Echo! (Echo!)

(Heh! When I hit ‘Save’ on this entry, there was a net.burp and, for the first time ever, I got a duplicate post. Figures it would happen with that title, eh? 🙂 )

Sometimes I Delight In finding two or three weird stories in a short amount of time, and running them all together in the same issue. It happens more often than you might think (especially if you’re not a Premium subscriber, and don’t see all the stories).

Other times, the stories come out a couple of weeks apart. Such is the case this month, with two extraordinarily similar stories — except for their outcomes.

The first is from the 15 July issue:

Google — What Can’t it Do?

Security cameras at Bigg City, a family amusement business in Colorado Springs, Colo., show the two burglars as they enter the facility with a key. They even apparently had the combinations to the safes inside, but even with those they couldn’t get the three safes open. The security footage goes on for an hour and 15 minutes until one of the burglars got an idea: he stepped to a running computer and searched Google for “how to open a safe” to get help. With detailed instructions from an online site (spin the dial a couple of times first!), they got the safes open and escaped with about $12,000 in cash, a laptop computer, and a PlayStation video game console. “They’re not professional safe people,” said Colorado Springs police detective Chuck Ackerman. “No, they’re not.” (Colorado Springs Gazette) …With reasoning ability like that, you can see why he was promoted to detective.

After I wrote that story, I found this one, which ran in this week’s (29 July) issue:

Low Brow, High Tech

Two employees of a restaurant outside New Castle, Del., went into the office after closing and found a man inside. The man ran out the back door, but was caught by police nearby. Police identified him as Branden M. Tingey, 28, who was a manager at the restaurant three years ago, but was fired. “This was a burglary,” said police Cpl. Joseph DiStefano. “He meant to rob the safe.” The problem was, he didn’t know how. Investigators checked a computer in the office and found Tingey was trying to get instructions over the Internet. “The [current restaurant] manager moved the mouse on the darkened screen” for investigators, DiStefano said, “and ‘How to Crack a Safe’ came up on the screen on the Yahoo page.” (Wilmington News Journal) …Remember, kids: successful safe robbers choose Google.

It turns out that the second one actually occurred first. Too bad, since if Tingey had known that Google gives better results on this topic, he may have gotten away with it too.

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5 Comments on “Echo! (Echo!)

  1. “It turns out that the second one actually occurred first.”

    Oh well. There goes my theory that Mr. Tingey was a “True” subscriber.

  2. The method is right, the goal is wrong… Nothing wrong with using Google to get yourself a walkthrough for tying a tie, or reassembling a keyboard. Cracking a safe? Hmm. It’s times like this when you realise how stupid it is to use a shared computer for extremely private business!!

  3. See, if criminals were intelligent, they would look up how to crack a safe BEFORE they actually get to the safe. Maybe even print out directions or something.

    Then again, putting criminal(s) and intelligence in the same sentence is kind of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

    Yep. There have been cases of people doing their searches at home — and their searches have been used as evidence in their trials. It includes a woman who researched poisons online, and used the knowledge to murder her husband. The story didn’t make the cut to be included in TRUE. -rc

  4. I didn’t see where it was reported that the two burglars were caught. If they weren’t caught, then why would anyone say they weren’t intelligent. It’s wrong to rob, but they were smart enough to find the solution. The unintelligible person is the one who left the computer running without locking it down.

  5. Okay, a challenge; it begs a response.

    It’s titled Low Brow, High Tech, implying the man was stupid. “The man ran out the back door, but was caught by police nearby.” I guess it DOES say that he was caught. And likely he was caught because he had to spend extra time trying to find out how to do the job he wanted to do. Pretty stupid.

    The Google; What Can’t It Do? story wasn’t about the lack of intelligence on the burglar’s part, but that Google is so ubiquitous that even criminals use it in their pursuits. Although there was a definite comment about the deductive reasoning of the detective on the case.

    Still, how many professionals do you think need to stop in the middle of their work to consult Google? I’d say it does point to a lack of intelligence if they’re not already prepared for their job. Would you trust a doctor who needed to consult Google for more information in the middle of your cardiac surgery?

    “Low brow” is meant to infer low sophistication, not low intelligence. -rc

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