Larry Lawton (@LawrenceRLawton) stole over $18m in diamonds and spent 11 years in some of the toughest federal prisons in the country. He works with The Reality Check Program to keep youth out of trouble that would land them in prison, and is the co-author of Gangster Redemption: How America’s Most Notorious Jewel Robber Got Rich, Got Caught, and Got His Life Back on Track. This is part one of a two-part episode. Check out part two here!
What We Discuss with Larry Lawton:
- How young Larry fattened his wallet with $125 a week in 1972 (equivalent to over $750 a week today) with various scams, thefts, and hustles.
- How Larry wound up getting into the jewelry robbery game, and what he did to maintain control over the situation when he had a gun pulled on him his first time out.
- Why Larry spent over $10,000 to get a professional education in the jewelry trade when he decided this would be the focus of his criminal career.
- How a business owner can ensure their place isn’t the one chosen when a potential robber is casing businesses in search of an easy target.
- How Larry would plan and execute a heist when he was a career criminal, and what he would do afterward to hide his trail from the inevitable investigation.
- And much more…
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Larry Lawton stole over $18m in diamonds and spent 11 years in some of the toughest federal prisons in the country. But he’s also the only ex-con in the United States to be sworn in as an honorary police officer and only ex-con to ever be recognized on the Floor of the United States Congress for his work in helping young people and law enforcement agencies with The Reality Check Program he founded. His story is chronicled in Gangster Redemption: How America’s Most Notorious Jewel Robber Got Rich, Got Caught, and Got His Life Back on Track, a book he co-authored with Peter Golenbock, and he shares a lot of what he’s learned along the way on his fascinating YouTube channel.
On this episode, we talk to Larry about how a childhood spent raking in big money with various scams and hustles led to auto theft and what he settled on as a lucrative calling: professional jewelry robbery. He gives us the prep work that went into planning a heist, what happens when things go wrong, the difference between his methods and those of desperate amateurs, tips for a business owner hoping to avoid attention from would-be robbers, some of his most sensible rules, and much more. This is part one of a two-part episode. Check out part two here! Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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THANKS, LARRY LAWTON!
If you enjoyed this session with Larry Lawton, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Gangster Redemption: How America’s Most Notorious Jewel Robber Got Rich, Got Caught, and Got His Life Back on Track by Larry Lawton and Peter Golenbock
- The Reality Check Program
- Larry Lawton | Twitter
- Larry Lawton | YouTube
- Larry Lawton | Facebook
- Larry Lawton | Instagram
- Value of $125 in 1972 | Saving.org
- What Is a Bookie? | Investopedia
- Here’s Why Art Thieves Steal Paintings They Can’t Sell | NBC
- Rodeo Drive | Beverly Hills
- Frank Abagnale | Scam Me If You Can | The Jordan Harbinger Show 1
- Catch Me If You Can | Prime Video
- Professional Gem Education | Gemological Institute of America
- RICO Laws | The First Amendment Encyclopedia
- 18 U.S.C. § 1001 – US Code Title 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure § 1001 | FindLaw
- Devil’s Night | Crime Museum
- Preventing a Break-In | Larry Lawton, Maximum Security
- Hustle 2.0
- What I Learned Spending the Day in a Maximum-Security Prison | Jordan Harbinger
- Is 25 the New Cut-Off Point for Adulthood? | BBC News
- The Hidden Damage of Solitary Confinement | Knowable
Transcript for Larry Lawton | From Jewel Thief to Honorary Cop Part One (Episode 432)
Jordan Harbinger: This podcast is brought to you by Microsoft Teams. When there are more ways to be together, there are more ways to be a team.
[00:00:06] Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:10] Larry Lawton: So if I rob a million-dollar picture, I couldn't get 30,000 bucks for a million dollars. 10 percent is a hundred thousand. I couldn't get that. Am I going to take in all the heat you're going to get for robbing, stuff like that? And then where do you get rid of it? That's the key. You couldn't get rid of it. I'm sure there's listeners, buyers for everything out there. Maybe some eccentric billionaire in Spain that puts it in his basement, goes down into a jacked off. I don't know. Listen, in my criminal career, what I learned is you get it, you get rid of it, and you get the money, and goodbye. You don't hold things. You're not a retailer.
