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Heistcore is associated with thieves and heists, the elaborate thefts of data, money, art, jewels, and historical documents. Heistcore aesthetics can be found in espionage, crime, and detective media. Because of the value of the stolen goods, heists are considered more high class than cons in general. The title Gentleman Thief is sometimes applied to males who participate in heists, especially in media set during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. The female equivalent is the Cat Burglar.




History

In fiction, heists are a major part of the caper genre. Thieves and heists appear in literature as far back as medieval times, with the creation of the Robin Hood character in English folklore.

Modern Heistcore was revived in the 1920s due to the discovery of King Tut's tomb and the resulting craze for all things Egyptian. European grave robbers looted Egyptian tombs and trafficked artifacts to Europe. Many of these artifacts were purchased by wealthy aristocrats and eventually ended up in museums, especially The British Museum.

Modern fiction centered around heists often questions the legitimacy of ownership. Thieves orchestrate heists of Greek, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern artwork from European museums or the private collections of corrupt politicians in order to return the artwork to its rightful owners.

In real life, the so-called Monuments Men, were responsible for retrieving artwork stolen by the Nazis during World War Two, and returning it to the surviving descendants of the Jewish people from which it was stolen.

Visuals

Heistcore has a dark, deep, and metallic color palette. Colors include black, tan, cream, gold, silver, and jewel tones like deep red, blue, and green. The aesthetic of wealth, both the nouveau riche and Old Money, appears in Heistcore due to the wealthy often being the mark, or victim of the heist in question.

  • gold bars, coins, and statues
  • paper money in high denominations
  • champagne and champagne glasses
  • Louboutin heels
  • fur coats
  • bold makeup like winged eyeliner and red lipstick
  • diamonds
  • brightly colored jewels like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds
  • bank vaults with elaborate locking mechanisms
  • rubber masks with the faces of American presidents or celebrities
  • antique letters, books, and maps
  • oil paintings in gold frames
  • marble statues
  • clocks and watches
  • exotic pets like peacocks, sharks, and alligators
  • Vespa scooters

Fashion

The catsuit is a fashion piece which comes directly from Heistcore. It is a full body, skintight garment, usually made of leather or faux leather, with a zipper that runs from the neckline to the waist area. It is rarely worn by men.

Common types of disguises

A key element of a heist is gaining access to a secure area. For this to work, disguises are often employed.

  • maids, cleaners, and repairmen
  • nuns, priests, and monks
  • art experts
  • wealthy patrons and customers
  • elderly people
  • law enforcement such as police and security guards
  • ball gowns and expensive suits appropriate for a black tie event

Stores

Home Decor

  • Antiques
  • Diamond shaped glass paperweights
  • Faberge egg
  • Marble statues
  • Oil paintings
  • Persian rugs
  • Red velvet curtains
  • Security cameras
  • Wall safes
  • Whiskey decanters and glasses

Stores

Most museum gift shops sell poster prints of artworks in their collection. In National Treasure, this is played for laughs when the real Declaration of Independence is mistaken for a replica Ben Gates is stealing from the shop.

A similar incident happens in the film Bean. The title character accidentally ruins the original painting of Whistler's Mother and replaces it with a poster from the museum gift shop.

Some shops also sell replicas of statues, although they are often small scale replicas of much larger pieces.

Activities

Theft is illegal, but there are many useful and interesting skills that thieves have which ordinary people can do for fun.

  • Attending art auctions
  • Coin collecting
  • Gymnastics
  • Learning self-defense
  • Lock picking on vintage locks from antique shops
  • Playing poker
  • Visiting museums

There are also some activities that feel like theft or even heists because society has conditioned us to behave in certain ways.

  • Asking for a raise
  • Couponing
  • Donating to RIP Medical Debt - you’ll feel like Robin Hood, "robbing from the rich and giving to those in need"
  • Geocaching
  • Searching for Unclaimed Money/Property/Inheritance
  • Taking free samples

Media

Books

  • Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
  • Heist Society series by Ally Carter

Games

  • Heist board game
  • Master Thief card game
  • Master Pieces: The Curator's Game by Thomas Hoving
  • Art Mysteries series by Anna Nilsen

Movies

  • 21 (2008)
  • American Animals (2018)

  • American Hustle (2013)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Baby Driver (2017)
  • Entrapment (1999)
  • Focus (2015)
  • Gambit (2012)
  • Heat (1995)
  • How to Steal a Million (1966)
  • Jack of Diamonds (1967)
  • Kajillionaire (2020)
  • Locked Down (2021)
  • Logan Lucky (2017)
  • National Treasure (2004) and National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
  • Now You See Me (2013)
  • Ocean’s movies
  • The Art of the Steal (2013)
  • The Bank Job (2008)
  • The Bling Ring (2013)
  • The Brothers Bloom (2008)
  • The Goldfinch (2019)
  • The Great Train Robbery (1979)
  • The Italian Job (1969)
  • The Italian Job (2003)
  • The Ladykillers (2004)
  • The Maiden Heist (2009)
  • The Misfits (2021)
  • The Saint (1997)
  • The Saint (2017)
  • The Sting (1973)
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)
  • Widows (2018)

TV Shows

  • Blood and Treasure (2019-)
  • Leverage (2008-2012)
  • Lupin (2021-)
  • Lupin III (anime franchise with no relation to the above)
  • Money Heist (2017-)
  • The Blacklist (2013-)
  • White Collar (2009-2014)
  • Wired (2008)

Video Games

  • Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (2007)
  • Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure (2012)
  • Payday: The Heist (2011)
  • Payday 2 (2013)
  • Persona 5 (2016)

Fictional Characters

  • Arsène Lupin
  • Lupin III
  • Carmen Sandiego
  • Catwoman
  • Simon Templar

Famous Heists

1911

  • The robbery of the Mona Lisa

1940s

  • The Amber Room at Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, Russia, was dismantled by the Nazis and taken to be displayed at Königsberg Castle in 1941. After the order was given to transport the room in 1945, it was never seen again.

1971

  • D.B. Cooper disappeared into the night via parachute after extorting $200,000 from an airline

1990

  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist

2015

  • The Hatton Garden Heist

Gallery

Resources

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