The Brooklyn Street
Crews Who Boosted Ralph Lauren and Invented
Their Own Style
"Bury Me with the Lo On," a new book by the rapper Thirstin Howl III
and the photographer Tom Gould, begins in the
mid-nineteen-eighties, as the story of Ralphie's Kids and the United
Shoplifters Association, two Brooklyn street crews locally famous for
wearing nothing but Polo Ralph Lauren, which they almost never paid for.
They crossed paths often on the subway, and, given the two groups'
predilection for merely taking what they wanted, it seemed inevitable that
they would begin robbing each other for their gear.
unexpected happened. One night, both crews were hanging out in Times Square,
where photographers used to set up with airbrushed backdrops of city sights
and designer logos. The United Shoplifters came upon Ralphie's Kids taking a
group picture in front of a Polo background. They were the only ones who
could truly appreciate the meticulousness of each other's outfits, and so
they decided to take the picture together. They soon realized that it made
sense to join forces. In 1988, united by a nerdish devotion to Ralph Lauren
and an implicit understanding that department-store security guards were
ill-equipped to deal with packs of forty or fifty kids at once, they
christened themselves the Lo Lifes.
"Bury Me" consists largely of
personal photos from the collections of Lo Life members, many from Thirstin
Howl III, the crew's public ambassador since the late nineties. There are
Polaroids of crew gatherings, snapshots of individual collections, even
photos taken in prison. They capture African-American and Latino kids-mostly
young men, though there were also women, who dubbed themselves the Lo
Wives-inventing their own style.
They frolic and preen, their swagger
propped up by the satisfaction of a double theft: not only have they cheated
the system by not paying for the clothes, but these clothes weren't intended
for them in the first place. What we wear is our most visible projection of
desire into the world. There's something delightfully free, then, about the
juxtaposition of Ralph Lauren's upscale Americana and all these defiant
black and brown faces.
Given how much the city would change in the
coming decades, there is also something quaint about the low-level menace
posed by a dozen kids running through Macy's, grabbing the most outlandish
golf shirts, beach towels, and silk shirts in sight. At one point, G-George,
an original member of Ralphie's Kids, wonders, "How could paper have value
when everything is free?" This isn't to glorify shoplifting. But, after
reading so many accounts, and seeing so many Polaroids radiating with a
strange pride, you begin to see the world their way.
As the Harlem
rapper Zhigge explains, "Our aim was to flip it to the point where we looked
better than the people who had money."
International Organized Retail Crime Gang of 105 suspects
busted in Europe
Jewelry, cash, fake passports and more were seized by police in Europe and
Asia during a massive operation against an organized criminal group
responsible for producing and using counterfeit credit cards for
purchasing high value goods, according to a Europol press release.
During the operation some 105 suspects were arrested, including 29 in
Malaysia and 76 in Europe, while 2 illegal production sites of high quality
credit cards were dismantled.
High quality counterfeit credit cards
were manufactured in different locations and subsequently used by
individuals to purchase high value goods, mainly at electronic stores and
duty-free shops at airports, causing losses estimated at EUR5 million (U.S.
$5.1M), explains Europol. According to the investigation, the organized
crime group purchased mainly jewelry and expensive watches at
"The majority of the payment card fraud
crimes have an international dimension, taking into account the origins of
suspects, places where cards were obtained and illegal transactions made.
Only through a coordinated approach at the global level between industry and
law enforcement can we successfully track down the criminal networks behind
such large-scale frauds and bring them to justice," says Europol Deputy
Director Operations Wil van Gemert. israelidiamond.co-it
Florida man pleads
guilty to $50,000 in fake credit card purchases
A Florida man pleaded guilty Friday to manufacturing fake credit cards
to illegally purchase more than $50,000 in goods in eight Maine counties
Court records show that between Jan. 7 and Jan. 13,
Lueje-Rodriguez and another man, Ariel Perez-Calvo, used debit and credit
card account numbers belonging to Maine bank customers to make more than
$50,000 in unauthorized purchases in Penobscot, Knox, Hancock, Piscataquis,
Franklin, Somerset, Kennebec and Androscoggin counties.
Female ORC Duo hits
Safeway's in Edmonds and Shoreline, WA
accused of lifting hundreds of dollars' worth of condoms and pregnancy tests
from Safeways in Edmonds and Shoreline. They knew what they were looking
for," says Edmonds Police Sgt. Shane Hawley. "They went right to the health
and beauty section and they brought their own bags, grabbed a cart, loaded
up about $500 worth of merchandise, high-end health and beauty stuff and
then just walked right out of the store. You could tell right from the
beginning they knew where they were going, they knew what they wanted to get
and this wasn't the first time, because a couple days before that they also
hit a store in Shoreline, did the exact same thing. Organized retail theft,
which is what this is going to end up being.
they're turning around and selling all those stolen condoms, pregnancy tests
and high-end beauty supplies.
County, FL: Three arrested following a grand Theft spree at CVS
Authorities said the thefts happened Friday at CVS stores in Martin County.
The three Broward County residents had forced their way out of a store.
Employees were able to provide a description of the thieves and their vehicle,
and a pursuit began. Deputies were able to stop the vehicle, and the three
suspects were captured. Investigators said hundreds of dollars worth of
merchandise was found in the vehicle.
Seymour, IN: 3 Burglars Arrested at Walmart
Distribution Center, theft of 60 televisions
Mt Juliet, TN: 2 suspects wanted in $2,000
Walmart electronics theft
UK: Glasgow: Rogue Santa cost toy store
UK: Serial Shoplifter with over 300
Convictions claims he made "a grand a week"
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