[00:00:47] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. If you're new to the show, we have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, entrepreneurs and astronauts, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional jewel thief. And each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:12] Today, Larry Lawton, he's got to be the only ex-con in the United States to be sworn in as an honorary police officer. And he's the only ex-con ever to be recognized on the floor of the United States Congress for his work with helping young people and law enforcement agencies. Larry Lawton spent 11 years in some of the toughest federal prisons in the country. But let's be real, that's not why we're here today. We're here today because he stole over $18 million in diamonds. Today, we'll go inside the mind of one of the most prolific jewelry thieves in American history. Come with us today as we plan a fake heist and we hear stories you won't get anywhere else, no matter how many rounds of Grand Theft Auto you played or how many movies you've been bingeing since the pandemic started. Larry is a fascinating character. He's a prime example of a turnaround story. And why I believe there are a few truly bad people, mostly just bad decisions. This is a really fascinating episode. It's two parts. So today's going to be part one with Larry Lawton.
[00:02:09] And if you're wondering how I find these folks, they always come through my network. All these authors, all these thinkers, all these characters that you hear on the show, it's all because of the network. I'm teaching you how to build your network for free. You might not use it to book guests for your podcast. You might use it to get a promotion or a job, whatever. I'm not here to judge you. Jordanharbinger.com/course is where I'm teaching you how to do that. Most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[00:02:35] Here we go with part one with Larry Lawton.
[00:02:40] So how did you get into the business of stealing gems. I know you grew up tough in the Bronx. Your neighbors were kind of working-class and/or in the mob, but how does that lead to you stealing gems?
[00:02:54] Larry Lawton: Well, you mean, the first thing is I grew up around that life. And when I say life, the mobs are next to me, the mobsters down the block, the guys with the Cadillacs, the money. And then, there's the working families, obviously, like you said. But I was always a hustler, when I say young, I was 11, 12 years old doing football tickets, making money. I remember making $125 in a week in 1972. You know what I mean? That's a lot of money for a kid. And I was doing gambling with it and partying with —
[00:03:24] Jordan Harbinger: I'm going to do the math on that. How much a week?
[00:03:27] Larry Lawton: $125 a week.
[00:03:30] Jordan Harbinger: 1972. $125. That's $775 in today's money per week.
[00:03:39] Larry Lawton: And I was just turning 12 years old.
[00:03:42] Jordan Harbinger: So that's three grand a month at age 12.
[00:03:44] Larry Lawton: At age 12, making money hand over foot and gambling it and losing it and partying with and doing crazy things, buying the stupidest stuff in the world because I'm a kid, but I love the hustle. I learned to hustle. And then we graduated, even stealing cars. We used to steal meat. We literally put — was it Safeway or Pathmark? It's a Northern grocery chain. We put them at a business, Jordan. We were stealing — we had guys working in there, bringing out the meat and the lobsters, putting it outside. We pick it up at night. We go sell it up and down the avenue. We always had a hustle going. Then we were stealing cars and bringing them into a chop shop in New York. We were getting 500 bucks a car. We didn't care what it was, 500 bucks a car.
[00:04:27] Jordan Harbinger: How were you stealing the cars?
[00:04:28] Larry Lawton: Oh, we had —
[00:04:29] Jordan Harbinger: Do you know how to hotwire the cars?
[00:04:30] Larry Lawton: Well, we had a couple of guys who hotwired or the best way was — in New York, a guy pulls up to a bagel store out. It's not liked in most areas. They pull up to the bagel store. They leave their car running. We'd wait. They go in, we jump in their car. We’ve gone, literally.
[00:04:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:04:45] Larry Lawton: Back in those days, it was very common. People would start their car up in the morning and go in, get their coffee, and get their heater going, defrost their windows, and all that or cool in the summertime. "Oh, let me go put the car on, get it nice and cool." And we'd see the car running on the outside, walk up, boom, jump in the car, boom, gone. You're done. And literally some — they didn't have GPS's. They didn't have the OnStar and all that kind of stuff they have today. So it was easy to do. We take them before, you know it, that car was a hunk of metal, literally a hunk of metal off of a golf course called Pelham Split Rock in the weeds — if you want to call weeds — bushes woods, whenever we used to call in the Bronx. I mean, the Bronx, you don't have that much kind of woods, but you did, I guess.
[00:05:28] So I started doing that until I went into service. I was a pretty real wild kid. I went into service at 17 years old. But when I got out of service — I got hurt in a service. And when I got out of the service, I got military retirement, I went back to Brooklyn and I knew the hustle game. So I had some connections, some people from the old days who are now my age and they're doing stuff in the Bronx and Brooklyn because connections go all over the city. And I ended up getting a job with Mac the bookie. Mac was the biggest bookie in New York. They say when Mac died, the economy went down. He used to take what they call the layoff action.
