Chocolate thief to lose hands in Iran

Can you call it “sweet revenge?” Probably not …

A man convicted of robbing a candy store has been sentenced to have his hands chopped off. As if that isn’t enough to keep him from stealing, he’s also going to do a year in prison. The guy was arrested back in May, when the police found “$900 (£560), three pairs of gloves and a large amount of chocolate in his car,” the BBC reports.

So, if you find your way to Iran, bring a full wallet – or exercise some restraint. The BBC adds that amputation is usually only used in the cases of habitual thieves, but I don’t know that I’d roll the dice. If you want a candy bar, just buy it. Then, you’ll have the hands you need to eat it.

[from hapal via Flickr]

Parisian teenagers flash, steal cash

Let’s start with the lesson first: if you’re going to Paris, take out all the cash you need at home. There’s a new scam at work … using the oldest trick in the book.

Think about the last time you went to a gentlemen’s club. As breasts went bare, men parted with their money. It’s utterly predictable. Now, assume you have two girls who can’t dance – and aren’t old enough to become strippers. How could they employ this technique for financial gain?

Two 14-year-olds in Paris figured out a way.

In the Sixth Arrondissement, the duo set out to distract ATM users and swipe their cash. After waving a newspaper at one person, according to a Reuters report, one of the criminal masterminds “allegedly opened her shirt and grabbed his [the user’s] genital area, while her accomplice took the 300 euros (about $385) that the machine spit out.”

And this isn’t the first time they used the technique. They did the same thing to lift 500 euros from a female ATM user. Taking the scam to a new low, however, they enlisted the help of an even younger accomplice.

While USA Today offers a handful of tips for avoiding ATM-related theft in Europe, here’s a good one: keep your eyes off the jailbait.

[photo by jonklinger via Flickr]

Hotels top target for hackers

According to online security trade publication, hackers went after the hotel sector more than any other in 2009. And, they didn’t get caught: it took hotels an average of 156 days to discover a security breach. A study by Trustwave’s SpiderLabs of 218 security breach investigations in 24 countries found that 38 percent hit the hospitality industry, 19 percent for financial services, 14 percent for retailers and 13 percent for food and beverage.

So, why are hackers poking around in hotel systems? Credit cards!

Hackers are looking for payment information that they can steal and use elsewhere. This information that can be converted to cash quickly, says Trustwave SpiderLabs executive Nicholas Percoco. Other sensitive information wasn’t nearly as popular, with the likes of financial, authentication and healthcare information good for only 1 percent of what was stolen.

More airline employees with sticky fingers

Did you lose a bag at Philadelphia International Airport? Well, there may be a reason. An American Airlines baggage crew chief was arrested and charged with stealing clothes from the luggage he handled. The game appears to have been: (1) steal the clothes, (2) return them to a department store and (3) don’t get caught.

That last one’s the hard part.

A passenger on Flight 892 from Dallas to Philly noticed four articles of clothing missing – with a total value of $550. It was easy to reach that amount; the tags were still on the items. Later, the clothing, which was purchased at a Nordstrom in Dallas, was taken to a local Nordstrom.

If it seems to easy … well, handcuffs are there to tell you that it is.

This is just the latest instance busted up by police. A TSA official was fired from his job in Philly for lifting passenger belongings, and a theft ring in St. Louis was discovered – after around 900 items were alleged to have been stolen.

Student sues US Airways for $1 Million – for a lost gaming console

Our gaming buddies over at are reporting on yet another incident at US Airways. This morning it involved a casket, this afternoon it involves a missing Xbox 360 gaming console.

Normally, when something goes missing in your luggage, you file a claim, and you’ll never hear anything back. But in the case of 21 year old Jesse Maiman, he’s not going to just sit back and relax – he’s suing US Airways for a cool $1 Million.

The console went missing last December on a flight from New Haven to Kentucky. When he picked up his luggage, he noticed how light it was. It was then that he realized his Xbox had been swiped.

According to Maiman, the Xbox had a specialized hard drive and components, and cost over $1000.

In his suit, he’s seeking $1,700 for the loss of his console, and “of at least $25,000, but in the maximum amount allowable by law or, in the alternative, in the sum of $1,000,000.”

That is right – one million Dollars for a lost Xbox.

US Airways was not aware of the lawsuit just yet, but was quick to point out that the law sets a limit on how much an airline will pay for lost luggage, currently that limit is just $3,300 per bag. But get this – the payouts always exclude any liability for electronics.

What I don’t understand is how someone can be stupid enough to put an Xbox console in their bag, but smart enough to get a lawsuit going. Even the most inexperienced flier knows that expensive items don’t go in your checked bag. It is hard to blame someone for the dishonesty of airport workers, but there are just too many cases of theft to expect expensive electronics to make it to your destination.

My guess is that there will be 2 possible outcomes here – US Airways will pay him a nominal fee to make the case go away, or they’ll play along and have him pay their legal fees when he loses. Either way, I don’t think he’ll be seeing his first million any time soon.