Ms Scholz, how do perpetrators prepare for major robberies? What resources do they need and what do they do?
Basically, nothing is left to chance in this setting. Which is why I chose a saying by Voltaire as my motto when I started working in various risk areas: “Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.” Perpetrators select their objects systematically, rather than making random decisions during breakfast. There are numerous “scouts” who “visit” various facilities to thoroughly study the procedures, doing reconnaissance. They register all security-relevant details required to get access to the object of desire. Even the most trivial details that wouldn’t be noticed by employees or real customers may be decisive for the subsequent decision to break into or rob a particular facility.
In addition, major undertakings require a lot of man-power and know-how. The financial means required to buy getaway vehicles, passports, tickets, weapons and the like are calculated and offset against the anticipated profit: a cost/benefit analysis as in any other well-managed enterprise. Only if the profit seems worth the trouble will the preparations for the criminal act be continued. Otherwise, the project will be abandoned, and some other object that can be “entered more easily” will be chosen. A full reconnaissance is made with regard to mechanical, electronic and personal security measures. If they find any weak spots, this is where they start. A minimum of time is calculated for executing the robbery, for once an alarm is triggered, perpetrators are often caught very quickly. In order to prevent this, the getaway part following the robbery is also perfectly organised down to the tiniest detail.
The means of escape and any disguises that may have been used are discarded during the getaway. Sometimes a change of clothes is involved as well. There is only a very short period of time during which the perpetrators could be caught with the stolen goods. After a few minutes, hours at most, the stolen goods will be on their previously well-thought-out transport route – either smuggled or even shipped legally, with forged transport documents. The perpetrators will take an entirely different route.