Walmart Employee Helps Catch World's Sneakiest Bank Robber

WIRED has a cool story about Gerald Blanchard, the world’s most ingenious thief and bank robber, who once parachuted onto a Viennese castle to steal the famed Koechert Diamond Pearl, and how he was eventually caught by two grizzled cops in Winnipeg, thanks to a Walmart worker’s tip. While Gerald was meticulous in preparing for his heists…

Thorough as ever, Blanchard had spent many previous nights infiltrating the bank to do recon or to tamper with the locks while James acted as lookout, scanning the vicinity with binoculars and providing updates via a scrambled-band walkie-talkie. He had put a transmitter behind an electrical outlet, a pinhole video camera in a thermostat, and a cheap baby monitor behind the wall. He had even mounted handles on the drywall panels so he could remove them to enter and exit the ATM room. Blanchard had also taken detailed measurements of the room and set up a dummy version in a friend’s nearby machine shop. With practice, he had gotten his ATM-cracking routine down to where he needed only 90 seconds after the alarm tripped to finish and escape with his score. – WIRED

…the cops who picked up the cold case caught him because an employee at the Walmart next door was pissed at people parking in their lot overnight and had written down the license plate of the car Gerald used in the robbery, and he had used his real name to rent the car.

Art of the Steal: On the Trail of World’s Most Ingenious Thief [WIRED]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.