British anti-theft briefcase, 1961

From a 1961 British Pathe newsreel called "Beat The Bandit", a remarkable anti-theft system for a briefcase:

As the man runs off with the case three telescopic poles spring out of it making the case impossible to manage, as well as crushing the man's hand pressing it into the handle of the case. It then has to be unlocked and deactivated with a key!

Amazing Anti-Thief Security Case! (via Schneier)


  1. Taht would stick it right up the TSA’s Jaxie! It might even be worth the inevitable follow-up arrest.

  2. Unfortunately, thieves figured out a clever work-around by saying, “If you activate the security system on this briefcase, I’ll still have one free hand to shoot you with, asshole.”

  3. Reminds me of the security measures in Eric Cartman’s trapper keeper.

    One big design flaw: get robbed on a crowded train platform and you’ll likely take out three innocent bystanders along with the crook.

    1. And these days, the inevitable lawsuit brought by the thief, claiming injury to his hand.

  4. Great idea :-p And it isn’t like those explosively launched arms could injure bystanders or the victim :-0

  5. Looks like those things shooting out would maim lots of innocent bystanders, take up a lot of space inside the case, and make it pretty heavy. 

  6. Aaw, c’mon. Stop being so negative!
    It’s from a time where childlike innocence and not being required to think three steps ahead were prioritized.
    I think it is amazing in it’s awkwardness!

    1.  Oh, God.

      Everytime I think I know every possible torture instrument that exists, someone posts a link like that. Never heard of that and hopefully never will hear of it again.

  7. Kind of makes me long for the days when thieves had no rights. Booby traps such as this are the best thing ever.

  8. Reminds me of “Crunch Frog,” the Monty Python sketch.

    Praline: Well why don’t you move into more conventional areas of confectionery, like praline or lime cream; a very popular flavour I’m led to understand. (superintendent enters) I mean look at this one, ‘cockroach cluster’,(superintendent exits) ‘anthrax ripple’. What’s this one, ‘spring surprise’?Milton: Ah – now, that’s our speciality – covered with darkest creamy chocolate. When you pop it in your mouth steel bolts spring out and plunge straight through-both cheeks.Praline: Well where’s the pleasure in that? If people place a nice chocky in their mouth, they don’t want their cheeks pierced. In any case this is an inadequate description of the sweetmeat. I shall have to ask you to accompany me to the station.

  9. I remember seeing this on Tomorrow’s World, I’m sure. As I wasn’t born until 1961, it must have hung around as an idea for at least another five years or so. I always thought it was kind of neat, though an indelible dye pyrotechnic is probably more effective.

  10. Ah mid-60’s British engineering, from the people who brought us Lucas electrics and Amal carbonators… and if you’ve ever owned a British motorcycle, you’ll know that that is NOT a typo.

    1. I recommend the club of forgetfulness. Possibly in combination with the cocktail of oblivion.

    2. I opened the “pear of anguish” link in a new tab, and was planning on getting to it when I finished reading the comments.  

      Having seen your comment, I decided to remain in the dark, and have closed the tab.

  11. Am I the only person who wonders who the “How to Stay Slim” woman is? 

    And whether she ever tore a tendon from over-strenuous exercise.

  12. I’m amazed that I seem to be the only person who wants one of these just so I could have fun setting it off. I can even imagine hilarious carrying it through my office, setting it off when several people are looking (but a safe distance away) and saying, “Wow, it’s never done that before.”

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