Bandits show off British manners
Thursday 20 March 1997
In the last six weeks, the pair have broken into seven houses. Unlike the proverbial thief in the night, however, they positively seek confrontation, dragging their victims from their slumbers.
Their target, apparently, is cash, not jewels or other valuables. They wear dark clothes and ski-masks, carry guns and their first entry is often through an unlocked garage door. All that police have on them is that they are white men, between 5ft 9in-6ft tall, who talk with British accents.
Their latest strike came at 4am last Tuesday at a sprawling mock-Tudor mansion 10 miles outside Washington, whose occupants were roused and relieved at gunpoint of $1,000 (pounds 625), one of the bandits' biggest hauls so far. The modus operandi does not vary, nor do their good manners. "He was very cultured," an earlier victim told police of one of the burglars, "He could have been a member of the House of Lords for all I know."
So who are these hooded, apparently British, villains, content to steal a few hundred dollars a victim? Modern-day Robin Hoods, some say. Rogue Conservative fundraisers, maintain others, turning a knowing eye to John Major's electoral travails back in the old country.
For Americans especially, their style is incongruous. Here, the epithet "English" summons up visions of duplicitous negotiators and similar manifestations of perfidious Albion. Indeed, "English" is the United States term for the wicked spin an expert pool player gives the cue ball as he executes a devious shot. But burglars who go barging into private homes, rousing gentlemen from their beds? In the USA, old chap, that's not the English way.
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
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
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading and fastest ...
£16000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the count...
£5120 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...