Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things You Don't Think About

I was testing the software that I maintain today, and among the tests, I was supposed to enter "burg" and see how many Idaho Code offenses with that text in them would appear.  One of the choices that briefly appeared just hilarious to me was: Idaho Code 18-1405: "burglary with explosives."  My first thought when I saw that expression was a teenager who can't figure how to smash a window, so he blows the wall down with dynamite. 

Then, after I thought about it, I realized that it was not the world's most over-the-top incompetent, but what the code describes:
BURGLARY WITH EXPLOSIVES. Any person who with intent to commit
crime breaks and enters any building whether inhabited or not, and opens or
attempts to open any vault, safe, or other secure place within said building
by use of nitroglycerin, dynamite, gunpowder or any other explosive, shall be
deemed guilty of burglary with explosives.
A very Old West sort of statute, I suspect!


  1. "A very Old West sort of statute, I suspect!"

    Not at all. Safe-cracking with explosives has been a common practice all over the world.

    You might want to read the Damon Runyon story "Butch Minds the Baby", about a retired safecracker who is called to act professionally while looking after a baby (his wife being away).

    Even in Europe, it's known. Eddie Chapman was a British burglar who became a very successful double agent during WW II. He was recruited by the Germans in Jersey, where he was in prison for "safe-blowing".

  2. I know that it happens in the 20th century as well. But I suspect that this statute is originally 19th century. I can't imagine too many modern safecrackers using nitroglycerin.