Saturday, May 7, 2011

Burglary Backpack Mystery: What does it all mean?

A geography teacher at the University of Hawaii recently interrupted an office "burglary" and managed to grab the intruder's backpack as he fled the scene, which contained these items:

The mystery here is the burglar's intent, given the combination of tools he was carrying:

1. Metal Hacksaw handle and various blades.

2. Paint can opener, also works as small pry tool.

3. Can of air cleaner missing nozzle. May have been used to blow air or cool if used upside-down.

4. Pick of some sort, probably sharp due to tape over ends. Possible a diddle-stick or spudger.

5. Basic slip-joint pliers.

6. Compound or double-fulcrum cutters, for cutting thick or hard objects. Basically small bolt-cutters. Picture quality is poor, this may be a crimper, however it looks like it has cutting blades and not a die.

7. Fire extinguisher with plastic bottle attached to the bottom. This may be so that the device can be adjusted in height to be able to effectively wedge between two objects of unknown spacing creating a physically-activated booby-trap or distraction.

8. Seems to be black plastic bags wrapped up with tape, or possibly a black plastic drop-cloth to help contain a mess.

9. Long-shank straight-slot screwdriver. Useful for turning screws as well as prying and poking.

10. Crescent-brand slip-joint (or "Water Pump") pliers wrapped in electrical tape. Also, roll of black electrical tape.

11. Stanly brand 6-in-1 screwdriver.

12. Bag containing: Basic right-handed scissors, generic 11-in-1 screwdriver (possibly containing hollow torx [star point] security bits), various precision or jeweler's screwdrivers.

13. Looks like a Radio Shack brand motion detector receiver paired with #15 below.

14. Latex finger protectors, possibly to prevent fingerprints without requiring full gloves.

15. Wire-mold brand surface-mount electrical box containing various electronic components. Most likely contains motion detection components and is probably the guts from a Radio Shack wireless motion detector transmitter paired with #13 above which would be the receiver.

I think the most curious objects are #7 (Fire extinguisher with "adjustable-length" plastic bottle and hose-clamp girdle) and #14, the latex finger protectors.

What the heck is going on here?