Here is a caper that is perhaps more fit to grace the pages of a movie script than a news site, but it is true nonetheless. Over £33,000 ($41,000) in coins were stolen from a distribution company in the Stoke Gifford village of South Gloucestershire, England. It was not the sum but the method by which it was stolen that makes this crime truly bizarre.
It was five in the morning on July 20th of last year when a resident of Bristol’s Greenway Park phoned authorities to report some suspicious activity. The resident noticed a group of men sneaking bags from a vehicle into their home.
Police arrived to the home in question and knocked on the door. One of the men opened the door, but upon seeing the officer attempted to slam it shut. The police officer threw his shoulder against the door and struggled against the man until finally it flew open. What lay waiting, though, was more than the officer had anticipated.
Buckets overflowing with coins, money bags from the distribution company, and a large cardboard box used to house stolen coins furnished the living room.
"Following a thorough investigation, the evidence gathered against these four men was overwhelming resulting in them admitting a charge of handling stolen goods in court," said police constable James Nolan.
The man found inside the home, Andrew Monks, was subsequently sentenced to a year in prison. Accomplice Neil Griffin, found hiding in nearby bushes with only sweatpants to keep warm, was also sentenced to a year in prison. Jordan Hughes and Asa Alvis were found hiding behind a shed. Hughes received one year in prison while Alvis, the unluckiest of the bunch, was made to serve 22 months.
The investigation revealed that the criminals used ladders to scale the side of the building. They covered surveillance cameras, and forced their way into the distribution center. Once inside, the men shoveled mounds of coin into plastic buckets. The buckets were then carried to the ground via a makeshift zip line the men had set up outside.
"The break-in at the coin distribution company was clearly well-planned and executed,” said Nolan.
The thieves, while clever, were anything but inconspicuous. When employees showed up for work, a mere two hours later, they were alarmed to see a ladder leaning against the facility and coins scattered about the interior.
Authorities concede, however, that they would not have been able to connect these parties to the crime if had not been for the watchful eye of their Greenway Park neighbor.
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