Partnering processes in the underworld

According to our national broadcaster and largest newspaper, there's a new business model in the underworld: someone makes a plan and all the preparations for an armed robbery, but then doesn't execute it. Instead, the plan is sold to someone for execution. The planning party then just collects a commission if the robbery was successful.

Why does someone do the tedious and boring planning, but then lets the actual robbery part for someone else, along with much or most of the profits?

To quote Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo: because it makes good business sense. When you create a robbery plan, you have to attract police attention; if you sell the plan instead of conducting the robbery yourself, an independent agent can execute the plan more safely, while you don't have to take any risks. Work safety first!

In the course of preparation for a major robbery - such as releaving a money transportation company of their heavy burden - you enquire for information and obtain equipment like guns, uniforms (for posing as an employee), explosives (for blowing up things or threatening people), and other stuff. Some of this is difficult to purchase or risky to steal. You may possibly have to bribe some insiders, do rehearsal runs, etc. All this will rise some eyebrows and people will call the police about suspicious activity. The authorities are likely to be tailing you by the time your plan is ready for execution.

But they will not arrest you for the rehearsal rounds, because planning and preparation for a robbery is not an offence in Finland; only an attempt is. And as a recent Finnish court precedent tells us, even a premeditated attempt doesn't count if you abort it when you see the police on your way to the target site.

If some of the equipment you obtain - such as guns - is illegal, they could bust you for that. But the punishment for possessing firearms with intent for violent crime is not really different from any gun possession offence, and will only get you a fine, which is a very minor sum of money if you don't have any taxable income. And since you generally don't pay tax for proceeds of crime, the fines are not a very big threat for professional criminals. So the police will rather wait that they could get you for the real crime you're planning - but they have to get you indisputably in the act, not just staging for it.

Enter the independent party who executes your plan. When your roadmap to money is done, you do a contract with the execution team. They conduct a review of the plan an adjust it according to their taste. Once the date is set, you get a good alibi - or preferably go out of the country - and let the execution team do their part. If they are successful, you get your commission. Like yuor share of the 1.5 million euros that they got from Turku robbery, none of which has been got back.

I call this business thinking. Enterprise world is familiar with this approach - partnering, outsourcing, off/near-shoring, risk management and profit sharing - but if e.g. our public sector could learn from the process capabilities of our more competent criminals, we'd be much better off.

The guys who did the Turku and Lieto heists were rather successful and they have demonstrated good, creative out-of-the-box thinking, and they have shown their capability of adapting to the environment. Could for instance the City of Helsinki hire them to redesign the budget cuts that Mr. Pajunen has been calling for?

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