RAM raiding is the crime of the Nineties
Sunday 27 August 1995
"The thieves are educated and bright computer fanatics who know what they're doing," said Det Insp Bob Berger, who is co-ordinating a crackdown on memory-chip theft.
Memory chips, also known as RAM (random access memory), are essential for computers to operate. Burglars can sell stolen chips to small businesses looking for cheap upgrades, or to second-hand dealers. "It's safer than dealing drugs," says DI Berger. "One of the people we arrested had done pounds 500,000-worth of business between February 1994 and June 1995."
Bank holidays are popular times for thefts. Once inside offices, burglars can remain for hours, and sometimes remove the chips so tidily that the businesses do not realise their loss until the machines are restarted on the Tuesday.
This weekend burglars have an added incentive to strike. Modern PCs require at least 4 megabytes of RAM to function, but Microsoft's new Windows 95 operating system requires at least 8Mb, and some users have installed 16Mb or more, worth hundreds of pounds.
Nor are the thieves likely to be put off by the fear of prosecution. DI Berger led Operation Eastside, which in July raided 44 addresses in London, Leicester and Swindon after six months' investigation. A total of 29 people were arrested but none have yet been charged. Furthermore, they could only be charged with burglary, which typically attracts a sentence of 18 months or less.
"The maximum sentence for burglary is 18 years, but sometimes these people just get off with community service," says one police source. "The courts have clearly displayed the low priority they put on this crime."
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Nepal earthquake: The race is on to help thousands trapped under rubble around Kathmandu, while remote villages face a long wait for help
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...