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  1. NomDeGuerre

    NomDeGuerre Member

    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:

    Bank Robbery -- electronic whiz needed!

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by NomDeGuerre, Nov 16, 2016.

    Hey all,

    My idea for a bank robbery involves a guy using a GPS/Radio Frequency jammer to block signals that cause a dyepack or tracker from going off.

    Is this credible?

    I've not come across a single real-life instance where this was done. But I assume it is doable.
    For that matter -- I wonder why no real-life robber has used the device to do that, especially in an era where thieves routinely hack into luxury cars using special gadgets to unlock the computer-coded doors.
  2. QualityPen

    QualityPen Member

    Nov 14, 2016
    Likes Received:
    West Coast of the US of A
    I'm not an expert at all in this field, so you may want to get a second opinion on this.

    However, I have studied military jammers as a military enthusiast.

    Radio waves are just electromagnetic waves with a relatively low frequency, lower than visible light. Devices that detect radio signals work in much the same way as devices that detect visual light, such as your eyes. Imagine the device outputting the signal as a light bulb capable of changing colors. An alarm means a red light followed by a blue light blinking three times. If somebody sets up a spotlight next to the light bulb and turns it on, you will be unable to see the light bulb, only the blinding white light.

    The problem though is that you would need a very, very, powerful jamming device to blind a high quality sensor that is far away. You will also inevitably have the problem that unless you know the specific frequencies you need to jam, your device will be broad-spectrum and may be picked up by law enforcement of some kind.

    The other issue is that some sensors have software enabling them to work through this white noise by compensating for the white noise virtually. R, B, and Y are electromagnetic signals with an arbitrary strength value. A jammer is pumping out white noise which adds 100 points to the strength of any signal. If a dumb sensor detects R:101, B:127, Y:101, it will compare this to its activation code, which is R:0-1, B:26-27, Y:0-1. Since the perceived input does not match the code, it will not activate. A smart sensor will take into account the extreme amount of interference and subtract the clutter. Then it will have R:1, B:27, C:1. The sensor will see that this matches its activation code and raise the alarm.

    If a sensor does not expect any same-band signals coming its way, it may also be programmed to activate if the signal strength exceeds a certain threshold. For example, it is programmed so that B:30 is the maximum reasonable signal. If it detects a signal of B:127, this is obviously well out of the limit and it is likely the result of a jamming device. This means somebody is intentionally jamming the anti-robbery device, and it is time to raise the alarm.

    BUT that is military grade technology and is extremely expensive. I have no idea if banks go to such length to protect their vaults. The bank in question could be run by a corporation that likes to cut corners, and would skimp on higher grade technology. That is a choice you can make as an author.

    Your idea sounds credible enough to me, but the device needed for this task is likely to be expensive, difficult to make, and not guaranteed to work. It may actually be a little easier to create a small EMP. Then again, will the alarm activate if the sensors in the bank that send a signal to trigger the alarm go dark?

    Always keep in mind that in a situation requiring such extensive knowledge of the inner workings of niche technology, 99% of your reader base will be absolutely clueless and you can get away with stretching reality just a little.
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Aug 1, 2016
    Likes Received:
    East devon/somerset border
    I can see it working for a tracker - i'm sure i read somewhere about car theives using a jammer to incapciate a lo jack system which isn't much different.

    with the die packs though aren't they sent to go off on opening unless they are deactivated by a remote code input - for them you'd need a specialist transmitter and it might not be credible that you could hack the code
  4. Denegroth

    Denegroth Banned

    Nov 20, 2016
    Likes Received:
    South Florida
    Something to consider. Bank robberies don't yield very much cash (and the capture rate is right about 95% from FBI stats.) To use high tech equipment to rob a bank would likely cost the robbers more in outlay than they would nab in the heist.

    This is why fiction like Ocean's However Many This Month break into humongous safes the contents of which they know beforehand. It takes money to make money in that respect. The take is greater than the outlay. It's fictionally worth it.

    I like the idea of using the fact Fort Knox is near an armor division training field to mask digging a tunnel (one about three miles long) under the vault, then lowering the vault floor with scissors jacks. . . heh heh heh. Move the gold onto a truck and vroom. The only problem I see with that, economics being the way it is, the vault will be empty and we've been looking at old photos for fifty years. France would love that!

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