Sunday, 23 November 2014



Fashion Victims


It’s rather unlikely that a burka constitutes anyone’s idea of haute mode. But the biohazard tent-like garments sure enough discourage skirt chasing and suggestive leering. It’s impossible to guess who’s concealed underneath. It could be Elvis, it could be a supermodel, it could be a jewel thief; you just don’t know, you never can tell.


Crime, as everybody knows, is a scourge on society. No argument here. Yet in the darkness of the cinema we’ve been seduced by elegant, charming and witty thieves and grifters: Cary Grant, David Niven, Robert Wagner, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, George Clooney and Brad Pitt. And there’s no denying that certain genuine criminals and certain real-life capers captivate the public’s imagination in something of a romantic way. Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs died a folk hero. Ned Kelly’s violent legacy in the Australian state of Victoria is that of a tourist magnet.


The neighbourhood of York Mills constitutes a substantial part of Toronto’s Millionaires’ Row. When you breathe in the rare air you smell money. It was the scene last week of a spectacular and audacious jewelry heist. Two armed robbers carrying purses and draped in burkas lifted half a million dollars’ worth of ice from a local jewelry store. One of the suspects is believed to be male. A CCTV security image reproduced in the newspaper shows a sci-fi figure clad entirely in black brandishing a black automatic pistol. ISIS couldn’t touch this Islam glam. The getaway driver was idling in the back alley.

Luxury accoutrements and shiny baubles mean nothing to me so it’s tempting to write that the job was a brilliant and victimless crime. However, the store owner and an employee were menaced at gunpoint and the store’s insurance provider is on the hook for the loot. Despite those two not insignificant concerns, I must confess an appreciation of the bad guys’ or gals’ scheme. I admire their style.

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