[00:06:05] See a bookie's job is not what people think. A bookie's job is not being a gambler. A bookie is the house. So what they do is — let's just take a game, the Giants versus the Jets. I'm just going to take a fictional game. They won a hundred thousand dollars on the giants and a hundred thousand dollars on the jets. They make 10 percent vig. It's called vig or juice. They don't care who wins. They get 10 percent. So they make 10 grand. They do that with a million and they make it a hundred thousand, whatever it is. Well, when a bookie gets a lot of money on one side, what does he do? It's not like I could say, "No." So what he does is he takes that money. He goes to a guy like Mac, the guy I worked for who would take $50,000, a hundred thousand dollars on the game because he was the house-house. He was the house for the bookies. So when a bookie, he has too much on one side, he lays it off on Mac and they negotiate the line because the line will be different because the line moves a lot.
[00:06:59] Well, I worked for Mac. A guy got me a job working for Mac, and I was behind the stick taking bets of 500 in nickel and dime. A dime is a thousand a nickel. And I was also muscle in a card game. Meaning being the bouncer. Anybody got out of hand, they had a card game — when I say thousands and thousands of dollars being thrown around down there, my always thought pattern I was the crazy guy. I was, "How can I rob this place?" But you know you're dead if you do that, but it's just in my book, I explained wanting to rob the guys that I knew there were millions down there, but I said, "Ooh, that's a suicide mission." But anyway, like you said, getting back into the crime, my first robbery was a setup.
[00:07:40] My first robbery was a guy who wanted the insurance job. So when they want an insurance job, they called me and he said, "Larry, we got a job here and blah, blah, blah. Here's what it is. The guy wants the insurance. You're going to get to keep the jewelry and he's going to get his money and we'll get a cut of this action." I said, "Okay, good enough." Sure enough. I had to set it up just like a robbery. What he gave us was I knew how many people are going to be in the store. And I knew the best times to go. Like when there are the least customers because I ended up understanding the business a lot better after I started becoming so good at what I did. Because after my first robbery, Jordan, I said wait a minute. There's so much. I made $150,000 cash, I think, 1989, maybe.
[00:08:26] Jordan Harbinger: So this is the first time you knocked off a jewelry store.
[00:08:29] Larry Lawton: Right.
[00:08:29] Jordan Harbinger: I read that that was an insurance job, right? It was like an inside job from the guy.
[00:08:33] Larry Lawton: It was set up.
[00:08:34] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So he set it up saying, "Basically you robbed my store, all claim the insurance money and for your efforts either you keep the stolen stuff and fence it, or I give you this cash."
[00:08:44] Larry Lawton: Well, no, he wasn't involved in that. That was coming from my boss. "You'd get the stuff, bring it here. We're done. We'll cut the money up. And that's it." They knew what to do with it. And I ended up knowing what to do with it, of course. But yes, that's exactly how it happened. So I knew that it was going to only be one person in the store. I knew there wasn't going to be somebody in the back behind it, a double mirror. I knew that nobody was going to come in, like the owner's going to pop in and out of the back door. I knew that because those were given to us, those were the information given to us. And once that happened — and I'll tell you what, when we're talking about an adrenaline rush because the girl behind the counter had no idea. She actually reached for a gun. And I was so quick, you know, I jumped over the counter so quick and I said, "Are you crazy?" And I was pointing a gun at her. I had a BB gun. I didn't even have a gun. I didn't even have a gun. I didn't need a gun because —
[00:09:31] Jordan Harbinger: You're lucky she didn't shoot your ass off, man.
[00:09:33] Larry Lawton: Exactly, but I was a little bit quick and I often laugh when people say, "I wish I had a gun. I wish I got —" Trust me. I'll take that gun away from you. I mean, most people think it's, "Ooh, I have a gun. I'm going to be a badass." It doesn't work that way. And then if you kill somebody, you got to live with that, you know, whatever it's wrong, right, or indifferent.
[00:09:50] Jordan Harbinger: I know your childhood had — there's so many stories from your channel and I encourage people to go look at it. We'll link to it in the show notes. I mean, you had like boosting the cars. There's stuff about you — you threw a Molotov cocktail at a guy fishing. I got to say that goes beyond a prank. You could've lit that guy on fire. That guy could have died, man, horribly in fact.
[00:10:08] Larry Lawton: Well, the way we did it — no, it probably sounded worse because he was on a jetty. Now it definitely made him jump in the water because he couldn't go the other way. So when you're on a fishery, you break the glass into the jetty. Of course, there's glass all over the place. The fire goes there and there's only one way to go and that was through the water. It is bad. Obviously, I was a little crazy kid, but I don't encourage people to do it either.
