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How I would steal 10,000 copies of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

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An unspecified number of Uncharted 4 discs were thieved while shipping to retailers in the United Kingdom, according to a message from Sony's president of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida. A follow-up report at Eurogamer draws a line between the stolen Uncharted 4 discs, a potentially fraudulent eBay seller, and 10,000 copies of the game.

For the sake of speculation, let's assume 10,000 copies were actually nabbed. In the United States, the theft of over $500 worth of goods is a felony — a serious crime that forfeits a person's right to vote or possess a firearm, and makes getting a job considerably more difficult.  A theft of 10,000 copies with a value of $60 each would likely be a fifth degree felony, resulting in punishment of upwards to 20 years in prison. Again, this is a very serious crime.

So when I say "this is how I would steal 10,000 copies of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End," it's vital (legally speaking) that I communicate (in plain language) that I have not stolen this game. I will not steal this game. This plan is purely speculative. This post is not an endorsement of theft of this game, nor theft of any kind.

But.

If I were to steal 10,000 copies of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, this is exactly how I'd do it.

Step 1: Case the roadway

Like the real thieves, my best bet is to steal the copies before they reach video game retailers, as to avoid confrontations with their underpaid and overworked employees — many of whom I suspect, inspired by years of Dragonball Z fandom, have dabbled in a variety of martial arts.

Now, I only know two things about the roadways of the United Kingdom: people drive on the opposite side of the road, and there are large, multi-lane circles called roundabouts, which are used to (as far as I can tell) spice up commutes.

So, before I steal the 10,000 copies of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, I fly to London, purchase a used car near the airport, and move to a modest flat just outside the historic town of Canterbury — where I have a great deal of room on the uncrowded roadways to adapt to the country's style of traffic.

Step 2: Hide in plain sight

As an American, I stick out like I chocolate garnish on a digestive biscuit. To pull off this heist successfully, I must blend in with my surroundings in the moments following the crime. I spend three months in Canterbury practicing the British accent by imitating recordings from the Royal Shakespeare Company available at the Canterbury Public Library. Because the tapes are only available in the library, and the library is only open from 9AM-7PM, I add an extra two months to my heist prep. And because the commute, flat, and food cost money, I take a part-time job. Fortunately, the job is at the Canterbury Public Library, only adding another month of heist prep.

Since I've never visited Canterbury, I use my free evenings and weekends to enjoy its beautiful architecture, particularly the Canterbury Cathedral. The cathedral is beautiful, a reminder of the better accomplishments that have been stemmed from humanity's pursuit to understand the divine. I think often about the life I left in the United States. I miss my wife and dog.

Step 3: Learn the local traditions

As I learn from the many heist films I watch on ITV, a British television channel, it's often best to conceal a heist within a annual local event — like a festival or parade — that occupies the attention of the citizenry and the police.

From May 19th to May 22nd, the Zuhrah Shriners will present Ma'ceo, which is described on Canterbury Park's event page as a "Theatrical Equestrian Show Featuring Acrobats on a Variety of Exotic Breeds of Horses."

Step 4: Befriend a co-conspirator

Logistically speaking, I imagine the exotic horses of Ma'ceo will be transported to Canterbury in early May. I befriend the woman who transports the horses, and ask to borrow her horse-delivery vehicle — perfect for concealing my 10,000 copies of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End after they've been lifted from their delivery truck on the nearby highway.

Step 5: Read The Canterbury Tales

I've never read The Canterbury Tales. I acknowledge that I undoubtedly appear like a fraud in Canterbury, as I haven't read its tales — which no doubt all of its citizenry have read. I also suspect my new ally will be suspicious of me if I don't know my "Ther was also a Nonne, a Prioresse, That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy," from my "A monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie, An outridere, that lovede venerie."

At the library, I check out a copy of The Canterbury Tales, of which, fittingly, the Canterbury Library has many. Reading the book will take another month, at least.

Step 6: Adapt to unexpected delays

With my accent still sounding like a cross between Pierce Brosnan's James Bond and Austin Powers (and with The Canterbury Tales still unopened) I bump my heist to July 24th, the date that the Vans Warped Tour visits Canterbury. While I'm sad to stop talking to my friend, the young woman who transports horses for the Shriners, I recognize my good fortune in this change of event. I have a repository of knowledge of late '90s and early '00s pop-punk.

Step 7: Catfish Reel Big Fish

I create a fake OkCupid account, and immediately begin catfishing members of Reel Big Fish. I plan to send all of them to different dates across Canterbury, leaving their tour van unprotected. I plan to steal the van, and use it to carry my 10,000 copies of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End.

Step 8: Learn Old English

In the meantime, I return to my duties in Canterbury. Skimming The Canterbury Tales, it becomes immediately obvious to me that I need to learn Old English (adding another six months to my time in Canterbury) bringing the total prep time to roughly a year. The adjusted schedule affords me enough time to enjoy the resplendence of Canterbury in all seasons.

At some point, summer passes, and I forget to attend the Vans Warped Tour.

Step 9: Learn Middle English

Upon returning to The Canterbury Tales with a decent understanding of Old English, it becomes immediately obvious to me that the book is written in Middle English. Low on funds and hoping to get the most of my read through of The Canterbury Tales, I apply to a single-year specialty grad program with an emphasis on the symbolism of Chaucer at the University of Canterbury. The program, in return for teaching Old English to underclassmen, provides me a residency at the dormitory along with a small stipend.

Step 10: Be moved by Boece, Chaucer's Middle English translation of The Consolation of Philosophy

Chaucer's translation of the sixth-century philosopher Boethius affects me in a way I haven't been affected since that first visit to the Canterbury Cathedral. Fittingly, it is in that Cathedral where I finish the book. I close the book and close my eyes, and wonder why I don't go to church as often anymore. Boethius puts forward a compelling argument for Christian ethics, without relying on scripture. He makes an argument of faith that feels tied both the natural world and the histories and traditions that precede the Catholic Church.

I open my eyes, and try to remember why I moved to Canterbury. But I can't. I can't remember.

Step 11: Return home

After completing my single-year master's in literature and a seven-year PhD in translations from the Classical Period, I return to my home in Texas. Someone else owns the home, and nobody I know answers my calls. I don't feel bitter or angry. I reflect on the changes I've made, and return to Canterbury, which I realize was my home all along.