Hi Reddit,

My name is Pete Stegemeyer and I am a comedian and physical/cyber security expert with a passion for heists, scams, and cons. I wrote a book called "HEIST" which hits stores next week, and host a popular podcast called "I Can Steal That!"

I'm going to include a link to the book below, but honestly I'm just happy to be discussing my favorite topic, so this won't turn into a rampart session. Check it out if you want. If not, that's cool too.

Proof: (got the date wrong by a day)

Link to my book

Comments: 429 • Responses: 81  • Date: 

funkboxing245 karma

Have you considered taking up a teaching position? As far as I know Greendale Community College still hasn't replaced their Grifting 101 professor.

itspeterj79 karma

I'd love to become a teacher sometime. Growing up I wanted to be a history teacher before I joined the army, but that's kind of what's fun about my podcast - it feels like I have my own classroom where I can make dumb jokes at teach my friends and guests about cool crimes.

funkboxing63 karma

Right on.

But that was a Community reference. Wasn't sure if you were a fan but if you're into comedy and scams this episode is for you. Though also just treat yourself to the whole series, it's hilarious.

itspeterj36 karma

Hahah I actually do stand up, so I'm big fan of comedy but I never watched Community. I'll check it out, thanks!

MakiseKurisuBestGirl192 karma

How many times during your long research hours did you find yourself fantasising about pulling off a big multi-million dollar con of your own?

itspeterj348 karma

Every single day. I've been like that since childhood though. Even going to my bank and seeing the security cameras just make me think about "how could I do it?"

That's actually partly why I got into cyber security and penetration testing because sometimes that's the closest you can come to feeling like you're pulling off a heist and you don't have to worry about jail time.

mog-pharau96 karma

Exactly! To be a good guy in this field, you have to already think like a bad guy. "Look at this lovely system, how would I break or exploit it?" is a kind-of default for us security people. Then we have to think about how we would stop our own ideas.

itspeterj144 karma

My favorite phrase for infosec is "you know you've made it in this industry when you have a chance to be rich but don't take it."

BobaismyBro94 karma

WHAT!!!??? We're leaving "penetration testing" alone for over five hours??? Everybody out...Reddit is finished.

itspeterj147 karma

I can't believe we're not doing Phrasing anymore

ryjmd145 karma

In some of the heist movies I've seen there are names for strategies. The characters will be like "ok we're going to do xyz" and the other character will reply something like "oh so it's like a higgeldy-piggedly with a Chucky T". My question is, does it actually work like that? Are there names for different heist strategies?

itspeterj150 karma

Great Question! This depends a bit on the team of crooks that are working on a job, as they might have different terms based on location/etc, but this DOES happen sometimes, though I typically see it more often in scams and con artistry. Like the Nigerian Prince email scam is just the Spanish Prisoner Scam for a modern era, that kind of thing.

MongolianMango136 karma

Are most successful heists pulled off by organized crime, or do you think there are examples of successful heists completed by people who seem to have no previous criminal history?

itspeterj202 karma

This is a stellar question. There are a lot of heists pulled off by total amateurs and I typically like those ones more because they tend to be pretty wild like the Tring Feather Heist or the absolute morons that stole the Swedish Crown Jewels, but those almost always end up getting busted because they don't have the resources to get away clean.

Basically, stealing something is EASY but getting something fenced(sold on the black market) and not getting caught usually requires an organized crime aspect even if you're not in the mob. Organized crime has the advantage here because of their connections to help things AFTER the crime, but sometimes first timers get it right too.

profriversong55 karma

itspeterj122 karma

Sometimes people do that! One guy stole Marie Antoinette's pocket watch and just kept it in a storage unit to admire it. He'd take it out to wind it and oil it and care for it, but he just did it because he wanted to keep it for himself.

4DeadJim92 karma

My friend is a Jeweler and all about hiding his real identity. (He does not do business with his real last name among other things) He talks about all the jewelers in town are worried about their family being held hostage and him having to unlock the store safe.

How common is this or is he spinning a tale can but rarely happens?

itspeterj109 karma

This, unfortunately, can happen sometimes and he is smart to take some kinds of precautions like that. The Northern bank heist in North Ireland had bank managers and their families kidnapped at the beginning of the heist to ensure compliance.

