Last week, they arrested a group of people who they had been tracking for the longest time: their crime? Ingeniously, they took photos of speeding cars on the highway, issued very realistic if not identical speeding tickets, and waited for the money to roll in.
Now, if people actually went ahead and paid the tickets, our criminals really would have been rolling in the dough. But instead, although their takings were fairly limited, money was still coming into their coffers.
The Italians are nothing if not ingenious and enterprising. With all the rules and regulations that abound here, well, getting around them simply takes sheer wit. And, if you ask me, there should be some sort of clemency program whereby, the more ingenious the crime, the lesser the punishment. Sort of like hackers who go in, cause trillions in damages, and end up with a fabulous new job at a major multinational corporation.
One crime demonstrated such genius, I was seriously disappointed I hadn’t thought of it myself. One night in Naples, thieves actually built an exact replica of an ATM Cash machine, signs and all. People stepped up, inserted their codes, and the card was eaten due to ‘technical difficulties’. Not an unlikely occurrence, they simply stepped away.
Later that day, the thieves would take all the cards with all the codes to a real cash machine and withdraw as much as they could. At 250 euro max withdrawal, they couldn’t take out oodles of money, but hey, I think they get an ‘A’ for effort. Absolute brilliance.
They have other more ingenious crimes which rake in much more, usually at the expense of the elderly and infirm. And for these crimes, I would never take exception: people who dress up as police or utilities people, get into the house, spray the unsuspecting victim with chloroform and take everything they have. The practice is so prevalent, they could start their own worker’s union. Or, even people who befriend the slightly dotty Signora, and then make off with her life’s savings. No, for these crimes I would throw the book at ‘em.
I myself once fell for the new rule passed one year that forced us all to install smoke detectors. Not thinking like an Italian, I decided: well, sure…I better get one – it’s the law. So, when the two guys showed up with an official document, the unit in question and asked to install it for a mere $200, hey, I was all set. Until this summer, when my sister showed up with two battery-operated units straight from the dollar store to install in her vacation home.
But, as for the rest, we oftentimes have a good laugh over the sheer chutzpah – until, of course, we fall victim ourselves.