We’d like to make it clear that, here at Shortlist, we do not, as a general rule, condone crime. Crime doesn’t pay, causes great upset to many and is a complete waste of police resources. If you were thinking of committing a crime, it would probably be much better for everyone if you just didn’t. So no, we do not condone crime. Except for this guy, who tried to steal a venetian blind by stuffing it down his trousers.
We’ve all had those moments of fleeting deviance, where a wicked thought crosses our minds. We see a tiny window of opportunity, a chink in a shop’s armour – a blind spot from the CCTV, or a decrepit security guard, perhaps – then think “I could probably get away with not paying for this…” Maybe it was a single Mars Bar slipped into your pocket as a troubled teen, or maybe it was something a lot worse, like company money in a Ponzi scheme (and we hope you’re serving some serious jail time if it was, buddy.) But it probably wasn’t an entire venetian blind.
This fella has wandered round Nene Valley Retail Park in Northampton, looking at all sorts of products that lend themselves far more easily (though no more morally) to robbing – shoes, video games, smartphones – and the thought hasn’t entered his mind. “I’d love to have this for free,” he’s thought, turning a Twix over his palm. “But I should respect the law.” He’s put it back on the shelf and made to leave, when something’s caught his attention. It’s a diamond to a magpie. It’s venetian blinds.
He wants them. He’s got to have them. He must have them. But he can’t just grab them and run. No, no, no. He must use subtle and cunning. But how? They’re too unwieldy. Surely, someone will notice? Then he remembers: “I’m wearing clothes…” Perfect! He giddily removes the venetian blinds from the stand, sweating, heart-thumping in his chest. He looks left, then looks right, inhales and exhales deeply, then skilfully stuffs it down his trousers and up the back of his jacket in one swift movement.
Knowing that the proportions of his body now look what one might tentatively call ‘suspicious’ or ‘like a man with a venetian blind obviously stuffed down his trousers and up his jacket’, he tiptoes towards the exit, whistling a not-suspicious tune that says to all watching “Don’t mind me! I’m just here to browse the venetian blinds! Won’t be making a purchase today, mind!” He reaches the elevator and clocks himself in the mirror. The Hustle music starts playing in his mind. He’s done it! He’s got away with it! The con… is on!
Or, at least it was on, up until this sorry twist in the tale, as detailed by Northamptonshire Police report: “[The man] then left the store making no attempt to pay for the item. He was followed by staff up a nearby canal path, where he dropped the blind before making off.”
Picture that for a second: this man trying to make a getaway along a canal with a venetian blind stuffed down his trousers and up his jacket, and so almost certainly hobbling, veering violently towards falling in the canal with each stride. It’s pure Benny Hill. This is the CCTV footage the world demands to see.
Unfortunately, as the report concludes: “The blind was damaged as a result.”
For the purpose of balance and ‘not encouraging our readers to shoplift venetian blinds’, we will conclude with Northamptonshire Police’s plea for help: “Officers would like to speak with the man pictured or anyone with information can contact Northamptonshire Police on 101. Alternatively, they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”