Unfortunately, there are some people out there that are willing to put families in danger for a quick payday, so I definitely understand his desire to keep his family and identity protected.

TerrapinRecordings67 karma

I was curious what you thought about Frank Abagnale Jr?

I was reading recently that there is a book coming out that claims that very little of his story is true and that Catch Me if You Can was a lie other than a few fraudulent checks? If so, does that make him a lesser fraud or an even greater conman than previously thought in that he conned people into believing it?

I hope that makes sense haha

itspeterj209 karma

I'm actually supposed to be interviewing the author of that book on my podcast soon! I've been reading an advanced copy and it does make some interesting points, and it certainly fits Frank Abagnale's profile that he'd make something up and that people would be quick to believe it's true because it's more exciting(that's part of the confidence game.)

As for whether it makes him a better or worse Conman? I think bullshitting your way into making millions and getting Leonardo DiCaprio to play you in a Spielberg movie gets you into the hall of fame.

SoylentRox28 karma

So we were the marks the whole time, not the huge list of people he claimed to have conned? Pan Am, hundreds of banks, a sheriff, a hospital?!, many women, a federal prison.

itspeterj25 karma

Possibly! He might have pulled a modern twist on the ol' Prince of Poyais scam.

popsy1357 karma

Has there been a heist that’s made you think, I can’t believe they did that?

itspeterj239 karma

Definitely! Probably my favorite example is the Sisi Star heist where the thief jumped out of a plane and parachuted onto the roof of a museum, climbed in a window he'd unlocked a few days earlier, and then stole a diamond and pearl hair pin (after swapping it with a replica from the gift shop!)

What was the craziest thing about this was that the thief basically just decided to do it on a whim. He toured the museum with his family, decided to steal it for the lulz, and came back like 2 days later to do it. Like 2 days of planning for a job like that is INSANE

FunkyPete40 karma

How was he caught? (I assume he was caught or we wouldn't know how he broke in even if it was discovered later)

itspeterj152 karma

Awesome question and it's a super cool story.

Basically, he went back to Canada and started breaking into ATMs at banks (but like really impressively sometimes stealing 500k in a single theft) and then joined an international crime ring performing big heists around the world. He was INSANELY talented at stealing, but made a stupid mistake on one of his ATM jobs(usually he'd wait for new banks to be constructed, and right before they opened publicly, they'd stock their ATMs and he'd take it) and rented a van using his real ID. When somebody reported the van as suspicious, he was discovered and ended up returning the Sisi star as part of his deal to get reduced sentencing. Nobody had any idea he'd stolen it until he gave it back.

popsy136 karma

Wow! Thanks for replying

itspeterj12 karma

Of course! Thanks for asking!

K_Furbs4 karma

Hot damn, is this one in the book?

itspeterj9 karma

It is!

SoylentRox1 karma

It would take you at least 3 days to plan and organize such an effort, right. /S

itspeterj3 karma

What was even crazier was that most of the steps of the theft were done the FIRST DAY when he casually unscrewed the display case screws while ON TOUR and then just went around opening windows. The only thing that took 2 days was him finding a pilot willing to fly over a palace at like 1000 feet elevation, which is just astonishing.

thezoilux44 karma

So I'm writing a heist centric campaign for my RPG group. Based on your research, what would you say are the most important steps and challenges involved in planning and executing a heist that would translate well to gameplay?

Excited to check out your book!

itspeterj62 karma

LOVE this question.

I'm going to assume this is DnD style (because I'm most familiar with that gameplay style from my own campaigns)

I think having a few traps or puzzles (with clues that they can pick up on if they're crafty) is always fun and makes it seem grander. Try to vary the skill checks/saving throws a bit so that it's not ALL acrobatics or stealth. Make them smooth talk their way past a guard or into a room. That kind of stuff!

I think another fun part could be the stuff that comes AFTER the heist. Depending on what they're stealing maybe consider things like "how do we sell this for our GP? Who the hell even can/will buy it?" If it's like a magic item or weapon, will people notice it? Will it draw unwanted attention?

