Sep 23, 2016 I Brett Tingley

Mysterious Binary Bandits Stealing 0s and 1s In Philadelphia

Local news affiliate CBS Philly out of Philadelphia is reporting on a string of bizarre thefts. The property stolen isn’t expensive or easily resold, and victims’ lives aren’t particularly affected. Yet despite the rather inconsequential nature of these thefts, local residents are perplexed by the specific nature of the missing items. According to local anchor Anita Oh, thieves are stealing all of the 0s and 1s from the address plaques outside local homes and businesses.

Over the last few weeks, these “binary bandits” have stolen the 0s and 1s right off of the street-facing walls of several dozen homes in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. No other unusual crimes or thefts have been reported in the area, so these numerical burglaries seem to be part of a specific and pre-motivated effort.

My precious artisanal metalwork!

Homeowner Meghan Haley told CBS Philly she was surprised at the thief’s brazenness, and expects compensation for her loss of property:

“She just walked up and took the number without hesitation. I would like to send her the bill for the number when I purchase a new one.”

Unfortunately for the wily digit thieves, one of their ranks was caught on a hidden surveillance camera outside a victim’s home which was using a home alarm system app. Despite the footage, Philly police have so far been unable to gather any leads in the case.

If caught, the binary bandits will face charges of criminal theft and trespassing. Local residents don’t seem too worried that this might be part of some larger mayhem project, and instead are speculating that this could be part of some bizarre public art project, or an attempt to send a coded message. Perhaps the order of the numbers stolen spells out a hidden code?

Cryptography 101, people.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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