Recent news has classic movie fans and collectors rejoicing as a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers, stolen from a museum over a decade ago, have been recovered, a very rare end result after a theft. Despite the happy ending, there are still lessons that can be noted about the consequences of stolen property.
The theft involved breaking in the back door and smashing the glass the slippers were contained in. The slipper’s owner lent them to the museum under their assurances that security measures were in place. However, while their alarm did go off, it did not send any notifications to the police or owners; a failure in the system meant the only party notified was the burglar who was not deterred from intruding into the property and had already breached the security barriers.
In the vast majority of thefts, the stolen property is never recovered. Most items stolen from businesses or destroyed in break-ins will not have million dollar insurance policies, or the notoriety to warrant an FBI sting to recover them. In this case, while we all should be happy that a priceless item was recovered undamaged, it shouldn’t be overlooked that it was only missing due to a complete failure in the security operation that the museum had full confidence in, both in deterring the crime from happening and in reacting once it did occur.
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