Saturday, September 25, 2010

wanted! vacuum burglars!

A recent article in The Sun shows that there is no end to the creative use of pneumatic tubes:

"A GANG of thieves armed with a powerful vacuum cleaner that sucks cash from supermarket safes has struck for the FIFTEENTH time in France. The burglars broke into their latest store near Paris and drilled a hole in the "pneumatic tube" that siphons money from the checkout to the strong-room. They then sucked rolls of cash totalling £60,000 from the safe without even having to break its lock. Police said the gang — dubbed the Vacuum Burglars — always raid Monoprix supermarkets and have hit 15 of the stores branches around Paris in the past four years. A spokesman added: "They spotted a weakness in the company's security system and have been exploiting it ever since. Since 2006 they have stolen more than 500,000 euros and caused damage to alarm systems and other property totalling thousands more. It is clearly time Monoprix addressed this loophole and changed the way it guards its money.""

Great use of the word loophole!

Could this spate of robberies spell the end for pneumatic tubes in supermarkets (see this video for a demonstration of how the system works in this setting)? What does it mean for banks, where telescreens and pneumatic tubes are being installed in 'remote teller stations' to increase efficiency and improve safety and security?

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