[00:10:32] As you know, Jordan, if you watch my videos, I always emphasize to make the right choices. Live through this crazy life I have, but don't think it's the way to go because you might not survive. Listen, I've been stabbed twice, shot, car accidents, and operations and hit with a bat. You don't want to try this life. It's crazy but it sure does make a good YouTube channel.
[00:10:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it sure does. So you're a great earner for the mob at this point, right? You're kicking money up and you're knocking off more and more jewelry stores because — is it just like the first one was so profitable? You said, "Well, jeez, this is easy. I'm just going to keep going and find a few more of these and keep doing it.
[00:11:10] Larry Lawton: That's exactly right. Actually, what happened was I started doing other things as well. The money was starting to come in, so I did other things with the money. I ended up investing in clubs. Loansharking money was a big profit of mine. Then I robbed other things. I have a bookmaking operation, so I would get guys in and they'd owed me money. And before you know it, he's a warehouse manager, so he can't afford his bills, we robbed the warehouse. He lets us in the warehouse. I robbed a whole warehouse for plumbing supplies, and they never knew they were robbed. The warehouse was the size of a football field. And they never even knew they were robbed, but I was making money.
[00:11:48] So you talk about earner, but the jewelry — you're right. I mean, after I made that kind of money in one hit, I said, "Wait a minute, I got to keep doing this. I mean, this is just too much money." And I was always about the money though. I wasn't a drug addict doing it. I like the power and the money. I mean, let's face it, both of those things are very addicting. That's what most people go for in life. But obviously, these should go the right way. And that's what I always emphasize in my videos as well.
[00:12:16] Jordan Harbinger: You said never rob anything you can't get rid of and always have a plan to move the goods. I assume you learned that the hard way, right? I mean, just sitting on some stolen stuff for weeks or months at a time seems dangerous.
[00:12:29] Larry Lawton: Exactly matter of fact, and we robbed trucks and stuff at the airports and we had some electronic gear we could even get rid of. So we're selling it for nothing. And then the risk is too high. And I learned that lesson there. And it was funny because it bodes well when I was in charge of a security guard company. I had a guy go from where I was to the Miami Convention Center. He was a guard, and he called me and he said, "Larry," he goes, "I got all these Picasso's. I got Picasso's, Rembrandt's. You want them? You want to rob them? We could set this up easily. It's a done deal." So what's the first thing I do is not say, "Yeah, let's rob it." I mean, what am I going to do with all these pictures. I call New York. I couldn't get three cents on the dollar, three cents. So if I rob a million-dollar picture, what are you going to get? I couldn't get 30,000 bucks from a million dollars. 10 percent is a hundred thousand. I couldn't get that. I couldn't get three percent. Am I going to take in all the heat you're going to get for robbing stuff like that? And then where do you get rid of it? That's the key. You couldn't get rid of it.
[00:13:31] Jordan Harbinger: It's too famous to steal.
[00:13:33] Larry Lawton: Well, it's not just too famous. You don't have the connection. There are — I'm sure there's listeners, buyers for everything out there. Maybe some eccentric billionaire in Spain that puts it in his basement and goes down there and jacked off to it. I don't know, but there are some sick people out there that do crazy stuff. But I don't know, Jordan. Listen in my criminal career, what I learned is you get it, you get rid of it, and you get the money, and goodbye. You don't hold things. You're not a retailer. You know you're a wholesaler.
[00:14:03] The one thing I always say I should have done — I robbed so much jewelry in my life, probably 15, 18 million, I should have taken some of that percentage and opened a store in Rodeo Drive in California, my own store. And reset it, redo it, do everything I'm going to do, and I could have — it would have been worth 50 million today, the best. And I had the money. I had everything to do it, and I was too much of a fast and loose guy. I was too much of a criminal. I didn't think positive — I had such a good business brain with loansharking, bookmaking, and getting clubs and burning them out and doing certain things. But I wasn't a legitimate thinker in business. I made a lot of money, but I made it the illegal way. And it was always with a tilt of that illegal.
[00:14:50] Now, of course, obviously you do everything legal, pay your taxes, you do this, you'll get your permit from the city. You do everything you're going to do. But that's just the difference now compared to it was when I was running wild.
[00:15:03] Jordan Harbinger: I know a lot about diamonds and this is before the Internet. How did you self-teach about gemstones? You ever see that movie Catch Me If You Can.
[00:15:12] Larry Lawton: Oh yeah.
