back to article Aluminum-wrapped robbers fail to foil bank

It's a tip of the tinfoil hat today to the two Brazilian blaggers who attempted to do over a bank last Saturday while wrapped in aluminium foil. According to O Globo, the pair hoped a metallic cladding would screen them from alarm sensors as they forced their way into the branch of Banco do Brasil, in Praia Grande, São Paulo …

  1. Tezfair

    probably worked at home

    Most PIR sensors seem to work on movement of heat, so guess they thought the banks security was based on home security systems.

  2. Sequin

    Not so stupid

    I assume they were trying to avoid setting off infrared sensors by shielding their body heat, though a sheet of glass would have worked better:

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Not so stupid

      What they missed is that banks and similar outfits in addition to PIR, active IR (your fav stupid spy flick laser sensor) also employ ultrasound ones (similar to the ones used by car alarms). In fact, these are cheaper when covering large spaces like open plan offices.

      While it is theoretically (and sometimes practically) possible to cheat any one of these sensors on its own, it is practically impossible to do this when they are used at the same time. A perfect PIR defence will trigger active IR or ultrasound or vice versa.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Perfect PIR defense

        Except in Hollywood, where they use lasers that unaccountably allow gaps for a skilled acrobat to move between the beams! For some reason they don't use lasers in combination with motion sensors, but instead you face the lasers alone and then the ultrasonic motion sensors alone - never together because that wouldn't allow our hero/villain to get through!

        1. Valeyard

          Re: Perfect PIR defense

          I thought it was only hollywood where banks had security. ours was the classic PIR and the cameras were mostly fake, except one which would shoot about 100 rapid stills in a few seconds and then you had to send the drum away, waiting weeks for replacement, during which you had no camera if it went off by mistake, which it always did as the cleaners were too busy lugging their gear in most evenings to make a dash for the alarm panel in a timely fashion

          I was even proud to be the only one that could remember our police abort code, but when a girl hit the under-the-table alarm switch instead of the under-the-table-button-to-let-me-in-behind-the-counter which was right beside it(!) and the police rang, she just said "false alarm sorry" and they hung up without even asking the abort code.

          I can guarantee you these places are a lot less tooled up than you think

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Not so stupid

        The other thing they missed was that the bank was streaming it's CCTV to an external control centre where people were actually watching it.

        Other than doing the movie thing of hacking in and looping the footage, there's not really a way round that. (Except bribery I suppose, sometimes the people are the weak link)

    2. entropyk48

      Re: Not so stupid

      Yay Mythbusters! Sad the show is ending.

  3. RIBrsiq

    Just when I think no one on the planet could possibly do anything dumber, someone pulls something like this.

  4. Florida1920
  5. psychonaut

    even stupider

    in the linked article, we get

    "He explained that he had paid 5 million rials (just under £290) to a wizard imposter, who in return gave hims spells to tie to his arm. The sorcerer told him that they would make him invisible, and that he could then rob banks to his heart’s content."

    the bit that gets me here is "wizard imposter".

    meaning that he still thinks "if i had just gone to a REAL wizard"....

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: even stupider

      The trick is not to pay someone who's got "Wizzard" written on his hat, with most of the sequins having fallen off...

    2. BongoJoe

      Re: even stupider

      meaning that he still thinks "if i had just gone to a REAL wizard"....

      OFF TOPIC. I was passing through Glastonbury the other week and I was watching a street hawker selling his wares. "Top quality magical poetry" he would exclaim to all and sundry.

      I was thinking: is there any other acceptable type?

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Top quality magical poetry

        There is another type of acceptable poetry, but you only resort to Vogon poetry when waterboarding fails.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: even stupider

      'the bit that gets me here is "wizard imposter".'

      Yup, just a paper MCSE, not a real Admin....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Were they going to wrap the blow torches in foil as well? What about the metal detectors in the bank?

    I don't think this was a very well thought out plan, still you have to admire their metal.

    1. entropyk48

      ...admire their mettle. I think the punned (?) word is meant to be spelled correctly. I don't know, just seems like it should be.

