It is, amazingly, over half a century since Fagin told his innocent — not for long — charges in Oliver that “You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two”.
Those young thieves relied on stealth and deftness of touch to survive in the dog-eat-dog London of another time. Their lightness of hand could not be more different to the direct action gangs using building machinery to rip ATM machines from walls in quiet towns and villages.
There is an audacity about the robberies made possible only by the almost certain knowledge that the predictable absence of gardaí means the thieves will not be challenged even during what can hardly be an unnoticed smash-and-grab.
For people living in remote rural areas this is the primary concern but that might change if banks used the robberies as an excuse to abandon ATM services which are vital in communities left to struggle without a local bank.
These robberies are another reason to support Commission Drew Harris’ plans to get more gardaí out of the office and on to on the beat where they are needed most.