Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lost Corners of the Internet:
Stealing the Hope Diamond

Yahoo! Answers was launched 12 years ago, in the summer of 2005. Since it is almost entirely community-based, in terms of both its questions and answers, it's probably not the Hub of Ultimate Knowledge that its creators envisioned. That seems to be more the domain of Wikipedia, or Time-Life books.

It would be hard, even for me, to take the stance that everything on Yahoo! Answers should be saved and archived for posterity. It's a website that has hosted questions such as "Do Midgets Have Night Vision?" and "How Am I Sure I'm the Real Mom of My Kid?" and "Are There Birds in Canada?" and — please make it stop! — "Are There Gravity in India?"1

These Q&A archives are not required for posterity. In fact, we really don't want to give future generations and civilizations such obvious proof that we were this bleeping dumb.

There are, however, some comic gems within the swamp of Yahoo! Answers.

In one case, it was the answer to the legitimate — if absolutely illegal — question: "If you had to, how would you go about stealing the Hope Diamond?"

Here is the "Best Answer," which was provided 11 years ago by the wonderfully named user "WrathOfKublaKhan":
Hmmmm.

I'd need a major distraction. I'd probably get my gang to start breaking windows of the local jewelry stores and local museums as well. Then I'd get on the police band and begin reporting "officer down" at various locations.

Having done that, I'd already be hidden inside the museum's security closet for the past 10 hours. I'd disconnect the alarm and the communications and the security camera. Likely I'd have to peacefully hypnotize the guards into thinking they were my friends.

Then -- I'd head for the storage area (with my new friends and their keys) and get a big fork lift. Using the forklift, I'd ram the wall around the container holding the Hope Diamond and the other precious jewels on display. Bashing the wall down, I'd collect all my goodies ... and then toss some fakes onto the floor and leave my "conspiracy theory" note.

Then, I'd lift the lunch boxes of my friends and hide in the ceiling and release my friend guards from their daze.

24 hours later, I fall from the ceiling (dressed in white overalls) into the area being repaired that the Hope Diamond was in. I'd swear up a storm about trying to fix the duct work's new security cams. And complaining the whole time, leave to my "van."

I'd send notes to the media so they could find the 10 different locations of all the jewels spread all over the country -- they'd all be there except the one with the Hope Diamond, I'd hope they'd think that it had somehow got stolen again!

Having pulled off the ultimate heist, I'd then wear it around my neck in the bathtub while softly singing to myself.
So, to be clear, here's the checklist of things you'd need to pull off the above-described heist:
  • A gang to create distractions throughout the area
  • A police radio
  • Ticket to the National Museum of Natural History ($22)
  • Kit to disconnect alarm
  • Kit to disconnect communications
  • Kit to disconnect security camera
  • Expert-level hypnotism skills
  • Forklift
  • Several world-class fake jewels
  • "Conspiracy theory" note
  • White overalls
  • Van
  • Note paper, envelopes and stamps — to write to the media
  • More world-class fake jewels
  • Logistics plan and travel budget for spreading fake jewels around the country
  • Chain to turn Hope Diamond into a necklace
  • Bathtub
  • Song to sing softly to yourself

That's pretty much all it would take. I'm sure Danny Ocean could pull together a team to make it happen.

Footnote
1. Source: "38 Yahoo Questions That Will Destroy Your Faith In Humanity" by Logan Rhoades of BuzzFeed. Here's one more: "How Do I Test To See If My Turtle Is Gay?"

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