Diamond, Silver and Gold
The heist, jewel theft, stealing gold or artifacts, sneaking off with the big diamond – these are a certain class of crime that holds some unusual place in our collective consciousness. We often think of it as something for fiction. Indeed, there are countless films depicting a heist of some sort. When we watch these films, we are often conflicted. A common structure or theme is that the focus is on the thief or thieves as the protagonists.
The idea is to get us to identify and sympathize with the main character, the thief, despite all along knowing they are a criminal depriving someone else of their possessions. Part of the narrative structure of these films is to get us to care about the thief so, as the story unfolds, we worry that they will be apprehended. This tension is what makes these films engaging.
This week on Weird and Wacky Wednesdays we’re going to consider some recent heists that could be made into films. These are real stories and it’s useful to ask yourself how you feel about the parties as you consider these crimes.
The value of diamonds is dropping fast as factory-made diamonds have started flooding the market and we learn that earth-made diamonds are more abundant than previously disclosed. The demand for diamonds, fully a consequence of good advertising, is declining but sentimental gems will continue to be important to their owners and, relatively speaking, diamonds are still expensive.
Recently the wedding band and engagement ring belonging to actress Lily Collins was stolen from a locker at a hotel in West Hollywood. There are photos of the ring in some of the news stories and it is very pretty. Apparently, the diamond engagement ring is valued at $65,000 USD.
The suspect, Andreea Catalina Rosca, 34, is said to travel the country committing similar crimes and is part of Romanian organized theft groups. Apparently the suspect had fake identification and some sophisticated methods to get herself into a secured area and then, apparently, the lockers themselves. She has not been caught.
Romanian organized theft groups are a thing not widely discussed. We have had this problem in Canada.
We don’t often think of silver being a big target for theft. Still, thieves see something of value that can be readily fenced for cash where the rest of us simply see an item of beauty. Consider this theft of silver.
Recently the staff of the Royal Lancers & Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum came in on a Sunday to find that a hole had been cut in a floor and a number of “priceless” silver military antiques had been stolen. Detectives described the raid as “audacious” and “well organised,” with the thieves having first drilled a hole to use a remote camera and then cutting a larger hole into the floor for the purpose of extracting the items.
A detailed description of the items was not released but we know the Hurlingham Grand Military Polo trophy, statuettes of mounted soldiers and a cavalry trumpet were among the stolen items.
The concern is that the items themselves may be readily recognized and so the thieves may be tempted to melt them down for the purpose of being able to sell them. The curator, Steve Cox said: “It’s disgusting that they’ve taken history from the people who have served and fought for this country.”
Having read these two weird and wacky heist stories, I tend to sympathize with the victims. You may too.
Occasionally we see a significant theft of gold. But gold is heavy. It can be awkward to transport. Toilets are also awkward to carry. When you remove and move a toilet, it’s not unusual to spill toilet water all over. One can imagine that the theft of a gold toilet, therefore, would be doubly difficult.
Who needs a gold toilet? The most famous gold toilet is probably the one Donald Trump has in his New York apartment, but apparently there are others. And there was one in Blenheim Palace, in the countryside of Woodstock, England.
The toilet was an art installation by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan entitled America and it was intended to be a commentary on excessive wealth. It was valued at over $8 million CDN.
It was stolen in September 2019 and never recovered. Recently four suspects were apprehended and have a court appearance coming up later this month. By this point, that spilled toilet water is all dried up, however.
If Trump’s gold toilet had been stolen, I may have sympathized with the thief. In this case, because it was an art installation, it’s hard to have any sympathy for the thieves.