Tuesday, May 14

Bringing a Shank to a Knife Robbery

I've seen plenty of news reports of people robbing retail locations with guns, and there have even been some with knives, but I was surprised to see a news report of an attempted shank robbery. The word shank is a slang term for a shiv, which is a makeshift knife. (I am not sure why the news used the term "shank.") I've seen enough films with prison settings to know that shivs are commonly used in prison, since knives and guns are not readily available. However, both guns and knives are everywhere in non-jailhouse Florida, so I wonder why someone would use a shiv in an attempted robbery.

OK, so the guy obviously needed money, so he probably didn't have enough money for a new gun or fancy knife. That makes sense, but most of us could just head into the kitchen to get a real knife. He could have even done a dine-and-dash at a local restaurant to get at least a butter knife. Thrift stores might even have knife sets at bargain prices, which would have been a good investment. Or a roadside knife stand. Obviously, if you want a gun, you just have to walk down a random block and check the glove compartments of each unlocked car. But you can also just put your finger or shiv inside a pocket and pretend.

I guess it's possible that the shiv robber didn't want a firearm because guns can be dangerous. They are also traceable. Really sharp knives can probably cut through clothing, so a semi-sharp shiv might be more portable. And if you use a knife from your nice kitchen knife set and then toss it in the bushes, the empty slot might be incriminating, but you can toss your shiv in the woods and most people will just think it's some kind of construction debris.

More than likely, the robbery attempt did not involve a lot of planning. From what I can tell, most robberies in Jacksonville lack planning, but this one might be more spur-of-the-moment than most. I assume the man walked by the store, had a great idea, and then looked around for the means to the end. He might have even used some construction debris he found in the parking lot. Or some mangled lawnmower parts sitting in the trunk of his car.

Lack of Commitment
The would-be robber didn't get any money with his shiv, since the worker ran away. But he also didn't walk to another store and try again, so I figure he probably learned pretty quickly that shivs work better in prison settings (where he'll probably end up, since he was caught on video). What I really hope is that this man realizes that crime doesn't pay, unless you run a really good scam.