[00:15:12] Jordan Harbinger: You know what? Frank Abagnale, Leonardo DiCaprio, he gets caught by Tom Hanks and he goes, "All right, how'd you cheat on the bar exam?" And he goes, "I didn't cheat. I studied for it." This is what this reminds me of. Like, you had no Internet. You became an expert in the gems, which is kind of — first of all, why did you do that? Why was that important? Don't you just take everything that's shiny and sparkly at a diamond heist? You don't have to worry, right?
[00:15:35] Larry Lawton: No, no. I did become an expert. Matter of fact, it's funny. It's one of my fans on my discord. I have a discord. He's a jeweler. He's an actual jeweler, young 23-year-old young guy, and he's a jeweler, and his grandfather was 83 and they're in the trades still. And I was telling him — just the other night, Jordan, I went to the GIA, it's called the Gemological Institute of America to learn about diamonds. And I did that under the table and I paid 10 grand. Because I didn't want to get screwed. When you have that criminal mind, you're always thinking who's going to screw you. How are they going to screw up? How to get away? You got to be one step ahead of people. When you're deviant of jewelry and you've got a million dollars of jewelry on a table, and you want to know what it's worth besides some stupid tag that means nothing, totally nothing. The biggest criminals of jewelry are when you look at it, you want to have an idea of what it's worth, how clean it is, what it is, what watches worth, whether it's a Breitling or this watch, or a Rolex, whatever, and why that makes them tick. What makes them worth so much money? What types of jewelry can it be taken out? Can the gold melted and the piece reset because all signature pieces have to do that?
[00:16:47] I wanted to know about that because I didn't want to get screwed by people that are criminals, just like me and I never was. I got lucky with some very good people. I don't know where they are. They never went to jail. Maybe they got lost or something. I don't know, but nobody's doing the crime that was happening. So that's what happened. One of the only ex-felons in the whole world, in the United States, at least who went away on a RICO act alone.
[00:17:12] Jordan Harbinger: Can you explain a little bit about what that is? I mean, that's the organized crime racketeering act. What do you mean that you're one of the only felons that went away on that alone?
[00:17:20] Larry Lawton: RICO is Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations that came out in the 1970s to get mobs, just to get the higher-ups —
[00:17:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:17:27] Larry Lawton: — so they can get them. Well, you have to have other people that are your co-defendants or at least the people who work for you that are testifying or something happening because it's an organization. How am I the only one that goes away under the RICO act alone? Because I wouldn't rat, I wouldn't tell anybody. And I had a partner who was John Rodriguez. I don't know who John Rodriguez is. That's probably a hundred thousand John Rodriguez's in Miami. In fact, this isn't even a secret. In 2001, I'm in prison already since 1996, the federal government charged me with the same exact charge as they charged Bill Clinton, 18 USC 1001, which is filing a false statement. I said my partner was John Rodriguez. They took me to trial and proved that I was lying. And I ended up getting another 12 months run concurrently, but that's a great, funny story of how that happened. It's just because I wouldn't tell who my partner was.
[00:18:29] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I see. So they just leaned on you for that. Were you getting a thrill from robbing or was it just like, "Oh, I don't really like doing this, but it's paying the bills really well"? Or was there like where you kind of hook on it?
[00:18:40] Larry Lawton: It's an amazing high, Jordan, I've done every drug in the book. There was no drug better than walking out of that store with X amount of dollars of diamonds. And not only that, there were some people who I robbed today. They were trying to rob me as a customer. Literally, I said in the back of my head, "You don't know who's getting robbed," but they were trying to rob you. And it was a total high, that was just like you want. I used to always want to be a fly on the wall, Jordan. See how long it took them to get out, see how long it took the cops to figure out what happened. See what they did, of course, I wouldn't. That's like being a fire — you know, arsonist and watching your fire burn. You know, those guys get caught all the time.
[00:19:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, they do, because they always watch the fire. They always do.
[00:19:26] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Larry Lawton. We'll be right back.
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[00:19:45] Now, back to Larry Lawton on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:19:51] Side note, I caught a couple of arsonists in Detroit back when I was helping with the fire department. We had something called devil's night. I think it's pretty much only a Detroit thing. It's the day before Halloween and people go around and burn lots of things down, which is not so much a thing anymore, but we used to catch arsonists all the time. They would burn down abandoned our old buildings and they were always around. Whenever we'd see a fire, the firemen would come and me and this volunteer organization, we would go around looking and people would say, "What are you doing that guy's long gone?" And we'd say, "Hell, no, this was not an insurance job. It's a thrill-seeker." So like just the way they did it, the cops will go, "It's a thrill-seeker." So we would find somebody standing on the roof or sitting in another place, looking at it. Of course, the problem is a lot of people are watching a fire, but you could — it's the crazy guy who smells like gasoline. That's the guy who did it because they're not too hard to find.
