In April’s Wired, they have a story on Gerald Blanchard – a thief who would give Thomas Crown a run for his money. The entire is thrilling: from the heists, to the backstory on Blanchard’s criminal organization, breaking out of jail twice!, to his subsequent arrest by two Winnipeg policemen.
Blanchard pulled off his first heist when he was a 6-year-old living with his single mother in Winnipeg. The family couldn’t afford milk, and one day, after a long stretch of dry cereal, the boy spotted some recently delivered bottles on a neighbor’s porch. “I snuck over there between cars like I was on some kind of mission,” he says. “And no one saw me take it.” His heart was pounding, and the milk was somehow sweeter than usual. “After that,” he says, “I was hooked.”
It was his savant-like gift for preparation and exploiting mechanical security devices that gave him an edge.
Blanchard began mastering the workings of myriad mechanical devices and electronics. He became obsessed with cameras and surveillance: documenting targets, his own exploits, and his huge piles of money. Befitting a young tech enthusiast, he emptied an entire RadioShack one Easter Sunday. At age 16, he bought a house with more than $100,000 in cash. (He hired a lawyer to handle the money and sign the deal on his behalf.) When he moved in, Blanchard told his mother that the home belonged to a friend. “She looked the other way,” Blanchard says. “And I tried to keep it all from her.”