Lock-In Tales: Taped Together








This prolonged period of lock-in in the UK has led to a number of interesting dilemmas for people in many businesses – and that is just as true for those of us who are in the robbery business as it is for anyone else.  For one thing, we have had to adapt the way we make sure we secure and silence those we visit.  And for another, we have had to deal with a lot more of the younger generation than we may like.


Take one colleague I was speaking to the other day.  He had made his way into one house in the outskirts of one of our great cities, intending to see what he could find to take, only to find that the lady of the house was playing a game with her children.  She had a daughter and a son – twins as it turned out – and they were doing a Drama assignment for their school about a kidnapping.


Mummy was already secured to a chair with some silver tape, and when she saw me they were pressing the silver tape over her mouth, so she had no chance to warn the kids I was there – and they had used all the silver tape up.  What they did have was black electrical tape – and a wide roll of yellow tape that could be used for bandages.


Which is why he put them both in kitchen chairs as well, used the black electrical tape to secure their wrists and ankles to the chair, and then covered their mouths with strips of the yellow tape.  It was all their mother cold do not to laugh – never a good idea when you have your mouth covered anyway – as he proceeded to rob the place.





A very simple idea, to be sure – but as I say, improvisation has been the name of the game for a lot of us.  Even for me, and believe me, I can improvise with the best of them.


Last Saturday, I made my way into a house in the south of London, looking for some quick finds – and what I found were two children, a ten year old girl and a nine year old boy.  The girl was wearing a black top with capped sleeves and shorts, as well as black baseball boots, and the boy a dirty grey vest, black shorts, white socks and trainers.  The family was a Caribbean one, the girl with her hair in corn rows and the boy with very short hair.


I told them both to be quiet, and asked where their parents were.  Turned out their parents were both key workers, and their seventeen year old daughter was meant to be looking after them – only she was, shall we say, breaching the social distancing rules with her boyfriend upstairs.


So I first had to make sure the kids stayed quiet – which is why I picked up the roll of duct tape that was on the surface behind them, and told them both to put their hands behind their backs.


Five minutes later, the lad was sitting on a chair, looking at his sister as I smoothed the silver tape down over her mouth.  He also had tape over his mouth as he twisted round, watching as his sister sat next to him and I taped their ankles as well.  They both nodded to show they were all right, as I turned the radio on that was in the kitchen, and made my way to the upstairs floor, the roll of silver tape in my hand.


Let me put it this way – their parents found the kids first, perfectly happy – and then their sister and her partner, tightly taped together, very closely together…





It is somehow better for those me and my friends visit when they are together – one female friend of mine certainly believes that.  She called in on a local home the other morning to find two sisters – seven and eight – with their mother.  All three were rather – large – but they actually seemed excited at the fact someone had broken in. 


Turned out they were fans of the Games Players board – you know, the couple who stage home invasions like big games of Cops and Robbers.  According to her, all three had long stringy blonde hair, the older girl wearing a taupe top pulled down over one shoulder, the younger a grey striped one pulled in the same way, both of them wearing the tops over bikinis, while their mother had on a blue velour tracksuit.


So when the girls asked for her to pretend to be the Games Player, how could she refuse?  The mother found a roll of dark grey duct tape, which she used to gag her daughters “because the nice lady told me to.”  My friend could see their grin under the tape as they watched her tape their mother’s wrists together behind her back, and her arms to her sides, before they got off the couch and she lay down, letting my friend tape her ankles and legs, and then cover her own mouth as well.


The girls then sat on the floor, after she had taped their wrists behind their backs, back to back so she could tape them together, and then their ankles and legs as well, before she robbed them, but left a very happy family to enjoy their time forced to stay in…




I also had an opportunity recently to let a young girl play a game of robbers with her grandmother.  This was just after the lock-in had started, and I had already scoped out the house, so I decided to take a chance – but I took precautions, wearing a face mask and latex gloves.


Which both of them noticed when I walked in on them in the living room of the house.  The girl was about ten, wearing a white sweatshirt and black leggings, with dark brown hair, while her grandmother had lighter brown hair, and was wearing a grey hoodie and pants, as well as her glasses.  They were both surprised to see me, but as explained I was going to rob them, and that I needed to keep them quiet and in one place, they both agreed.


I sat with the girl while I asked her grandmother is she had any rope and tape in the house.  She got up and came back with silver tape, washing line and a pair of scissors – and two cloths.  When the kid asked what they were for, the grandmother said if I was going to tie them up and stop them talking, she wanted them to be properly treated – so she folded one of the cloths, and put it in her own mouth, her granddaughter giggling as she tried to speak, and said she wanted to sound like that.


