Anatomy of a well planned burglary

Further to my post the other day about the burglary in Kerrisdale, the following photographs are from a burglary in Vancouver that occurred about 5 years ago. The burglary was well planned and took advantage of one of the most common security mistakes that people make… focusing all of their security on the front and back of their store, office or home.

Here is what happened….

First, rather than breaking in through the front or back doors, the crooks (and there had to be at least 3 or 4) discovered that the easiest point of entry to their target was to go through the middle, rather than the front or back.

So, they (likely with someone standing watch for security or the Police) removed a panel of insulation and cut through the exterior wall to gain entry into the storage shed of the neighbours store.


Once inside the storage shed (which did not have an alarm), they could comfortably work inside, undetected, and cut through the multiple layers of gyprock and plywood separating the two stores. The photo below is from the inside of the storage shed, looking into the victim’s store.


From the shed, they were able to gain access into the womens wear section of their target…


Womenswear was not what the crooks were after… but given that it
was available, and they had to get through the department anyways on
the way to the goods that they really wanted to steal, they took
everything. Every single item.

After cleaning out this section, they cut yet another hole to get
into the menswear section… which is what they were really after…


Here is the other side of the wall, leading into menswear…


Once inside the menswear department, they also cleaned it out completely… but only in those areas behind the motion detector that you can see in the photo below…


As the photo above illustrates, these crooks did a fair bit of homework. They had visited the store at least once to determine where all of the motion detectors in the store were located.

They figured out which racks were the safest and didn’t risk setting off the alarm by stepping a foot beyond the ‘safe zone’ that they had discovered in the middle of the store.

We were brought in and installed shock sensors on both side walls as well as on the ceiling of the 2nd floor of the space. Additional glassbreak and motion sensors were installed in every area of the store to ensure that any attempted entry, from any direction would be detected as early as possible. The other thing that we did was split out all of the zones.

The net result for this client is the same thing that we remind every one of our clients still… your security is in your redundancy. To the extent that you are relying on any single device, whether it is your telephone line, a motion detector or the contacts on your front or back door to work… you are putting yourself at significant, and unnecessary, risk.

A properly designed alarm system needs to be just that, properly designed. One size does not fit all.

What are the weak points in your space?

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