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Letter from the Editor

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There's been a lot of talk — and a lot of buzz on social media hereabouts — about the big smash-and-grab robbery of Reeds Jewelers in Wolfchase Mall last Saturday.

In case you've been in a coma, let me briefly rehash: Five or six masked men with sledgehammers went into the mall during business hours, entered Reeds, smashed display cases, and got away with $700,000 worth of Rolex watches. The robbers did not interact with employees, so it's being termed a "theft," not a robbery. Nor were they carrying guns, though video evidence suggests that they were packing massive cojones, especially since they stopped at Sbarro's on their way out. I kid.

But the story was one of the top items on CBS national news, Sunday. And the relentless Memphis-hating commenters at The Commercial Appeal website did their usual "only-in-Memphis-the-city-that's-worse-than-Detroit-we're-all-going-to-die-by-thug-murder" spiels, conveniently ignoring the fact that the theft happened in a suburban mall, and that nothing had been reported about the perpetrators' appearance.

A day later, they were brought up short — for a millisecond, anyway — when the CA reported that remarkably similar crimes had occurred in Atlantic City, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Turns out that our smash-and-grab "Memphis thugs" were quite possibly part of a national ring of jewelry thieves, or at least very good copycats.

The mall employees who were interviewed were convinced the thieves were professionals, based on the speed and organization of the crime, which raises another possibility: If it's the work of a brazen national crime syndicate, how long can it be before Hollywood comes calling?

The first step, of course, would be to rebrand the crime. It would no longer be a "theft;" it would be a "heist." (A jewelry heist is boffo at the box office.) Next, you create a cast of eclectic and quirky characters: the nerd/genius who does the planning and worrying about all the things that could go wrong; the martial arts guy; the dumb, lovable muscle man (who probably dies); the cute, sassy chick who's good with explosives and, uh, sledgehammers; and the irreverent cute guy with good hair.

They move from city to city, from mall to mall, always on the lam, always looking for the next big score. Never mind that stolen Rolexes without accompanying paperwork can only be sold for a fraction of their retail price, this caper has all the elements for a big-budget film. I have to think this movie is going to happen.

All Hollywood needs is a good name. One fellow on Twitter suggested The Wolf of Wolfchase, which isn't bad, but it's too regional. Time Bandits would be perfect, but it's already been done. Same with Time After Time. How about this? Hammer Time!

You're welcome, Mr. Scorsese.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

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