There was a time when van thieves were primitive in their ways. Sure, the famous “Houdini” had his tricks, but the thieves had not caught up.
While Houdini was doing his famous escape tricks to wow amazed onlookers, your average van criminal was still operating with a crow bar.
“Smash the windows and get the loot,” they would shout to their fellow gang members, and then everyone would scramble to get a piece of the pie before the rozzers showed up.
These days most of those old timer van criminals have their feet up and are enjoying their retirement, but that has given way to a new type of criminal to enter the underworld of van crime.
The gangs are way more organised than your old timers, and operate with the kind of wit and cunning that Houdini would have been proud of.
Take the recent story of a plumber in Hartlepool, who parked his van in the same spot that he had been parking for years. Outside his home. The place where thousands of tradespeople park their vans, of course.
In days gone by this was a great place to park, because the van owners would quickly be alerted to something going on.
As soon as a crow bar smashed the window then your average plumber, back then, would have been alerted, even at 2am, and would then be able to grab his plunger and give chase.
However, the year is now 2018 and van criminals operate in a completely different way. Some people are calling it magic.
This particular plumber in Hartlepool had a camera watching his van you see, and when he went down the next morning and found £2000 worth of tools stolen, what he did was go straight to the video tape.
On that tape he saw something so amazing, and so bizarre, that he would no doubt have paid good money to see it performed on the stage.
Pay for it he did though, with £2000 worth of tools out of his van.
What he saw on that tape was a gang of thieves walk by his van in the early hours of the morning, before the birds started singing. Silence would have been the main focus of the neighbourhood, and a passing cat the only movement.
What he saw though, made his jaw drop in awe and his mind wonder…”Just what is going on here?”
That is because those van thieves managed to unlock his van without even touching it.
It is the kind of trick that would make ordinary people scratch their heads and wonder if they were dreaming. The plumber wasn’t dreaming though, and his tools just vanished right into the night.
While it’s easy to look at this as some kind of magic trick, the reality is that these gangs are now armed with remote devices, that can be used to flash the lights of the van and unlock it.
My advice to protect yourself against this? Make sure you get as much van insurance as you can, the kind of insurance that protects you in the event of tool theft.