Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Crime Imitating Art

It's always fun to read about a story where life may have imitated a crime film, especially when it involves a robbery (of a place loaded with money) and nobody gets hurt.  

In case you didn't hear, I thought it hard not to pass this story along, how on Saturday night at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York, three workers were moving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, when two men carrying guns and wearing surgical masks held them up and robbed them.  Their haul: over $200,000.

This is not the first time a racetrack in the United States has been hit by robbers, but I wonder if there were any such heists before 1956, the year Stanley Kubrick's great racetrack heist film, The Killing, was made.  Of course, anyone who pulls off such a robbery could also have drawn inspiration from the novel the film is based on, Clean Break by Lionel White.  You never know who reads what and maybe these two particular robbers are crime fiction readers, but if they drew inspiration from anything fictional, I'd put my money on the film more than on the book.  Their original brilliant touch -- it's hard not smile -- is the surgical masks.  How conspicuous would masks like these be in normal times?  They'd get noticed in a second.  But now, with the coronavirus fear and people all over wearing masks, these guys fit right in with the crowd.  That they would cooly take advantage of a public health scare to effect a successful heist is a touch I think Stanley Kubrick would appreciate and his co-scriptwriter on the film, Jim Thompson. 

Anyway, here's the story as the NYC paper, The Post, reported it a couple of days agoAqueduct Racetrack Heist.

Was it an inside job? That's what one racetrack employee has told the paper.  And whether the robbers will get away free and clear, who knows?  But they have already done better and gotten farther away than the group that robbed the racetrack money in The Killing.  Maybe they're sitting somewhere right now congratulating themselves on how they've done better than Sterling Hayden and his crew.  Not that, as the film shows, anything at any time, however small and arbitrary, can't trip up your best-laid plans...

We'll have to see how this plays out for the robbers.

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