Hilaire O’Shea is a man who has spent most of his professional life dying bank notes lurid colours or sticking them together into inseparable lumps. Not because of any character trait, but as part of his work denying criminals access to their ill-gotten gains. Now he has turned his attention to jewellery!
As he says, “The criminals – whose job it is to steal from people; who consider their crime victimless; believe it is harmless because insurance pays for the loss; and having insurance is part of doing business – they have no empathy or admiration for the passion and craft that goes into creating these works of art. They believe a suitcase full of money is the same as a watch or necklace because the price to the public is the same. But it’s not.”
Events like the Hatton Garden vault break in inevitably throw crime against the sector into high relief. But in reality they are just the tip of a very big, very dirty, criminal iceberg. Much theft is mundane; involving trickery, deception, fraud, and occasionally sleight of hand. Higher up the criminal food chain comes robbery, often involving violence against property or people. And whilst we all fantasize about being a have-a-go hero, the reality is that cases like the recently reported jeweller giving his assailant more than he bargained for with a baseball bat are few and far between. Thankfully, most jewellers and their staff value the safety of life and limb above diamonds and pearls, and put up little resistance to violent robbers; preferring instead to deal with their insurance broker.
Great strides have been made in recent years with alarms, CCTV, fogging, and forensic markers, to either defend or identify property. But, with over £14 million of losses reported to SaferGems in 2014 alone, there is still plenty of stolen merchandise in circulation. The fact that it is easily transportable, can be recycled, or broken down into its component parts, and still represent a store of value is the biggest challenge to police and insurers. So much so that only negligible amounts of stolen goods are ever recovered. The knock-on effect is that organised crime gangs continue to use these resources to pay their subcontractors and fund more criminal enterprise. The challenge is to deny them access.
In Greek mythology Medusa was a Gorgon who, apart from having venomous snakes in place of hair, could turn to stone those who looked directly into her eyes. Through his Medusa™ system, Hilaire can achieve the next best thing. He hasn’t yet mastered turning people to stone, but in a trice he can encase your valuables in an impenetrable block of inert material. Making them impossible to get at, and impracticable to transport.
A few weeks ago he demonstrated his system to industry experts gathered in London, and within seconds filled a showcase full of watches with expanded foam. Even if an axe wielding hooligan could risk the sixty seconds of incessant pounding that it took to breach the toughened glass, his reward would have been impossible to transport on a scooter, let alone divide up between his co-conspirators.
Initially developed for use in secure flight cases, the Medusa™ system has now been scaled up to give all round security to stand-alone showcases, and is especially effective where displays of high value watches are concerned. To find out more, go to www.medusa-hss.com Personally, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Medusa!