A wise man once said “There are a few things men want more than sex. Every man wants to be part of a heist.” That wise man was Dane Cook.
I always though that parents blaming the media and video games for corrupting their children was a load of psych crap finger-pointing (not directed at you Erin). Take responsibility for your children. And get your pets spayed or neutered. But four college kids from Kentucky are behind bars for basing an artifact heist on tricks of the trade they saw in classic 21st century heist movies like the Oceans and Snatch. My opinion was counteracted. 4 friends blind sided a librarian at the University of Kentucky library and attempted to steal something like $12 million worth of 1st edition breakthrough science textbooks that included Darwin’s The Origin of Species. John Falk turned Vanity Fair into a literary Bourne Ultimatum with his article “Majoring in Crime” (The Vanity Fair print was not posted on the website. This is a summary of the feature from the local paper where the heist took place.) He went to the prison where the guys are serving their 7 year sentences. Since the law has already caught up with them, there was no reason to hold back on the plan.
The article goes into detail about how the idea came about (a smoke down in a dorm room), how they planned it (talks with “our guy”, watching Snatch, Oceans 11/12/13, Reservoir dogs, jetting over to NYC and Amsterdam to plan the black market sale of the books with characters worthy of villain parts in the next Italian Job), how they tried to execute it the first time (failed because their timing interfered with one of the guys final exams.), how it finally went down (taser the old librarian and stuff as many books as possible into a bedsheet), the loop hole (they didn’t know where the emergency exit was), the chase (four 20 year olds vs four librarians and an escape van borrowed from someones mom), and the escape (in time for one dudes tennis final exam). The suspenseful part was post-capture. The guys had to travel to NYC to get the books appraised at Christie’s (the black market buyer would only accept the books with a proper appraisal of the value) but the clock was ticking because within a week the news of the stolen books would be public and they would be caught with their hand in the cookie jar if they waltzed into the famous auction house with the books. They made it to NYC but the appraiser hesitated to give them the value because of their age (20 years old) manor (20 years old) and lack of knowledge of the history of the books. The plan came to a halt as they waited to hear back from Christie’s. Within that time, investigators in Kentucky pieced together the crime. The guys knew the plan had come unraveled and in the following weeks they went about their business as usual and waited for their arrests, which came shortly after. Gen Y 0 Librarians 1
Sounds like a cop out ending at first, but the articles ends with the big question “WHY?” The guys explained that they basically had nothing to lose. College wasn’t for them. Their small town didn’t fit them. They didn’t want to end up pigeonholed in a dead end job in a dead end city. They wanted more. So when they plans were coming together for the heist, they had to ask “what if?” What if they got away with it? They would each have millions to their name. They would flee the country and live in the Mediterranean with yachts and women and booze, like another James Bond or Max Burdett. And what if they get caught? They go to jail for a few years, and after they come out, they will be forced to start over. They will have to move out of the small town to preserve their dignity and start fresh, start over. Win win.
To imagine the lengths these people went through to rid themselves of their past, to move forward and create a better life for themselves, one they believe they deserve, seemed so out of touch with reality. But the big picture of that, that giant risky move to get what you want out of life, happens every day. Especially to Gen Yer that are now being forced out of school and into real life, force to decide what to make of their life. I made the jump a few months back when I decided to uproot from Cleveland and try out a taste of this big city life (which is working out pretty damn well) I guess we all have our own ways of finding what fits for us. To each his own.