  7. Blofeld's Cat


    A golden opportunity to say "Curses, foiled again !"

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Hmm...

      Silver opportunity, surely?

      [Yes, really aluminium, but you know the colour most commonly associated with uniform-spectrum metallic reflections]

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Betamax Bandits

    From the footage i thought that 'The Mighty Boosh' might be makin a comeback.

  9. ElRodders

    So the plan was foiled?

  10. BurnT'offering

    Insanity defence

    Doctor, doctor - I think I'm a baked potato

    Well, take your jacket off and make yourself comfortable

    (For what it's worth, I think I may have made that crap joke up - be interesting to see if it turns up in a cracker this Xmas)

  11. TRT Silver badge

    You could say that this case...

    *remove sunglasses*

    is all wrapped up.

    *Freeeoooowwwww... (Prolonged A chord on electric guitar)*

    1. Stevie

      Re: You could say that this case...

      Dungeddit. Dr Who reference?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: You could say that this case...


        1. Stevie

          Re: You could say that this case...

          Ah. I never watched the Citrus variant.

  12. Midnight

    Clearly the problem is that they forgot to rub lemon juice on their faces to defeat visual monitoring.

    It pays to be thorough.

  13. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    I see the problem - they should have used Transparent Aluminum. Then they'd have been invisible.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How come Daily Mail reported this so differently? In their version of event, the foil successful stopped any alarm from sounding.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They used Yahoo! to research it...

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Mysteriously, it also made their house prices double overnight...

      1. theModge

        ...and they were undoubtedly immigrants

  15. Mondo the Magnificent

    Bloody lightweights...

  16. spudmasterflex

    Foiled again

    Every cloud has a silver lining.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Foiled again

      Every clod has a silver coating...

      1. Stevie

        Re: Every clod

        You stupid sod. I nose-squirted hot tea all over the damned place when I read that.

    2. Someone_Somewhere

      Re: Foiled again

  17. Andy france

    Tin foil hat

    Hmmmm ... this implies tin foil hats might not actually work either. Yikes!

    1. Chris G

      Re: Tin foil hat

      It is important to make use of the Faraday effect by plugging your tin foil hat into any nearby socket.

      If out walking it would be wise to mount a 4KVA generator in a trolley so that you have your hat powered up while you walk.

      1. DropBear

        Re: Tin foil hat

        "It is important to make use of the Faraday effect by plugging your tin foil hat into any nearby socket.

        If out walking it would be wise to mount a 4KVA generator in a trolley so that you have your hat powered up while you walk."

        Absolutely, grounding is a must. But for the same reason, what you need outside is not a generator, but a reliable earth connection - I recommend dragging along a large metal ball chained to a suitable ankle...

    2. Someone_Somewhere

      Re: Tin foil hat

      > this implies tin foil hats might not actually work either.

      That's what they /want/ you to think, yes.

  18. grumpyoldeyore

    The one they caught.....

    ... will the cops be able to give him a good grilling?

  19. Crazy Operations Guy

    I wonder if you could fool cameras by strapping a large digital display over the head which shows the area around the wearer. An ever-changing version of the hat that mugger wore in The Fifth Element. I suppose it would take some work to figure out were the cameras were and what they expect to see...

    1. PNGuinn

      In the old days...

      It was so much easier.

      You just walked into the bank wearing a large test card.

      The CCTV operator thought the system was down for maintenance again ...

      Nowadays you'd have to wear some high definition pr0n keep the security droid occupied.

      No need for all this hi tech malarky.

      Thanks - mine's the one in the plain brown carrier bag.

      1. DropBear

        Re: In the old days...

        Social engineering FTW - figure out what _other_ objectives are monitored from the same room, pick an easily accessible one and dispatch a couple for some hot hanky-panky at the same time - then while all operators crowd around that one monitor, you may pop the safe unnoticed...

  20. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    Point of order.

    The Praia Grande where this took place is in Santa Catarina, not the one in Sao Paulo.

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