Scrapheaper42 karma

Did you watch the Rick and Morty episode which satirises heist movies and did you think it was funny/accurate?

itspeterj80 karma

I thought it was a really fun satire. Sometimes it's more fun to watch those ridiculous kind of heist movies than it is to see something that is more realistic, and I think they did a good job of calling out how goofy and formulaic some of them are.

"You son of a bitch, I'm in!"

councillleak30 karma

I have some background in information security, and I love the kind of stories that make me think "wow this company was so incompetent at basic security protocols that they almost deserved to be stolen from."

For example the Target HVAC hack, it's just insane that a company as massive as Target didn't have their payment systems siloed off from other less sensitive systems. Do you have any other good examples of gross incompetence that lead to an exceptionally easy "heist"?

itspeterj69 karma

There are TONS of these, and I think that's why configuration errors are a staple of the OWASP top 10.

A good example of this from my first job working IT would probably be the time we had a billionaire hedge fund manager as a client and we saw that phishers were sending him emails pretending to be his wife and asking for his social security number.

We sent him an email that basically said "Hey sir, just as a heads up, some scammers registered an email address very similar to your wife's personal email, and are trying to get your SSN. Please be careful if you see any messages like that and don't send anything unless you can prove it's your wife."

He responded with his Social Security Number. It was astounding.

Shaysdays30 karma

If the movie The Purge was a real thing, what would be the most interesting target for a heist?

itspeterj63 karma

Oh man, that's a fun thought exercise. I think a lot of the obvious targets (Federal Reserve, Fort Knox, etc) would be way too well protected and on extra lockdown, but I think it could be fun to like steal the Wall Street Bull or something else iconic like that pretty easily.

profriversong41 karma

We’re going to lick the Liberty Bell!

itspeterj26 karma

Let's do it. That would actually be a SUPER SOLID purge heist.

NewTrevor26 karma

What are your favorite heist or scam movies?

itspeterj70 karma

I think Ocean's 11 is the most fun to watch, but I'd also say Inside Man is up there too. Money Heist is great as well. It's hard to watch movies like this without getting too wrapped up in whether things are realistic, so I usually just make my criteria "is it fun?"

HEAT is a great movie, but I prefer my heists to be more of a caper than a gunfight, so I usually go for something lighter.

P-P-Peopi10 karma

Inside Man is one of my favorite movies

itspeterj17 karma

It's really, really good. I love the use of space in the heist with the false wall. One of the most prolific bank robbers ever, George Leonidas Leslie, was an architect by trade and used his understanding of space with regards to how buildings were laid out to figure out where vaults were and how to get to them most effectively.

HawkSpotter5 karma

Have you seen the movie Heist by David Mamet? So fun. Gene Hackman is outstanding. Free with Amazon prime right now.

itspeterj2 karma

I have! I loved that movie!

yared_cf224 karma

How do I become an expert in something? I just turned 30 and realized I don't know shit about anything, I'm not even good at the things I like.

itspeterj33 karma

Man, this is a good question - I wish I had a better answer than this but I think the key is to just stay curious about stuff. Find that thing that excites you more than anything else and learn as much about it as you can.

gitasereny24 karma

Are there any types of theft mentioned in your book that most people are probably unaware of?

itspeterj45 karma

I think so! I think there are a lot of varieties of cyber scams fall into that category, but also there are people who just go out and steal entire bitcoin mines, which is pretty wild to think about! Not just hacking coins, but stealing hundreds of the computers and then using them to make your own coins.

CervixAssassin23 karma

Every time I see them on the news, or even in the movies, it's some poor guy living pretty basic life. Even mafiozis are middle class at best, except maybe the very top ones. American Hustle, Casino, Donnie Brasco, Ocean Eleven etc etc. So do the scammers, conmen etc ever "make it"?

itspeterj70 karma

They do sometimes! Look at Joel Osteen.

But really, it does happen sometimes. The trick is to stop while you're ahead. A good example would be the Dinner Set Gang - two best friends who stole MILLIONS from the wealthiest families in America (including the DuPont family) eventually they retired and lived the high life with their wives (who were identical twins) but ended up returning to crime when one of their wives' cancer treatments started eating up their retirement money.

