May 31, 2017

Thieves break into give-away shop, take nothing

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:37 pm


In a give-away shop, people can come and take stuff. Sure, sometimes there are limits, but the stuff is still free and the shop has no use for money whatsoever.

Oddly enough, some thieves decided to bust into the give-away shop in Zeist, Utrecht and leave all their tools behind. The thieves came in at night, forced open the doors with a crowbar which they left along with some screwdrivers. And they didn’t even take anything.

According to the shop, the place was tossed and the thieves poked around everywhere, possibly trying to find stuff of value. It’s also possible that they were trying to open an old safe in this former school, but the safe has nothing of value in it. The place is going to incur costs to fix, but the shop was open for ‘business’ today already.

I dunno, maybe it was a practice run, albeit a dumb one.

(Link:, Photo of screwdriver by Noel Hankamer, some rights reserved)

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February 8, 2015

Robbers leave prints in the snow, get caught

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:59 am


Earlier this week the police in Haarlem caught two robbers by following their footprints in the snow, a bit like an old fashion television cartoon. A woman called about her shop being broken into in the middle of the night and when the police got there, they saw fresh footprints in the snow. They followed the footprints and found some of the loot the robbers made off with. They walked all the way to the suspects’ house, arrested the men and confiscated their shoes.

The men will now probably hate snow more than most people.


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January 31, 2015

Haarlem bans freezer bags used by thieves

Filed under: Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:10 pm


The city of Haarlem has changed its local city ordinance to include a ban on reusable supermarket freezer bags, used to carry home frozen food. The bags have an inner layer of aluminium that foils supermarket alarm systems, making them popular with thieves. What if a thief put the freezer bag in a regular bag?

The ordinance was modified to be easier and less odd for the police to stop and question people carrying freezer bags, a bit like monitoring people buying screwdrivers and crowbars at the DIY store. Or else it looks like the cops are trying to score pizza and ice cream.

Municipal council justified their decision by saying that now the police “will be less racist and won’t just stop people based on their appearance”.

The Mayor of Haarlem, Bernt Schneiders, who came up with this brilliant idea is the same man who got his silver livery collar stolen from his office in 2011 (maybe a freezer bag was involved) and who in 2008 ‘corrected’ the Mayor of Beijing Wang Qisham telling him the Dutch had invented the printing press even though he was dead wrong.

(Link:, Photo of Paris Louvre facepalm by Phelan Riessen, some rights reserved)

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August 13, 2013

Shoplifter leaves with photos instead of tablet

Filed under: Gadgets,Photography by Branko Collin @ 1:05 pm

Since last week the Amsterdam police are looking for a shoplifter who changed his mind while robbing a Kruidvat drugstore located in the De Pijp district.

Initially the man tried to steal a tablet computer that was stored in a display case, but later changed his mind. He left the fancy gear behind and took off with somebody’s printed photos. The man took off on a bicycle.

The video below shows the man entering the store and taking the tablet from the display case.

My theory is the man came in to collect his photos, saw an opportunity to acquire a tablet he had no money for, then realised the bulge in his jacket would look suspicious at the register. OK, so it’s not a very good theory. What do you think was in those pictures?

The video doubles as a free instructional film on Dutch bicycle etiquette. The shoplifter first secures the rear wheel using his wheel lock, then does the same using a chain lock.

(Photo/video: (YouTube))

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August 4, 2013

Drug dealer accepts payment in Lego

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:09 am

A 34-year-old from Groningen paid for his drug addiction by stealing expensive Lego and Playmobil kits, Spitsnieuws reports.

The addict told the court his dealer accepted payment in toys. The boxes he stole from a local toy store were valued up to 190 euro a piece.

Algemeen Dagblad quotes his lawyer who explained the popularity of Lego as follows: “Lego is easy to shift. Once children have been exposed to their first brick, they’re hooked.”

The justice department demands 265 days imprisonment, of which 180 days are suspended. The papers do not say what the suspect is supposed to be addicted to.

Fueling addictions with Lego, even if they’re not addictions to Lego, could become a trend. In 2011 a 21-year-old woman from Dublin was convicted to 200 hours of community service for stealing Lego, Transformer toys and bubble bath sets to pay for her heroin addiction, writes.

(Photo by Sunny Ripert, some rights reserved)

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September 19, 2012

Weed grower electrocuted in neighbour’s crawlspace

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:58 pm

Two weeks ago a man from De Meern near Utrecht was found dead in the crawlspace of his neighbour’s house.

According to the Utrecht police, the 46-year-old had electrocuted himself trying to steal his neighbour’s electricity. He had dug a tunnel underneath the foundation of both houses. The police had to cut out the neighbour’s floor to retrieve the corpse, which they believe had been lying there for no more than a day.

Parool adds that the man was a marijuana grower, which would explain why he had been looking for ways to lower his electricity bills, as weed growers use high powered lamps.

Earlier this year a 23-year-old weed grower from Oss in Noord Brabant was also electrocuted while working in his marijuana nursery.

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October 9, 2010

iPhone app developer catches iPhone thief using his app

Filed under: Gadgets,Gaming by Branko Collin @ 2:30 pm

A thief stealing an iPhone got caught after logging into the online game Merchant, Bright reports.

The phone belonged to Merchant developer Richard Osinga who kept an eye out for his phone’s IP number, and sure enough the dumb thief decided to try out the game and inadvertently handed himself in that way.

Osinga’s blog does not mention what data he collected to be able to find the thief. It took the police half a year to catch the criminal, but last Thursday they finally could report to the victim that they had got his iPhone back.

(Photo: Merchant.)

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July 25, 2009

Invalid car failure as getaway vehicle

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 1:27 pm

Last Sunday the Utrecht police caught a 37-year-old thief who had stolen two car radios.

Witnesses had spotted the man breaking into a car and called the police, who had no trouble whatsoever taking over the thief’s low-speed microcar to stop and arrest him, reports Telegraaf (Dutch). The article doesn’t tell whether the man was actually disabled or whether he merely used an invalid car as a decoy. Still, I am sure there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Those with reduced mobility often use a microcar to get around in the Netherlands. These cars are typically rated as mopeds, and cannot go faster than 40 kilometres an hour. A popular brand is the Canta.

(Image based on a public domain icon from the US FHWA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.)

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