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The Owl Thieves of Sweden (theatlantic.com)
40 points by antigizmo 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments

It is an interesting phenomena that when 'easy' crime is eliminated the criminals move up to more violent things.

There has been speculation that the legalization of marijuana has led to an upswing in petty theft and muggings because of the loss of jobs as 'drug dealer' (well at least for pot). And the weird thing for me is that if you think of criminal activity as a job market it sort of makes sense, what is your low level criminal to do to earn a living?

Wouldn't it be odd if UBI was a solution to criminal activity? (or would that narrative be more paying off the criminals?) Interesting things to contemplate.

Any short term upswing as a result of idle criminals is likely to be drowned out in the long term by reduced financial feasibility.

Also a 15% increase in crime for a country with a fairly low crime rate could just be a statistical fluke...

For example, if the 2 bank robberies becomes 3 next year, I'm not sure it's fair panic over a 50% increase in bank robberies :)

A single great gray owl—known as the “phantom of the north”—now goes for 1 million kronor (about $120,000) on the dark web.

So, teach the Police in relevant areas how to breed Grey Owls and pretty soon the market value precludes owl theft and the species is no longer on the red list. I'll hand-wave the economics and feasibility at this point ...

OK, sillies apart, crime is here to stay and if you gradually exhaust one seam (mining analogy here) then you may cause another to become profitable - gradually. If you set fire to the seam then don't be too surprised if things change rapidly. On the bright side: journalists can publish articles about those rapid changes.

Also on the bright side: the article doesn't ramble, is informative and is an enjoyable read - a good example of a journo in great form.

The entire article only references owls once. As an owl enthusiast. I found the lack of bird related content extremely dissatisfying.

Also in reply to your idea about breeding owls. I'm sure you can guess that it is difficult to breed these animals in captivity. If it were not, owl breeding would be more profitable than owl stealing.

There are 3 reasons for this.

1) Owls are monogamous during the breeding season.

2) The hooting season is very short.

3) Owl eggs are delicious.

I too felt a little sold short on owl refs in the article. I live next door to a park with a very decent owl population judging by the row the buggers make (Tawny and Barn owls at least)

I've never tried an owl egg and I trust your assertion is not based on personal experience.

These are the only owl eggs we eat at my house.


Nice one. However - chicken eggs is ... ... ... are they better? ... ... ...

The olives are probably unperturbed.

an owl enthusiast. I found the lack of bird related content

Agreed. This is a better site https://www.owlsnearme.com

„Crimes against people—assault, robbery, fraud—are also on the rise. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention found that in 2016, 15.6 percent of the country’s citizens fell prey to at least one such offense—the highest rate since the council launched its annual crime survey, 10 years before.“

That... seems extremely high?

It also includes other crimes such as harassment and is not based on actual police reports.


I would not ordinarily link to reddit, but


not what you might think it is, from reading the URL.

One of the coffee shops I frequent has had big Superb Owl events every year for the last few. It's quite something.

It positions itself as the anti-bar.

How many (unused) post-it notes do you have to take with you for it to count as Stealing, rather than just ”stealing”? If you take one normal stack a year home, is that enought to be a thief? Asking for a friend.

> Swedish bank robbers and light-fingered cashiers have gone the way of ABBA hit singles.

I guess Swedish police should be ready for two bank robberies in December: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/abba-record-first-ne...

Slightly off topic -- What do tourists do when they go to Sweden? When I go to a foreign country, I bring at least enough currency with me for the first few days to pay for transportation from the airport, tip the bellman and the room service and maid.

Do people just pick up a local cash card, like getting a local bus pass at a kiosk or a tobacconist?

> Do people just pick up a local cash card

Standard international VISA/MasterCard cards work fine. Just shop around for a bank that doesn't have ridiculous fees.

Tipping isn't a thing in Sweden, except maybe in fancy restaurants (and in that case you enter the tip on the PIN pad)

You can barely even have a flee market without a card terminal in Sweden, if you expect to sell something.

I am a swede, so I don't really know how tourist do it. But I just use my debit card for almost everything. For buses/trains/taxis I use cards/or the their app which will take cards. For the random $4 street vendor hotdog we use swish (https://www.getswish.se/).

When I travel overseas, I tend to just use a credit card.

It's usually cheaper than withdrawing from an ATM, where you pay a currency conversion fee as well as an extortionate withdrawal fee.

Tipping is generally not done in Europe and a lot of the rest of the world like it is in America, so that's not an issue.

It depends on what country you visit, but in a lot of developed countries, you could do a trip there without needing cash at all. I know that it's certainly possible in Australia or New Zealand.

My debit card from my bank works just fine overseas (I only ever have issues in the US where some places only seem to accept magnetic stripe, which seems less reliable).

Americans have the opposite problem: machines that require chip and pin. We have chips now, but not pins. When I visited Sweden with a chipless debit card it meant getting a passport photo taken in a Swedish photo booth at midnight involved convincing a cashier to give me 150 kronor in 10kr coins as change to feed the sole change-eating booth in the Stockholm central station

I haven't brought cash with me when travelling for probably a decade now. Credit cards work in a great many places now, and if I do need cash I usually just go to a bank terminal when I arrive and withdraw some in the local currency.

Same here - in my past decade of travel, I've never brought any cash (aside from US$200 of "emergency" money I've not once had to touch) and never used a cash Forex counter. I've always just used an ATM on arrival. If you're regularly traveling to Zimbabwe or something this might not work, but even in places like Cambodia I had no problem arriving with only cards.

Was over yonder a few years back, and I just used cash or debit card. Never had a problem. What issue did you run into?

>What issue did you run into?

I didn't. I haven't been to Sweden yet. But all of the responses seem to be "Just use your debit card," which doesn't answer the meat of my question -- How do I tip the bellman, the maid, etc...

One person stated that tipping isn't really a thing in Sweden. That was probably the most useful response so far, since it actually addressed the scenario I posited.

Ah, to me it read as if carrying cash was the problem you were facing, not wondering about tipping culture.

As it were, I rented out a home north of Kalmar and ate with family. Sorry I can't be of much help!

Owls are useful.

Rather than using rat poison and setting up mouse traps, an owl can take care of rats very effectively.

That's an expensive (120k), mousetrap.

Nobody likes a rat, so it’s worth it. Especially in prison.

hm... the range map on wikipedia for that species doesn't even have them in sweden

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