A lot of times though, those middle class lives are just a cover to hide their true wealth and help avoid suspicion that leads to getting arrested.

babygrenade22 karma

How do I know this isn't a scam?

itspeterj21 karma

It's not, but I should probably include a link to my book when I upload my proof pic!

CharuRiiri20 karma

How common/realistic are “dig a tunnel to the vault” type heists? They found a halfway dug tunnel across the street to a bank in my hometown and I found it hilarious but it left me thinking, do people actually do that?

itspeterj23 karma

It's actually pretty common! I had a few more tunnel heists that I wanted to include in my book but I didn't want things to be too repetitive! Some of them get pretty wild, especially the "Crime of the Century" heist in Buenos Aires.

warm-saucepan19 karma

I realize that it may be of a smaller scale than your focus, but are there any interesting gambits involving the more and more prevalent self checkouts in stores?

itspeterj26 karma

This feels like you're asking me to help you steal from CVS ;)

jacquilynne9 karma

It is AMA, not AMATIAC, ask me anything that isn't a crime.

itspeterj18 karma

Fair enough. But the answer is definitely "yes." Most of it is pretty basic stuff like swapping barcodes or not scanning things/bagging things so they don't register extras. But sometimes these can be pretty sophisticated in terms of orchestrating the thefts to maximize value and minimize chances of getting caught.

SoylentRox8 karma

You know the scam to get free toilet paper from cvs, right?

itspeterj55 karma

Buy a pack of gum and get 80 feet of shit tickets when the receipt prints out?

-null15 karma

I saw one the other day where someone bought a PS5 through self checkout and rang it up by weight as some vegetables or something. Paid only a few dollars for it but ended up getting arrested.

itspeterj52 karma

The security systems for stores are no joke. Target allegedly uses crazy facial recognition software to track things you steal. They won't do anything to stop somebody until they've hit a certain threshold for value of stolen items that allows for more severe charges, but apparently they track everything in a pretty scary big brother kind of way.

LabyrinthConvention16 karma

what's your favorite historical con or scam?

itspeterj67 karma

In terms of scams, I think my favorite is probably the Affair of the Diamond Necklace.

It honestly could be a movie or a series, but essentially: Some jewelers made this absolutely bananas diamond necklace for King Louis XV's favorite concubine, but it took so long to complete that she and the king were both dead by the time it was completed. So they asked Louis XVI to purchase it for Marie Antoinette, but she said that it was WAY too much money and that they should buy a warship with the money instead.

Long story short, con artists forge the queen's signature, hire a prostitute to pretend to be the queen, and kind of directly led to the fall of the monarchy and the French Revolution. It's absolutely wild.

FeelTheWrath7915 karma

Is there such thing as the perfect crime where everyone got away with it and were able to go back to living their lives enjoying the fruits of their crimes and not always looking over their shoulder?

itspeterj32 karma

Definitely! You just don't hear about them as much because they never get caught. But it definitely does happen and honestly, I kind of root for those guys sometimes.

doorrat11 karma

Do you have a personal opinion as to what happened to D.B. Copper? Consensus seems to be him having died after jumping but then there's things like the money that was found. Do you actually believe any of the deathbed "confessions" that have been made over the years?

Also: what's the stupidest heist that you can think of having actually worked? (In an "idiot savant" sort of way, I guess.)

itspeterj20 karma

Personally, I think DB got away with it. I like to think so at least. I think the money that showed up on that riverbank, plus things like the instruction card and his backpack straps that have been found indicate that at the very least he survived the jump and probably made his way out of the woods. Given his familiarity with parachuting like that, I'm pretty confident he was an old army airborne guy and probably possessed the land nav and survival skills to get out of that situation.

I never know about those deathbed confessions - I think it's usually people chasing clout or getting a rise out of somebody, but who knows. My money would probably be on Sheridan Peterson but he died this year so we may never know.

