I’ll admit, I first got into the jewelry business as a thief, I would sneak past the doormen in highrise apartment buildings and just let myself into any of the unlocked units and find jewelry. It’s amazing how many young, urban Americans never learned the importance in deadbolting their apartment doors. A knob lock is just so very easy to pick.
If you’re a jewelry thief, knowing good jewelry from the costume crap bought at most fast fashion stores in malls is clutch. I have spent a great deal of time in pawn shops trying to sell jewelry that turned out to be made of spray painted plastic.
I’m not going to give a step by step guide to being a modern urban jewel thief, but I will enumerate some of my favorite tips and anecdotes:
- I have the very fortunate skin color of Caucasian, which means most door men in most high rise apartment buildings in most major cities just assume I belong in there as long as I walk in behind someone with a key and make direct eye contact with my phone the entire walk from the door to the elevators. If I do get stopped by a doorman and asked question, which has happened fewer than three times every when I was doing this in at least two buildings a week for a year, I just give a vaguely white and/or Jewish name like “Josh Goldblatt” and if there isn’t one, I just am “in the wrong building.” White guys like me are always assumed innocent even when proven guilty.
- Dressing like you belong in there is very important for a thief or conner. No matter what the job, if your clothes are the thing that gives you away, then you’re just a lazy criminal. So for these jobs, I would just dress like a twenty-something fast fashion shopper. Two button downs and two pairs of slacks from H&M totaling $100 got me into every high rise apartment building in the downtown area!
- Don’t make small talk in the elevators. Heist movies will have you believe that casual small talk makes you a cool laid-back criminal not worried about trivialities like going to prison or whatever. But millennial-aged people don’t make small talk especially with their neighbors.
- You do not want to let yourself into an apartment only to realize there are people in there. This turns a simple robbery into an assault or manslaughter. Don’t assault people. Don’t slaughter people! Knock on doors, if somebody answers – you work for the building and you’re letting people know some trivial administrative issue about the building. If nobody answers – let yourself in by picking the knob lock (quickly). If you find someone in there once you’ve opened it, make the trivial administrative issue an emergency. I usually went with something like “the building is shutting off the water for three hours tomorrow during the day.” And in the situation where they answer, “the building is shutting off the water for the day tomorrow and last time there was a pipe burst in the walls of this apartment so I need to check those today before we shut it down tomorrow.” Most millennial-aged people work so hard all day at work and all evening on their freelance job and spend the rest of their time somehow having to explain to people how hard they actually work, so they are left with little time to handle things like life or happiness or knowing better than to allow strangers into their apartments.