Shah Alam police in Selangor, Malaysia reported late last week that they had taken down a gang of seven thieves aged 17 to 45 whose modus operandi was to smash their way into Malaysian gold shop display cases using sledgehammers, scoop up anything they could get their hands on and make a quick getaway.
According to local media reports the gang has been responsible for at least ten other armed robberies since 2015 which netted more than RM15 million (about US$3.5million) in booty.
However, rather than quitting when they were ahead, the gang tried to hit another store last week, only this time things didn’t go as planned. Instead of the quick smash and grab style raid the gang was known for, the thieves were left looking like a slapstick comedy routine, their sledge hammers literally bouncing off the top of the display cases.
The CCTV video above catches the gang in action at Kedai Emas Sri Alam jewellery store in Shah Alam. Four thieves wearing motorcycle helmets to conceal their faces attempt to smash their way into the Malaysian gold shop’s glass display cabinets. Rather than shards of shattered glass exposing the loot inside, the hammer merely sends clouds of powdered glass skyward.
Unlike some gold shops which use only standard glass in their display cases, this Malaysian gold shop had opted for the deluxe type using polycarbonate-laminated glass on the tops, and the fronts of the cases also.
First discovered in 1898 by Alfred Einhorn, a German scientist working at the University of Munich, research into polycarbonates was abandoned 30 years later without commercialisation.
Subsequently patented by German multinational chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer AG in 1955, polycarbonate-laminated glass is ten times more impact-resistant than plastic or common glass. Commonly referred to as ‘bulletproof glass’, ‘ballistic glass’, or ‘transparent armor’, a 3.175cm (1.25 inch) thick sheet of polycarbonate-laminated glass is said to be capable of withstanding three shots from a Magnum .44 caliber hand gun.
Realising that they are banging their hammers against an almost impenetrable wall, two of the robbers flee while two, one less enthusiastically than the other, continue to hammer away at the display cases; one eventually managing to smash a small hole through the glass. Giving it all up as being too much hard work for free gold, the gang reportedly fled the scene empty handed.
Three days later the gang struck again at a Malaysian gold shop in Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Cheras. While successfully absconding with RM3 million (US$701,000) in gold jewellery the gang was arrested less than four hours later.
Gold shops are common across Asia with many people preferring to convert spare cash into gold rather than trusting banks.
While the presence of armed guards at many gold shops deter thieves from regularly targeting these businesses, this CCTV vision from Malaysia shows that gun-totting security guards are not the only defence available to gold shop owners.
Feature video KEDAI EMAS SRI ALAM Sek 23 Shah Alam
- Polycarbonate Glass Foils Shah Alam Jewellery Store (Kedai Emas Sri Alam) Robbery Attempt (hype)
- Police recover RM3mil of jewellery from robbery gang (The Star Online)
- A Gang Of Thieves Became Millionaires For Only Three Hours Before Being Caught By Police (Malaysian Digest)