As for the dumbest heist, I'd probably go with the two guys that stole bikes from kids and then stole the Swedish Crown Jewels from a church. They ultimately got caught, but they were definitely total morons during the entire heist. Another good contender would be the Transylvania University book heist.

smile-with-me10 karma

What was something you would have liked to put into the book but for any reason couldn't or didn't?

itspeterj32 karma

Great question! There are a LOT of heists that I'd have loved to include like the Burrowing Bandits of LA, but when putting the book together it became important to leave some out to avoid making entries too repetitive. I'd have also liked to dive a bit deeper into some of the other suspects cases like DB Cooper and the Gardner museum heist, but the format of the book made it better to leave those entries shorter and less speculative.

It worked out though, and I think I put together a good collection of heists that are different enough from each other and take place all over the world, so I'm happy with how it ended up!

-null7 karma

Have you seen that oldish series called “Masterminds”? If so, any thoughts?


itspeterj9 karma

I have! I like that show a lot, but wish they'd have upped the production value a little, but it is kind of fun that it has that "unsolved mysteries dramatic re-enactment" vibe.

-null5 karma

Completely agreed on the production value aspect. I’m fascinated by the same type of stuff although obviously to a lesser degree than you. This may the first ama that’s actually made me heavily considering getting the product. I’ll likely check out your book. Thanks.

itspeterj6 karma

Thank you! If you are into podcasts, I do deeper dives on these cases with fellow comics and it's a lot of fun! Check it out wherever you get your pods: www.linktr.ee/icanstealthat

D3f4lt_player6 karma

what's the difference between con and scam?

itspeterj20 karma

They are pretty interchangeable in a casual sense, but for me at least, the distinction lies in a few things:

Scams and Scammers are typically quick and fairly anonymous like selling something on ebay and then mailing them an empty box, or the myriad email scams.

A con or a con artist tends to be more devious, and to really lull you into a sense of Confidence (Con is short for Confidence Trick) and often times, they'll be in it for the long haul or a larger pay day and they'll add a more personal touch. Victor Lustig, for example, sold the Eiffel Tower for scrap metal on two separate occasions due to his ability to talk buyers into thinking they were getting the deal of a lifetime.

Does that make sense?

D3f4lt_player16 karma

so basically con is a complex form of scam which the conman relies on his social engineering skills?

itspeterj10 karma

That's a GREAT way to put it!

samiratmidnight7 karma

How can you talk about Lustig and not mention that time he conned Al Capone just for shits and giggles?

itspeterj10 karma

That is honestly probably my favorite scam of all time just for the MASSIVE balls it took.

D3f4lt_player6 karma

mind telling the story?

itspeterj35 karma

Of course!

Essentially, Victor Lustig was the Michael Jordan of conmen. Probably the closest we'll ever get to the Riddler. He sold the Eiffel Tower twice for scrap metal, and then started counterfeiting money in the US at such insane volume AND quality that he almost toppled the US dollar because his bills were indistinguishable from real ones.

While he's traveling the US performing his many, many scams, he stops in Chicago and gets an audience with Al Capone. He tells Al that he has a great investment opportunity (a scam he was working on) and gets Al Capone to invest 50 grand with him. For two months, Lustig just lets the money sit in a safety deposit box, and doesn't spend a dime.

Finally, he takes the money and goes back to Al Capone and gives him all of his money back basically crying his eyes out and telling him that the deal had fallen through, and that he wanted to make sure that Mr. Capone got his whole investment back out of respect, and that he was sorry and basically financially ruined.

This "honesty" impresses Capone deeply, and so Capone gave him 5k to "get back on his feet" which was the plan all along.

Imagine stealing 5 grand from the most dangerous mobster on the planet for shits and giggles? Insanity.

D3f4lt_player9 karma

the balls this man had. did capone ever find out?

itspeterj22 karma

I don't remember off the top of my head, but Lustig wasn't brutally murdered, so I'm thinking no.

WormLivesMatter6 karma

Is it true large chain stores like Walmart or target will wait for you to scam them many times before busting you? Do they track you between stores?

itspeterj17 karma

Target definitely does this. They have some of the most sophisticated security and facial recognition platforms in the world. It's wild stuff.

the_red_scimitar6 karma

How do we know this isn't a con, which carefully leaves out the real cons you're maybe doing, but reveals the cons that compete with you?