[00:20:37] Larry Lawton: Yeah. Yeah. I totally agree. I mean, obviously, I was a professional who didn't do that. I got caught by just good police work. You can't knock that. The FBI is the best there is. Don't let anybody kid you. They got more money and more resources and they're all educated and they all know what they're doing. Some local cops are — come on, let's face it. Look what's going on. They can't get cops — period — to be workers today. So how much do you think these guys are really that into their jobs where they're that good with a budget to do what they want?
[00:21:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:06] Larry Lawton: They don't even have the budget in order to fly here to do this kind of testing, to do this. The FBI — just don't play with them.
[00:21:13] Jordan Harbinger: How do you pick the target for a robbery and business owners to pay attention here because you didn't just go, "Hey, there's a jewelry store. Let's rob it." Obviously, there are some criteria for which ones are going to be the easiest to knock off, right?
[00:21:25] Larry Lawton: Oh, absolutely, Jordan. I mean, I would case a thousand stores before I pick the one I want. I mean, I'd go to a city and it'd be hundreds. I can't even probably count how many I actually cased. Because I'll go around the whole city or an area that I'm in and I'll eliminate some right off the bat because they did certain things. And I often talk about what jewelry owners could do to prevent a professional like me. There are two types of robbery, say a professional like me, and then there's the smash and grab. Those guys, they're not going to get anything, but a watch that's in the display counter and there's ways to prevent that. But the guy like me is the hard guy is the guy that's watching him for weeks and knowing who's coming, who's going. What time are they going? What time do they open? Who opens? Or even what routes they take home?
[00:22:12] Jordan Harbinger: What are some of the things that — we don't have to go into the full workup because it is on your channel, but what are some of the things that business owners can do that you think, why don't they do this obvious thing or not so obvious thing to keep out burglars? Like, what's the deal?
[00:22:26] Larry Lawton: You know, I did a whole show on that. There's so many ways they can just prevent a professional list. You could put up a double way mirror, meaning even if I think it's a double way mirror, it'd be great. Or you could put up a sign, one sign right in the store 24-hour offsite video monitoring. If I saw that, I don't know if somebody is on their monitor and sees me come in, and then once I'm done, it's on. I used to take the tapes out of the VCRs back then or whatever it was that they were recording the video on. Today, it's all streaming. All you got to do is let the criminal know. You want to prevent robberies, Jordan, you don't want to just catch them.
[00:23:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:23:07] Larry Lawton: Catch them is great, but you want to prevent them. I often tell people, "Anybody who has a home, go to Home Depot, buy this gadget. It cost $15 and it's the best home alarm system you'll ever buy." All it is, is a beam of light that goes across your door at a certain height. If that door or somebody breaks in or comes through that door, that alarm screeches, like, you know, a really, really loud screech. And that's all you want because you want them to run away. You don't want them to, "Oh, let's silent. Let's get them on tape," while he stabs you or kills somebody.
[00:23:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:40] Larry Lawton: Don't do that. Get rid of the perpetrator. Get rid of a criminal. So if you put a sign up in a store that said 24-hour offsite monitoring, bell security systems, best in America, whatever bullsh*t you want to say. I don't know if it's true or not, I'm not going to play with it. You don't want to have a display case in the front window that a person from the outside can't see in. I love to go to those stores and I got a beautiful display case. I say, "This is great. It's perfect for me in the store." Nobody could see in. They don't know what I'm doing in his store. They don't know who's in that store.
[00:24:13] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I see. So the display case prevents people from seeing through the window. You want people to be able to see you robbing the place from the street.
[00:24:20] Larry Lawton: Right. It gives me a lot more caution to go to a place. I would do robberies when the sun was coming up or the sun hit the glass at the right time because you can't see in. I didn't do it when it was a cloudy day or — it could have been a cloudy day, but the way the light or the way the glass on that place looked, it had to be perfect and that's easy fixes. I mean, you should alternate the way you go to work. You know, you're getting such a group of employees. They go the same way they park in the same spot. They do everything, Jordan, it makes it so easy for me because now I know who's there. I just go by and see the car and I'll go by multiple times in a day and it makes it easy.
