Retro Thievery

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex — 2008

Stop watches tick to electrifying soundtracks. Loaded ordinance dangles and clanks off flack jackets as antiheroes prepare to breach their targets — their determination sharp, and their motions swift. The entire scenes are jet black contents under pressure.

Films like Ronin and Mesrine exude this retro criminal nostalgia for sophisticated criminal endeavours. Groups of rogues eat with their hands in smoke filled hideouts, plotting their next coup over seductive gazes; driven to prove that riches are for the taking, if you have the chutzpa. Their characters flout the security blanket we presume to be in place at all times, wherever society is paved. For the violently capable and tactful with arms, these are thinly veiled obstructions begging to be foxed under and skirted around. In that line of work, disdain for authority, often expressed with truculence, is the steam to their freight train criminal acts.

Recent heists of a certain sophistication, balaclava’s and all, remind us that retro criminality is not old at all. Their presumptive narratives have the air of bellbottom thinker thrillers from the 70's and 90’s, that in our post cyber-punk 21st century “hack it” point of view, were only possible in a past world— before smart phones, CCTV, drones where you used your faculties to kick down doors, grab collars, and light a match, rather than from a backlit notebook. It could be thought the world today doesn’t allow for that kind of gusto full of trouble. Some such activity in recent years on the European continent demonstrate otherwise.

Even though the means of surveillance and socially integrative technologies have allowed for new kinds of subversives to announce themselves on the internet, the more retro, analog criminal spirit lives on. It comes off the pages of summations of very recent, and very real accounts:

“Then I saw two men hoisting themselves down into the building,” Lockstrom said. “Just minutes later, I saw how they hoisted bags of money up to the helicopter on the roof.”
the window for opportunity was so small that the perpetrators must have known ahead of time about the transfer procedures and timing.

Despite doubts about the veracity of “L’Affaire Kardashian” of 2016 Paris fashion week, some calling it a partial hoax, the elements of clandestine breaking and entering, temporary restraint, and particularly targeted thievery are there. It’s worth mentioning in closing, as the impetus for this brief list that spawned a less brief retrospective.

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