On Friday evening, a Ladbrokes shop in Plymouth was the scene of a dramatic robbery attempt in which the masked gunman died after being restrained by the shop’s customers. Alan Levers, a 50-year-old who’d just been released from prison after serving a sentence for robbery, burst into the shop wearing what was described as a World War II-era gasmask and brandishing what was later revealed as a replica handgun. After convincing the Lads clerk to hand over some cash, Levers’ getaway was foiled when a customer tackled him, after which a second customer helped restrain Levers. What happened next is unclear, but Levers was unconscious when police arrived and was pronounced dead shortly after an ambulance arrived on the scene. An investigation of the incident is ongoing.
Posh boy Jack Keylock wasn’t killed during his crime spree, but the 22-year-old burglar is going to jail for 18 months after pleading guilty to stealing more than £35k of property from two homes and a B&B hotel late last year. While Keylock admitted his guilt, he apparently blamed his thieving ways on his need to pay off gambling debts. Noting that Keylock was spawned from a “highly respectable family,” Judge Jamie Tabor QC bemoaned Keylock’s gambling, “which is all too easy to embark upon these days, probably because of the amount of advertising on TV and the amount of internet gambling available to anyone unwise enough to make use of it.”
Suffice it to say, the Daily Mail and the other usual anti-gambling suspects are on this story like Prince Harry on a Las Vegas coed. But let’s be clear about something. Keylock is going to jail because he broke into people’s homes while they slept and stole their property. Plenty of people gamble, many of them online. A few go into debt doing so (although far less than those who online shop themselves into bankruptcy). Fewer still manage to convince themselves that the best way to pay their debts is via the unapproved sale of someone else’s stolen possessions. Keylock is going to jail because he’s a thief and an idiot, not because he gambled.
Thirty people were killed in Egypt on Saturday in riots over a trial connected with the 2012 Port Said football riot, in which 74 fans were killed. Would Judge Tabor have told the court that watching Egyptian premier league football was “all too easy to embark upon” or too heavily advertised, and that anyone who attended a match was “unwise?” Or would he give football a pass, and conclude that 74 people died because a thuggish faction of political hotheads used a football match as an excuse to attack a rival group? In Keylock’s case, it seems all those rappers had it backward: hate the playa, not the game.