[00:24:57] If I have a delivery, I would stay in my delivery. I should call the — what is called? FedEx or UPS and say, "Listen, on Tuesdays, I want to be delivered after 1:00 p.m. On Wednesdays and whatever it is, I want its deliveries in the mornings." Because that would throw somebody looking at your store. And say, "Man, what are they common? I got to know." And there's little things like that you can do. And of course, the display cases should be certainly not only locked, but you shouldn't put more jewelry out than necessary. You shouldn't go to a place where you hide your good jewelry because I'm watching that, so little things like that. They also have buzzes in their pocket now and that's an alarm. It's a silent alarm.
[00:25:39] Jordan Harbinger: This is fascinating because I think a lot of people wouldn't expect you. They go, "Oh, he's looking for the place where all the jewels are out." The minute detail of waiting for the glare to be right on the window so that people couldn't see in from the street because that gives you a 10, 15-minute window of just putting stuff in a backpack or whatever and running out, it just makes it impossible for other people to see. That type of detail that I assume is what separates you from those idiots that crashed the car through the front door, get out they're smashed in all the cases. They got a bunch of cut glass and Rolexes or whatever watches, low-end ones. And then they run out the side door and get on like a — what are those? A tiny little scooter and then they're cruising somewhere and it's like, look for three dumb asses on a scooter with a backpack that has glass parts falling out the back because there's a hole in it. Like you see these guys on YouTube and you just go, these people have either never robbed anyone before or they have just been lucky as hell so far.
[00:26:39] Larry Lawton: You got two things. Like what you're saying, the professional, like myself, was going to really plan it and have a getaway and do everything I know I need to be done. And when I say needs to be done, I mean, so I'm not detected until a point when you know you are. But what you were talking about is just smash and grab, usually drug addicts, but there is one gang around the whole world right now called the Pink Panther Gang. They are notorious, I haven't heard from in a while, but they've done some brazen robberies and they're known, but they're very organized. They're not the smashing grabs. They come in hard but they know what they're doing. They know where the stuff is. They know where the safe is. They know how to get to it. They know what they're doing. They're not the smash and grab. The smash and grab — you're right, the guy just runs in on school to smash a couple of glasses, gets in. You're going to get what you're going to get. Like you said low-end sh*t because he was going to put the best there. And then you're going to be eventually caught because you're going to make — there are so many mistakes today to be made.
[00:27:36] Someone asked me, "Hey, Larry, how would have you liked to live in the 1920s?" The things I think about are no fingerprints, no DNA, no cameras — just the guy with the fastest gun wins, I guess, but it was kind of like today technology — but it's so funny because even when I had the technology when I was around, I beat it. So if this technology, there's a way around it, and there's a way around anything, it's the will of the people is what it is. That's what all it is, the will. And if you've got the world, you're on.
[00:28:06] Jordan Harbinger: You've got a couple of rules that I want to go over because these are interesting ones, which was, how do you pick the target? You had a couple of rules behind that. One thought was never robbing a place just because you need money quickly. Why not? I mean, isn't that why a lot of people rob places? That's the drug addict thing we were just talking about, the smash and grab, right? It leads to that kind of sloppy execution.
[00:28:26] Larry Lawton: Yeah, that goes for all on bank robbers. I knew professional bank robbers — professionals got to wait for 50 banks. And then I knew the guys who did it once or twice, and they got away with it and did it with a note or whatever, and they would just hard up and that's just the way it was. Those were the kinds of guys that 99 out of a hundred times are going to get caught. And they probably need to get caught to get their addictions done or whatever help they're going to need. Because the professional is the guy that's doing it for a living, the guy that says, "Wait, I'm raising a family on this. I got to know what I'm doing." I was told by a buddy of mine, he says, "Larry, you know how many percentages of people are like you. Zero." "What do you mean? I am one of those." "Okay, one," he goes, "Think of that million people. You see how many of them have done what you did and everything you've done and even survive that. And now you're an honorary cop and you're recognized on the floor of the United States Congress and all of that. There's nobody." He goes, "That's what makes you so interesting and why your YouTube channel is blowing up?"
[00:29:27] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Larry Lawton. We'll be right back.
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[00:30:06] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. When you support our sponsors, that's what keeps the lights on around here. You know, now that I've got all these jewelry store robbing skills, I'm getting ideas but I won't need those ideas if you buy a freaking mattress or whatever it is, we've got here on the show today. Come on folks, just one mattress. Jordanharbinger.com/deals. That's where you'll find all of the sponsors listed on one page. And don't forget, we've got worksheets for every episode. This one is no exception. Those are linked in the show notes as well. Jordanharbinger.com/podcast. And now for the conclusion of part one here with Larry Lawton.