And so it was that she put the second cloth in the younger girl’s mouth, and then covered her mouth and chin with the duct tape, before allowing her granddaughter to do the same to her before they hugged each other.   I then cut the washing line into several lengths, and used one of them to tie the younger girl’s wrists together behind her back, and her ankles snugly together, before I did the same thing for her grandmother.

She then lay with her head on her grandmother’s lap, both of them watching the television while I went about my business, trying (and not succeeding) to talk to each other…





I wasn’t the only one who had to make sure a kid and a parent stayed together.  My friend was in Solihull, and went into a house on the off chance he could find something, where he was unfortunate enough to meet a woman in her late twenties, and her five year old son.  She was wearing a grey vest top with thin orange stripes, and grey sweat pants, while her curly haired son had on a cream top with blue and grey sleeves, and blue shorts.


Well, they were a little surprised and upset, naturally, but he spoke softly, calmed them down, and explained he had to keep them in the seat they were in and quiet.  Well, she understood, and apparently she hugged her son as he held up a roll of red tape he had picked up when he went in.  She knew what he was going to do, so she said to cover her mouth first – then, when her son saw she was all right, he could do it to her.


This was one of those occasions when he knew she was saying the right thing, so he covered her mouth with several strips of the red tape, then waited as her son looked at his mother, and then touched the red tape with his hand before he giggled.  She laughed back – well, mumbled back – and nodded as he covered her son’s mouth with the tape as well.


He then taped his wrists together in front of him, before he told his mother to give him the biggest hug she could.  He was sitting across her lap, so when she hugged him he was able to tape her wrists together by her side, so that they would stay together.


He then taped his ankles together, before he knelt down and taped his mother’s ankles together, the grey material of her pants flaring out under the red band.  He was then able to leave them with each other while he found what he could…





Part of the current situation, of course is that the parents are expected to take on some of the teaching of their kids.  Another of my friends happened to walk in one television based class which saved him a little time.


This was a detached house in the Alderley Edge area, and he got in without any problems to hear the television was on.  It was when he looked in the room the television was in that he had to stop himself laughing.


There were three kids sitting on a couch, watching Joe Wicks – only they could not join in, given the tape that was holding their wrists together in front of them, and their ankles, as well as covering their mouths.  The boy was twelve, and wearing a red t-shirt and baseball cap with grey shorts, his feet hanging over the leather cushion.  On the other side was an eleven year old girl, wearing a pale blue Disney princess dress, and in the middle a six year old girl in a red sweatshirt with gold writing and blue jeans.  All three were barefoot, the younger girl wearing a straw hat on her blonde hair.


And the reason for this way of not learning?  That would be their father, who was sitting at a table on the other side of the room, working on a laptop.  They saw him, and he put a finger to his lips to get them to stay quiet, before he walked across the room and had a – conversation with the man.  One that left him in the chair, as secure and silent as the kids as he robbed the place…





OF course, it would be wonderful to say all these encounters were peaceful ones, with little trouble, but sadly that is not always the case.  My former partner had to deal with such a situation in North London, when he walked into a house where the au pair and the two children were less than cooperative at first.


Their parents worked at the Royal Free, so he figured it would be a simple in, keep them locked in a room, and out job.  When he disturbed them in the kitchen of their house, however, something entirely different happened.


The daughter was eight, and wearing a tied dyed t-shirt with orange shorts, while her seven year old brother was only wearing a pair of black shorts.  The au pair had on a pink vest and leggings – and when she saw him, in his black jumper and pants and with the black face mask covering his nose and mouth, she just looked at the kids and said “Scream!”


Which is that they both did – until he stood behind them, with his latex gloved hands over both their mouths, and said if they didn’t stop screaming he would do something to hurt them.


Did they stop screaming?  Nope – but then the au pair told them to stop screaming, that they would be all right if they calmed down.  It took a little while, but they eventually stopped as he saw the roll of duct tape on the side.


They were sitting in green wooden chairs, so he told the au pair to sit in a third one, and use the duct tape to secure her ankles to the chair legs.  He then told her to wrap it round her upper legs and the chair seat, before he told the kids to keep quiet – and then to help them with that, he took two handkerchiefs from the laundry basket next to him, and put one into each of their mouths.


He used two more to stuff the mouth of the au pair, and then taped over her mouth before he taped her wrists together behind her back.  The kids watched this, too scared to move as he came back over and pressed strips of the grey tape over their mouths, then taped their wrists together behind their backs and their ankles and legs together.


He told them not to move as he ransacked the house, and then left them there – he felt a little bad he had to do that, but it was necessary…




So, like I said, strange times means strange ways of approaching our work – so I want to thank you for cooperating so well, and the fact your three children have behaved themselves so well.  I must say, that blue tape does a very good job of keeping them in the seat and keeping them quiet – just as it is doing for you.


So, nod to tell me where the valuables are, please…









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