Sunday, January 27, 2008

burglaries at schools

For those of you upper middle-class people living in Baltimore who may not have heard: Bryn Mawr and Boys' Latin schools got broken into a couple of weeks ago.

Bryn Mawr was broken into overnight with a substantial loss reported by the Sun to be over $20,000; sources report it was higher.

Boys' Latin was broken into a night or two later, overnight, and cash was stolen as well as an unknown amount of property. The damage was reported to be so great that classes in the affected areas had to be relocated or cancelled for a day or two.

Buz sources indicated that these were both "professional jobs", using glass cutters, avoiding alarms which might alert the local gendarmes, and knowing exactly where the selected electronics (laptops, and projectors) were stored. Of course, this has all the earmarks of "inside information". The suspect poured sodas and other beverages over everything to try to make authorities believe that kids did it. Sources report that the police are focusing on the security company which both schools use. That's probably a good start, but investigators probably should not put all their eggs in that basket (though it's a good one). Even more important is which, if any, guards had worked at both schools (maybe many). There may be other contractors, such as construction types, cleanup crews, event staff, and even students attending athletic events, who could be on the lookout for way to get goodies for nothing. Or it could simply be good ol' fashioned burglars who did some good scouting. It doesn't really take a genius to figure out where alarms are or are not, but ya gotta know where the good stuff is. Somebody who looks, but pretends he's not looking. Somebody who no one thinks is bad. How about new faculty who worked at both schools?! But the usual suspects are the most likely: someone who legitimately was on the premises and got greedy, perhaps was in Baltimore's drug world or let slip, deliberately or otherwise, where the good stuff was and how to get to it.

Remember the Pepe's Murder!? A trusted employee told his junkie brother when the boss would be thee by himself to open up the place and how much money could be expected where. Just give brother a little cut. The owner was found stabbed to death, the body discovered by the employee who had been allowed to live upstairs and had worked there for years. When the cops asked if they could look in his place, he said sure. A lifted mattress found bloody money, a search warrant, and a trip to Towson. Both brothers got 30+ years.

Most organizations, including private schools, are too laissez faire about certain kinds of security--and this is discovered soon enough by some greedy dirt-ball, often someone within their own organization. Most organizations need a consult with a paranoid, suspicious, but sensible security person--like me.

These projectors and laptops are and have been the treasured piece for burglars for a while now. (Soon to be outdone by GPS devices.) Any school or business that has projectors or laptops: look out: they're eventually gonna come for you. Buz wonders where they sell all this stuff at. Betcha 2-1 that the police department doesn't know (of course, our licensed pawn shops wouldn't take in any stolen stuff would they?!) Nah, they're all 100% law-abiding. Except of course they may lie when the victim asks: did you take in any laptops recently. No, they said (my wife's was in the back room, legally reported to the police as required, but he wasn't going to tell US).

How bout bars: think they sell any of this stuff in the rest rooms of bars or out of trunks of cars. Betcha: 3-1 that so-called decent law-abiding people buy this stuff--like projectors and laptops and GPS things.

Buz heard that Bryn Mawr used to have a security guard on premises around the clock. He wonders if they dispensed with that because of the cost and relied instead on technology. Most people don't understand that tech has its place but is limited in what it can do. Notice the wave of residential burglaries in Pigtown--some of which had alarms. Technology is just a start, but has to be supplemented with the human element, policies, practices, procedures, hardware and defense in depth.

Who knows!? We hope the cops get these guys, and will be interested in finding out who if they do. In the meantime, business and school and nonprofit leaders: watch out! They're comin' for you or more specifically, your stuff. Trusted retired cops can help!

No comments: