Old time crooks mostly got it right when it came time to choose a name for their criminal enterprises and dress the part.
Take the Purple Gang. A nice color, goes with anything and has a long association with royalty. The Broadway Mob – named after a brightly lit, well-traveled thoroughfare in the heart of New York City’s theater district.
Neither of those names is connected to crime in any way. Either one could be a flower shop, a sandwich counter, a food truck or a bodega. Why give the cops a head start by pointing them in the right direction.
Buying stolen merchandise
That lesson was lost on a Pennsylvania group that recently got in trouble for money laundering and other crimes. Among other things, they were buying stolen merchandise such as razor blades, pet products, teeth whitening strips and ink cartridges, mostly still in the original packaging, and reselling it online through eBay or Amazon.
You would think these people would choose a name like Thursday Morning or Politically Correct. Wrong. They worked out of a place called Joe’s Steals and Deals. Doh.
Using the word Steal in a fencing scam is a bit like scrapping the name Al Qaeda and going with All Things Terror. Or naming a cyber theft ring Fake Identities R Us. It’s telling way too much.
Some negative connotations
Gang bangers could learn a thing or two here as well. The Bloods have some negative connotations right off the bat. But maybe that is the point. Take the 10th Street Gang. When you are looking for those guys you already know where to start. The Vice Lords? I wonder what they do to support themselves.
Don’t get me started on clothing. The Al Capone mob was famous for their snappy gray fedora hats and expensive tailored suits. Today’s disorganized criminals wear torn, droopy pants with their underwear hanging out. Plus they put the name of their crew on their jackets to make it easy for the police.
No wonder the jails are filled with these guys. It’s like having a sign taped to your back that says “kick me.”
My advice to the new breed of outlaws: Learn about the art of “branding” and at least make it look and sound like you are involved in a legitimate business.