The Perfect Burglary

We’ve all done it – thought through a life of crime; imagined what it would be like to pull off a high-risk burglary or bank robbery. Movies like The Italian Job, The Usual Suspects, they make it look so cool. What stops most of us from doing anything even remotely like this is the consequences. We’ve been taught repeatedly that the bad guy always gets caught in the end.

However, sometimes, they don’t get caught. Such is the case of eight men and women who broke into the Media, Pennsylvania FBI office on March 8th, 1971. Several of the burglars (though not all) have chosen to speak publicly about their involvement, now that the statute of limitations is up and they cannot be tried for their act.

BURGLARS
John and Bonnie Raines, two of the burglars, at home in Philadelphia with their grandchildren. Mark Makela for The New York Times

The burglary was a (successful) attempt to gain access to documents from the FBI that would prove that the bureau had been spying on domestic dissident groups, and using….unconventional methods…to get the results that they wanted. It’s not unlike the acts of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden more recently.

While I certainly don’t intend to start a political war in the comments, I highlight this to point out how satisfying this experience must be. While most lawbreakers have to either suffer in silence, unable to brag to anyone about what they’ve done, or suffer in prison, paying the price for their actions, these eight men and women not only got their cake, but now, they get to eat it, too.

The team selectively mailed documents that they obtained to reporters over years. One of those reporters, Betty Medsger, has written a book about the burglary after speaking with several members of the team. It promises to be a fascinating read.

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

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