Note: I don't really think you're doing anything like that, but after all, if a person really were an expert on cons, and were themselves a con artist, then...

itspeterj13 karma

Hahaha, that'd be a great angle for a movie. Honestly, it would have been a better premise for Dexter if he went around framing the other murderers for his crimes.

That said, I have pulled off a grift or two in my day, but it was mostly counterfeiting Fast Passes for six flags when I was a teenager so I didn't have to wait in lines.

LidgChris6 karma

Do you play disc golf? I used to play with a dude who might be you out east on LI.

itspeterj10 karma

I do! I used to play with lidg!

pijiuman5 karma

I used to work for Harry Winston. I worked in their remote security location - monitoring the cameras for their locations, responding to alarms etc. When they got robbed at their Paris location it was one of the biggest jewelry heists by value (maybe the biggest?). It was partially an inside job as one of the physical security guards was in on it, provided the thieves info and was on duty when the thieves entered. He was the one who buzzed them in. How familiar are you with this heist? I'm curious if you know who the other thieves were. I believe there were about 20 or so people involved who were arrested (4 of whom actually performed the heist). Do you know who they were or what group they were without how it got planned etc.? I know they suspected the Pink Panthers for a while but I don't believe they were involved.

itspeterj5 karma

I'm very familiar with this heist, and I actually have an illustration from the book for this heist that I'm getting tattooed on me!

My understanding was that this was one of two heists in a few months of each other at the Paris Harry Winston, and that both were performed by various members of the Pink Panthers. I know one of the men jailed in the first heist was Farid Allou - a known Panther.

Why do you think it was another group?

harryham15 karma

... What's your angle? 🧐

itspeterj20 karma

360 because I'm pretty fat. But honestly, I just like talking about this stuff. Hopefully a few people check out the book or podcast, but it's just super fun to discuss my favorite kind of crimes with people that want to know about them. Plus, I'm learning some stuff too!

seal_raider7 karma

Epic response.

You aren’t fat, just “aerodynamic.” That is what I tell myself now that I hit my EAS…

itspeterj34 karma

Gravitationally speaking, i'm the most attractive person in every room I enter.

mspencerl874 karma

Are there any trustworthy Nigerian princes needing money???

itspeterj5 karma

I can think of several. Just be wary if they try to sell you an airport that doesn't exist or you might be out several hundred million!

Albion_Tourgee4 karma

Do you have a workable definition of theft that doesn't rely on it being unlawful? I've been trying to think about the economic role of theft, but most everything I read about the economics of theft only deals with illegal theft, as if it isn't theft if it's not illegal. I think that's obviously not true, but I'm not having much luck finding anything helpful about legal theft, much less, anything that provides much insight into its economic role. Any thoughts or directions you can point me?

itspeterj13 karma

The only form of "legal" theft I can think of is something like Asset Forfeiture where police can take your money/assets and essentially put them on trial where you need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was obtained legally, and even then - it doesn't go well for most people trying to fight it. It's straight up theft, but it's legal.

SliverCobain4 karma

I loved to play PayDay 2, which is a heist game. It made you feel like the Joker in the batman movie where they had all the Clown faces on.

With your knowledge, do you think that it would be possible to commit sich heists in the moderne society, with all the surveillance and technology guarding treasures? We allways discussed, when playing, if the things we we're doing, were fiction or reality..

itspeterj9 karma

I love PayDay 2! I play it with my friends pretty often.

It is definitely still possible to commit heists like this. The Green Vault heist in Dresden happened within the past 2 years. The Antwerp Diamond Heist features some of the most creative methods to get past security systems that I can think of (they disabled heat and motion sensors with hairspray.)

As long as there are things to steal, people will rise to the challenge - but their success may require things like inside accomplices or extraordinary resources.

SliverCobain2 karma

Nice! The only reason I'm not playing is my weak ass computer.. It was such fun, and having a coordinated team was the best!

I think it's awesome that some people have the guts to do it (as long as no people are harmed), cause if it weren't for those minds, the advanced systems wouldn't exist and get upgraded.. Kinda morbid, but yee, you probably get me.

itspeterj3 karma

Definitely - that's actually a big aspect of information security called Red Teaming. Essentially, ethical hackers try to break into systems or exploit vulnerabilities so that they can be identified and fixed, and then rinse and repeat.

