Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were American criminals who traveled the central United States with their gang during the Great Depression, robbing people and killing when cornered or confronted.
Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the "Public Enemy Era," between 1931 and 1935. Though known today for their dozen-or-so bank robberies, the two preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations. The couple were eventually ambushed and killed by law officers near the town of Sailes, in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Their reputation was revived and cemented in American pop folklore.
The Forty Elephants Gang
The Forty Elephants Gang, or the Forty Thieves, was a British gang of ladies that formed in the 18th century. They worked alongside a famous men’s gang, the Elephant and Castle Gang. The Forty Elephants carried out the largest British shoplifting operation between the 1870s and the 1950s. Police records suggest that this gang has been active since the 1700s.
Sofia Blyuvshtein, who is best known as Son’ka the Golden Hand, was a Russian thief from the 19th century who mainly stole jewels. Not much is known about her life except for a few famous cases that seem both improbable and fascinating.
According to one case, Son’ka visited a jewelry store where she picked some jewels for a large sum of money. She then asked the jeweller to deliver the order to her house, where her husband, who was a doctor, would pay for them. The jeweller did as he was asked. Once he arrived at the house, the young lady received him, took the jewels, and told him to wait in her husband’s office until he arrived with the money. But Son’ka’s trickery went deeper than that. She’d visited the doctor earlier and had told him that she was the wife of a man named Von Mel, who had an unhealthy obsession with buying and selling diamonds. She told the doctor that her husband would arrive shortly and paid for his treatment up front. When her “husband” the doctor came to see her “husband” the jeweller, the jeweller requested the money and the doctor had him put in a mental hospital. By the time the charade was sorted out, Son’ka was long gone.
Since 2006, in France, an unknown gang of thieves have been emptying supermarket safes, using nothing more than a drill and a modified vacuum cleaner. The innovative group of bandits found a weakness in French supermarket Monoprix’s system of storing cash, and have been exploiting it ever since. Envelopes of cash are funnelled into the safe via pneumatic suction tubes. Whereas breaching the safe itself might be considerably difficult, requiring explosives or safecracking, the thieves realized that if they just drilled into the delivery tubes near the safe and hooked up a powerful vacuum, they could suck the money out and get at it much more easily. As of 2011, the vacuum gang have successfully stolen almost $800,000, in fifteen night-time heists, leaving only a few CCTV tapes of masked men for evidence.
At 2:00 a.m. on March 20, 1990 Stephen Blumberg was arrested for stealing more than 23,600 rare, valuable and assorted books from 268 or more universities and museums in 45 states.Their value was placed at about $5.3 million, the largest book theft in US history. In 1991, Blumberg was found guilty and sentenced to 71 months in prison with a $200,000 fine. On December 29, 1995, he was released from prison. The collection has been referred to as the "Blumberg Collection."
Dr. Logan reported during the trial that Blumberg’s thought was to preserve or rescue the materials he stole from what he believed was destruction. Blumberg believed that the government was plotting to keep the ordinary person from having access to rare books and unique materials, and so sought to liberate and release them in an attempt to thwart the government plot. Blumberg admitted that he saw himself as a custodian of the things he took. He said he would never sell them because he thought that would be dishonest. He envisioned the items would be returned to the rightful owners after his death, or at least to another repository that could care for them. Despite these findings, Blumberg was convicted in 1991 as guilty, without reason of insanity. After serving a 4½-year sentence, Blumberg was released and continued his collecting and stealing habits.
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