With so many people new to RealTechNews this week (Welcome!) , I am re-running this item because it drew a lot of interest a few weeks ago. –Alice

A reader named Bob clued me into this interesting bit of news. Today I was covering a story about people lining their heads and even their homes with aluminum foil to protect themselves from what they feel is extreme radio wave radiation. The question I posed: are they crazy or just picking up on waves you and I cannot feel? (Click here to read about that and discuss.) But it turns out that foil is also used in a device called a “booster bag” that lets shoplifters walk out of the store undetected with tons of clothing, DVDs and other merchandise, because the foil essentially “foils” the anti-theft scanners at the store’s entrance. The scanners cannot “read” the anti theft tags and the thief walks out without a beep.

“Professional shoplifters have discovered a major weakness in conventional security systems – bags and clothes lined with layers of tinfoil could “hide” magnetic security tags from the antennas designed to detect them. Popularly called “booster bags” by industry specialists, these bags take just minutes to make and have rapidly become the “tool of choice” for shoplifters the world over. Booster bags provide shoplifters with enormous advantages because:

* they can contain large quantities of merchandise
* they look natural in a shopping environment
* security tagged items inside cannot be detected by conventional RF, AM, or EM systems
* they leave no evidence of the crime!

“Today, you’ll find stories in newspapers the world over about how 42 DVDs or 17 Armani shirts, or 30 bottles of expensive perfume have been found in a single booster bag – found because a security guard or shop assistant discovered the theft by chance. These stories appear despite the fact that most stores don’t like this kind of publicity since it may encourage some other petty thief to visit them with a tinfoil-lined booster bag.”

If this doesn’t move the industry to RFID, I don’t know what will. Thanks Bob! And DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME.

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