Teach me how pro robbers work
November 15, 2007 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Where can I read about the techniques and crimes of modern professional armed robbers and thieves?

I'm looking to read more about modern professional bandits and thieves. Yes, I know that Heat is fiction, and yes, I know that most bank robberies and break-ins are done by pathetic, ill-skilled and desperate men. I write crime fiction and I'm a true crime nut, so I've read lots of books on the subject, but none that get in-depth as I want to go. (The best one I've read, BTW, is Where the Money Is).

I'm looking to stay truly up-to-date. Are there any blogs or magazines that I could read? Any books or pamphlets meant for law enforcement, maybe? Or just well-written and insightful journalism about a crew or crews?
posted by Bookhouse to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried reading trial documents of criminal cases?
posted by kanemano at 1:54 PM on November 15, 2007

The news seems to think all the cool robbers nowadays are Lock bumping.
posted by Orb2069 at 2:07 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, as far as thieves go there's always this. I really didn't think he'd get those underpants off, but by golly he sure did.
posted by Autarky at 2:21 PM on November 15, 2007

It's not entirely modern, since he waited until the statue of limitations had run out on his crimes to write it, but Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief was one of the most fun books I've read in years, and also educational on the subject of security and why it fails.
posted by not that girl at 2:28 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is more burglary than armed robbery, but To Catch a Thief is interesting. I can't vouch for how accurate the show is though.
posted by jefftang at 2:40 PM on November 15, 2007

Best answer: Well, there's this 2004 article from The New Yorker about a pretty successful burglar specializing in antique silverware.
posted by mhum at 2:51 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

Speaking of pathetic, ill-skilled, desperate men, only pleasure-denying flagellants would miss out on reading Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts.

Atilla Ambrus versus Hungary's Finest, including one detective known lovingly as "Mound of Asshead." He didn't work pretty, but he sure worked funny.
posted by Skot at 2:55 PM on November 15, 2007

Street Thief is awesome. I was glued to the screen. This is exactly what your looking for, trust me.
posted by jasondigitized at 4:21 PM on November 15, 2007

Here is a Steven Levitt paper on The Economics of a Drug Gang which describes the cash flow in a Chicago drug gang in the 1990s. I read it a long time ago but as I recall it found that most drug gang employees do modestly better than working at a minimum wage job, except you are less likely to go to jail or be shot for deep frying potatoes. Here are papers which cite this one, and which may be related.

Not exactly modern, but The Big Con spends about equal amounts of time on how con men work and talk.
posted by shothotbot at 7:38 PM on November 15, 2007

You could try talking to cops and criminals.
posted by Kioki-Silver at 7:51 PM on November 15, 2007

Nice article in National Geographic about pirates. It does include their methodology.
posted by ptm at 3:27 AM on November 16, 2007

Best answer: Did you see this previous question? Some interesting links there.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2007

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