There is a unique romanticism about jewellery heists that somehow got lost over the past decade. As trade in jewels made way for stock markets and online trading, banksters and government bail outs, the jewel thief became part of the endangered species list. As a kid growing up I was always fascinated about great crime plots, whether for comedy or dramatic purposes. From planning and execution of a great heist, the motives behind the characters and whether the thieves will get away, all form part of this intricate art, whether it is a basic smash & grab or a detailed no-room-for-errors approach.
When we imagine a jewellery thief we immediately think of a sub-machine gun wielding, balaclava wearing, getaway car driving criminal, trying to complete a get-rich-quick scam, or the femme fatale who uses her wit and charm to outsmart the opposing forces and get that one lucrative item for whatever reason. The thrill of the chase, beating the deadlines, and the reward at the end, all formed part of this amazing adventure, yet somehow this was lost. A sad time for movie lovers who escape with the escape artists, who see strategize with and see the flaws in the best laid out plans, who squeals when things go bad, who sympathizes with the fall guy.
For some reason Hollywood and scriptwriters have made classic heist films seem outdated, apparently they aren’t current in this new technology era we find ourselves in. The stealing and retrieving of information has become the new norm. With everything moving online we know find our charming jewellery thieves have become hackers and coders, online wizards who cause anarchy across the world wide web at a suitable rate per hour.
No more desperate Jimmy’s trying to infiltrate impenetrable fortresses, breach security and get that perfect jewel that would change not only his life but those of his accomplices. Has jewellery become so obsolute that would-be thieves would rather move into petty theft than accomplishing the big catch? Or has security become so impenetrable that it is useless to even try. The forgotten dynasty of desperados taking on authority, the mavericks of the modern world sticking it to the man by not following the rules, these are the characters the world need, people with the cojones to take what they want, but not always what they deserve.
But alas those days will be but a distant memory, etched in movies like Reservoir Dogs, Dog Day Afternoon and the Thomas Crown Affair. With the way we do business changing at a rapid pace, our jewellery will remain safely in our possession or in those of the banks and security companies, which in reality is not a bad thing. We only seem to notice the lack of security when it fails us, and then we tend to ask: “Why” as opposed to “How”.