YoungAmsterdam3 karma

I once read a post in r/crazyideas where somebody was pitching a television show idea in which the whole goal is for everyday people to take on the part of a criminal and try to break into some place to steal something without getting caught. The business or location would be real and consent to the idea of someone attempting this kind of thing prior to any attempts, but of course no one would go to jail because it was all just for a TV show.

What do you think of this idea? I would love to watch something like that, and you could easily be part of the team that pitches this or helps on the show!

itspeterj7 karma

I think that could be fun, but could get out of hand pretty quickly! It might be a really fun escape room concept though - instead of escaping, your team needs to break in and grab something specific!

coppnorm3 karma

This is actually a real show in Sweden and the UK as far as I know, could be in more countries. In the UK it's called The Heist. It's a contest between the cops and the robbers basically and it's quite entertaining.

itspeterj2 karma

That's really cool! I'll for sure check it out! Thanks for the recommendation!

RealAmerik3 karma

Where do the Wet Bandits rank in terms of all-time heist duos?

itspeterj10 karma

My Mount Rushmore is just them twice.

kiyyik3 karma

Haven't read the book but definitely getting it. I'm quite fond of David Maurer's "The Big Con" and early 20th century con jobs in general. Do you find that there are still a lot of "in-person" con artists, or has everyone pretty much moved online/over the phone?

itspeterj12 karma

There are definitely still "in-person" con artists out in the wild. Everything from the 3 card monte/chess cheats in NYC parks to a lot of the MLM and prosperity gospel scams that see arenas getting packed with marks. Some of them are modernizing and multiplying their efficacy by using technology, but I think there will always be those who prefer to do it face-to-face because you need that familiarity and confidence from your marks to hit the biggest scores like Bernie Madoff did.

Pahoalili2 karma

Is Frank Abagnale for real? I get the sense he has exaggerated his former cons.

Subscribed to your podcast and look forward to listening.

itspeterj3 karma

There's actually a book coming out very soon that explores this idea, and I tend to agree with it. At the very least I think he's exaggerated a lot of his exploits, but it got him a Spielberg movie and a bunch of cash, so maybe he just played the long con.

FezzikRtherRoczAhead2 karma

What'd you do in the army? Was it at all related to pen testing, physical security, or cyber security?

itspeterj10 karma

I was actually an Infantryman, so I got to learn a lot about physical security that way, but I also was the platoon RTO (radio guy) on my first deployment which taught me about cryptography and got me interested in infosec, and later I worked as our company training room NCO so that gave me more experience with data protection/compliance.

Seamus_OReilly2 karma

Did you ever see the Hogan's Heroes episode where they rob the bank?

itspeterj2 karma

I haven't but I'll check it out!

TheD1v1s1on52 karma

Do you have a degree in CS? I'm a c-suite in my cyber security company.

itspeterj3 karma

I do. I have a Bachelor's Degree in CS and Information Security.

Surgeboy992 karma

Are you familiar with the Central Bank of Bangladesh Heist? My company was involved in providing the incident response to what happened there. Any takes on how the future of large-scale remote and digital heists will evolve into the future?

Edit: to elaborate, hackers broke into the IT environment, fraudulently transferred money from Bangladesh to overseas accounts (mainly Philippines), withdrew the cash and laundered it in casinos. thought it would be up your alley :-) Lmk if you wanted to connect about it.

itspeterj5 karma

I am! I did a podcast episode on it that actually helped me get a job at the New York Fed!

So I think remote and online heists are absolutely the future - especially via Business Email Compromises (BECs)

Probably the best example of that in action is a heist where a painting by John Constable was being sold from one gallery to another, and the thieves were basically able to send an email from the Seller's email account with different routing numbers right before the sale went through, causing the money to go to the thieves instead of the seller, which ended up earning them way more money than they'd have fenced it for.

I think you're also going to see a lot of NFT and Cryptocurrency exchange heists and scams.

