Thieves Suck Money From Supermarket Safes With Vacuum Cleaner

A pack of crooks has been on a four-year spree where they drill a hole in the pneumatic tube that takes money from the checkout to the cashroom and suck it right out the safe using a high-power vacuum.

The criminals, called the “cambrioleurs aspirateur” or “Vacuum Burglars,” have only target the Monoprix supermarket chain in Paris, hitting 15 different stores in the past four years.

“They spotted a weakness in the company’s security system and have been exploiting it ever since,” a company spokesperson told The Sun. “It is clearly time Monoprix addressed this loophole and changed the way it guards its money.”

Yeah, after 4 years I think it’s about time.

Robbers Clean Up With Vacuum [The Sun]


Edit Your Comment

  1. cosmic.charlie says:

    Awesome! This is totally a method that the pink panther would totally take!

  2. Sword_Chucks says:

    Sometimes the crooks deserve to win… like those guys who cut a hole in the best buy roof and stayed hidden behind banners never touching the ground.

    • sufreak says:

      They never caught those guys, did they?

      • sonneillon says:

        I don’t think so, but the police didn’t try very hard. Best buy had insurance and finding people who break in like that is expensive. If they find the laptops through ebay or craigslist they’ll back track it, but police resources are not unlimited there is no public outcry and the crime was non-violent. So these guys are probably in the clear.

  3. Mike S. says:

    Someone in France must have seen the 1980 film “How To Beat The High Cost Of Living.” A perfect movie for its time, it starred Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin and Jessica Lange as three economically-pinched women who plot to suck money from a large contest ball in an Oregon shopping mall and make off with the cash. The only difference is that the heist was performed once, compared with the clueless French supermarket chain.

  4. Floppywesl says:

    Crooks that smart deserve to keep what they take

  5. nybiker says:

    On a related note, this is why you cannot use paper money on New York City’s buses. The cashbox is emptied by high-powered vacuums. If there was any paper money in the cashbox, it would be ripped to shreds.
    Of course, these robbers weren’t using high-powered vacuums, so the cash they took survived the process.

  6. slim150 says:

    when they get home to they switch it to “blow” and shower in it?

  7. Starfury says:

    Looks like the store has learned a lesson and the crooks should keep their “fee” for teaching it to them.

  8. Hoss says:

    Sound like the person in charge of maintenance on the money chute was in on this. I could see this happening maybe twice before they put padlocks on the room that has access to the pipes. Fifteen times over how many years?

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      The tubes run all the way to the registers. They can’t just padlock a room. I’ve sene this sytem showing up in stores here, and there is literally a tube, just like at your bank, running to each register.

  9. El_Fez says:

    Didn’t Yosemite Sam do this once?

  10. JasonR says:

    This doesn’t sound like that difficult a problem to solve.
    1 – Install a one way valve in the system at the safe.
    2 – Install a gate mechanism that literally blocks the tube during off hours.

    Now that I think about it, I wonder if they have a system like #2 and it’s tied to an alarm system which the crooks are able to defeat, opening the gate and grabbing the cash. A valve would still be helpful. If the money is only supposed to go one way, then they need to ensure that’s the only possible flow direction.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I don’t believe a one-way valve would work, since the tubes are used to send cash out to the cashiers from the vault as needed, and from the cashiers back to the vault and end-of-shift.

      • dg says:

        A one-way valve would work. Typically the pneumatic tube systems have a tube portal which is right above the drop safe. When the vault operator wants the tubes to fall into the safe, they remove a block. Tubes fall right into the “tube safe” where they bounce around and land in all kinds of directions. A spring-loaded flap at the top of the tube inside the safe pops back into place when the tube passes by and falls into the safe.

        So unless you get a REALLY long suction tube, snake it through the system, into the drop safe, hold open the door, suck onto a tube, and manage to get it past the trap, it’s not gonna happen…

        Now if some imbecile doesn’t have a trap inside the safe, then yeah, they deserve to get ripped off. Still it’d be a real bitch to make it work because the safe isn’t 100% air tight, nor are the portal doors. The whole thing leaks – so the idea is to get it going fast, and keep it moving with some intertia. The safes are usually BIG (enough to handle more than 10 tubes – I can’t tell you exactly how many) – so getting the suction created is not gonna be easy, then you still have to deal with the tubes that landed all over the place inside the safe…

  11. Happy13178 says:

    This is a Dyson commercial waiting to happen. It never loses suction, no matter how much you throw at it!

  12. PBallRaven says:

    That picture is just dripping with innuendo…

  13. Sian says:

    Good on them! Really. If the bank hasn’t addressed the security concern after the first two times, they deserve the loss.

  14. rookie says:

    This whole story sucks…

  15. Slick36 says:

    Seems to me, back in the day, there was a movie or a TV show centered around this kind of caper…

    • AllanG54 says:

      There was an episode of Banacek with George Peppard that had that same premise where the thieves stole money from a Vegas casino that had it on display with the same technique.

  16. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Ha ha! This reminds me of a story in the New York papers about a decade ago about subway token thieves who would actually put their mouths over the turnstile token slot and SUCK the tokens right out of the mechanism. Yeesh. Pass the sanitizer.

  17. Trick says:

    How To Beat The High Cost Of Living 2010.

  18. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I know that thievery is a terrible thing….but THAT. IS. AWESOME.

    Okay, moment of inappropriate admiration over.

  19. JollyJumjuck says:

    This started in 2006. When computers were ubiquitous and software to find this sort of thing was easily available. And by that I mean, did no one do some sort of audit and say, “Hmmm, we have taken in one hundred thousand euros, but only ninety thousand was available for a bank deposit. Where, oh where, did the ten thousand go?”

    I could see it happening a few times, at best. But were the accountants and bookkeepers at Monoprix THAT clueless? Or, could there have been some internal theft going on at the same time?

  20. stormbird says:

    I didn’t think it was possible, but this both sucks and blows.

  21. KyBash says:

    I’m all for law and order and think criminals get off way too easy, but there’s a little feeling at the back of my brain that says people this clever should get off the first time. Style counts!

  22. Plasmafox says:

    15 robberies that could have been prevented with a sheet of cardboard and some duct tape to DIY a one-way valve in the strongroom.

    Or, you know, disconnect the bloody tube at night, morans.

  23. Grodoro says:

    Should be “have only targeted the Monoprix supermarket chain” instead of “have only target the Monoprix supermarket chain”