere), he also inherited lots of treasures, including an original Picasso and a sketch of John F. Kennedy that at one time hung in the White House. These treasures are stored in an unsecured crawl-space at the back of his bedroom closet.

His roommates, Anthony and Mark, have their own rooms in the house, and the three young men use the house as a commuter base (it is within commute distance of New York City) and a party pad. One former break-in artist, Matt, walks through the house with the three roommates, and talks about their current security arrangements. He quickly finds they are non-existent. All three men are blasé about the prospects of being burglarized.

Once the burglar, John Ramey, breaks into their home (through an easily-jimmied door), they watch aghast as security cameras show the efficient trashing and gleaning process. John takes just over 10 minutes to remove everything of value from the house. At one point, he even calls out on John's cell phone for backup.

After the burglary is complete, the young men go back into the house for a short cool-down, then the Discovery crew begins clean-up while John-the-burglar confronts his "victims" before returning the stolen goods. The value of what he stole is astounding. One item that was barely noticed in as John watched the burglar go through his belongs was the security key to his safe-deposit box. Along with the passport and business cards he also stole, John-the-burglar might have cleaned out John's safe-deposit. Total take, possibly $450,000 to $500,000.

The amazing thing to me is, after some $3000 of security upgrades to the house, John-the-burglar returns with Matt to see if he can now break in. All of the upgraded door locks, window locks, etc. are good—but John has left the front door (and the access doors to his bedroom and closet treasure storage room) unlocked.

To my way of thinking, this kind of makeover program is a lot more valuable than most. It's worth the hour to catch it when it comes around again.


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