Perseus12511 karma

I'm writing a history campaign for dungeons and dragons: what elements would you look for in a good history? And what are some real-life heists you could recommend for research?

itspeterj2 karma

As for history, I like to keep those things fairly local to the area, and to see if there's ways to incorporate some of the aspects you've seen previously in the campaign. "Sleeping Giant Inn?" maybe this artifact belonged to that giant at one point. Stuff like that.

The best one I can recommend to look into is Thomas Blood stealing the Crown Jewels from London Tower.

If EVER there were a real life DND heist, that would be it. Imagine a party throwing a blanket over an NPC's head, trying to stab him and club him over the head(he survived) and then realizing the crowns and scepters are too big to hide, so you smash them into bits and shove them down your pants and then they try to escape in the commotion by yelling "thieves! Murderers!" and having the gate drop down on you so you can't escape on horseback like you wanted, and then getting brought before the king, who you just kind of insult until he gives you land and title instead of executing you for high theft.

Snowelyn1 karma

Are you going to offer a Kindle version at some point?

itspeterj3 karma

I hope to! I need to discuss that option with the publisher but I would really like to get that version out to people. I didn't do an audio version mostly because my podcast covers most of these crimes in greater depth, but I might record an audio version some time in the future just to have one.

Deitaphobia1 karma

Has Netflix optioned your book yet?

itspeterj3 karma

Not yet, but it's something I'm working between the book and the podcast!

ecbrow11 karma

Is the book a con in and of itself?

itspeterj1 karma

It feels like it sometime, but I assure you it's real.

Sso_121 karma

Out of all the books/tv shows/movies, which do you think was the most accurate depiction of a robbery?

itspeterj6 karma

I think there's a lot that do pretty good jobs, some of my favorites for accuracy would be:

Thief - the director used "advisors" to help make sure that everything was as plausible as possible and I think they did a good job with it.

Heat - very plausible and the tactics in the final shootouts are actually used to train Marines to show them about cover/concealment and reloading.

A lot of the quick robberies in movies like Drive and Hell or High Water are pretty accurate as well, especially when you see that the thieves usually only get 5-10k from that kind of robbery.

I'd also give an honorable mention to Office Space, believe it or not. That kind of 'fraction of a penny' theft is very difficult to detect (unless you fuck it up like they did) and I bet that kind of embezzlement happens pretty regularly.

oglordone1 karma

I'm going to can some pozole this weekend, how much PSI pressure do I need on my pressure cooker for it to be safe to eat?

itspeterj28 karma

It is never safe to eat a pressure cooker.

brunovt19921 karma

Can I buy it in Belgium?

itspeterj1 karma

You should be able to if you're able to access Amazon. Link

Unlikely-Solution-551 karma

Have you ever been scammed or are there any similar experiences?

itspeterj9 karma

I've definitely been scammed before. My favorite was in Louisville. One night, I parked my car in a lot outside of a comedy club I was performing in, and this guy in a security jacket comes out of a little booth and tells me it was 5 bucks to park in the lot. I give him the money, and he gives me my half of a claim ticket and puts the other half under my wiper. When I pulled it out of my pocket later, it was just half of a losing scratch-off lottery ticket. When I went back to my car, sure enough, he and the booth were gone, but all 50 or so cars in the lot had half a lottery ticket under their wipers. Can't even be mad about that.

DarkDobe7 karma

That's like the dude that set up his own parking ticket booth at a public parking lot and collected the payments for years before packing up and leaving - whereupon the city got notice that the parking attendant was gone, only to discover he was never even supposed to exist.

itspeterj6 karma

That guy's a personal hero of mine.

Princess-Rufflebutt3 karma

That’s -almost- victimless. Like I don’t condone it but I imagine if you’re going out to a comedy club for a night you probably can also afford to lose an extra $5 on nothing.

itspeterj6 karma

Exactly. I couldn't even be mad. I was next to a garage that was like 10 bucks to park in, so I still feel like I got a deal and he was REALLY smooth about it. I'd love to buy that guy a dinner.

Unlikely-Solution-551 karma

Haha thats a nice one Thanks for replying!!

itspeterj3 karma

Of course! Thanks for asking!