[00:30:39] I'm curious now. Can we — and in a very non-instructional way, I would love to sort of have you plan a fake heist with me not to detail, but what's the first thing that you do? And obviously, I will leave out any key details, this is not a how-to primer on grand larceny or armed robbery. And if you're listening, watching out there, if you rob someone, we want you to get caught. I can speak for you on that one, right? If somebody learns from you how to rob something, we want them to get caught.
[00:31:06] Larry Lawton: I want them to get better, I want him to get better. When you say caught, I don't want them to ruin their lives and that's what's sad. And yes, they should be held accountable for what they did. I'm going to go with that. But I don't like to see somebody rob something and get 20 years in prison.
[00:31:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no, especially if you're 25 or you're on freaking meth or something like that.
[00:31:27] Larry Lawton: Yeah. You're a kid. Are you wrong? Absolutely. Should you be held accountable? Absolutely. Should you ruin the rest of your fucking life? No.
[00:31:37] Jordan Harbinger: No. I do a lot of work in prisons and I got to tell you, man, the amount of potential that you see in there, that's just wasted. You'll meet guys in there who are 32 and you'll say, "Oh, how long have you been in here?" "12 years." "Wow. You've been in prison for 12 years." "Yeah. But I actually was in juvenile detention before that." So I'll go, "When were you last a free man?" And they'll say, "15 years old, 16 years old." And I'm just thinking, "Wow. Imagine getting caught for the dumbest thing you ever did." And most of them have not killed anyone. A lot of them have. But it's also gang members killing other gang members at age 15,16. And I won't go off on this tangent because I've talked about this a lot on the show. But you get somebody who at age eight, watched their dad killed their mom, moved in with their cousins. Their cousins are in a gang. There are eight kids in a family with like one lady who works at a grocery store, raising all of them. So they barely get enough food. I mean, they're not even getting enough food. And then they're riding around in a car, older cousin, who's 16 selling drugs. This kid is still nine, 10 years old at this time. Then somebody says, "I'm going to kill you and your brother," or whatever. And they're chasing him home from school. So he gets a gun to protect himself. They do kill his cousin and then they come after him. He shoots somebody, "Oh, he's a gang banger," juvenile detention. Then later on in and out of prison, tried as an adult, prisoned from 15, 16 years old, all the way to age 32 never had a normal life.
[00:32:59] And I'm thinking, "Would I have made different decisions than that kid did at that stage of life?" Probably not. I probably would've done the exact same series of actions and yet they're in prison in the program that I work with at Defy or Hustle 2.0, they're taking responsibility for that. But then I go, "Okay, well, how long until you're out? You're 32. Your life's not over." And they go, "I got 18 more years," and I go — I don't say this out loud, but I think to myself, "You're never going to be able to bounce back fully from that. I hope that you get a job in a career and you have the life that you want, but you can't just start over at zero or negative 10 at age 45 or 50, and then come out and do something." It's hard.
[00:33:42] Larry Lawton: First of all, I love what you said and you are a thousand percent correct of saying, and I talk about this all the time, do you think it's the same if a kid is growing up in a doctor's household, mom and dad, and a kid who's growing up in a hood, hearing gunshots, his mom is a hooker, his dad's in jail? But you can't do that and say it's the same.
[00:34:01] Jordan Harbinger: It's not, yeah, it's not the same,
[00:34:02] Larry Lawton: But Jordan, as I try to teach young people, and I look at myself, I got out of prison at 46 years old, 46, $67,000 in debt. I'm lucky I had my family and I had close friends. Otherwise, I don't know where I would've been, but you can do it. Yes, you're right. Are the odds against you?
[00:34:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I don't mean it's impossible. I just mean would I be able to do it? I don't know, man. Especially if you have no family, no friends, everybody you know is in a gang that sells drugs and says, "Hey, come back and work with us. We're moving heroin now." And you go, "No, I'm going to work at a bike shop." Like, it's such —
[00:34:40] Larry Lawton: Right, right, you're a hundred percent right.
[00:34:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's so impossible to even think of, and they go, "What are you doing? You make in a week? What I would make before lunch on a Monday and I wake up at 11:00 a.m. You're an idiot." And you think, "I am an idiot, but I'm not going to go back to jail." But I mean, how often do those forces fight against one another in your head? And you can't even pay for your kid. You don't have the ability to go out on a date. And you still got tattoos all over your face. If you were in a gang that young. So who's hiring you? Like they don't even want you to check the customers out at the register. They go, "Tommy, can you stay in the garage? You're scaring everyone who comes in with little Tommy to buy a bicycle."
[00:35:17] Larry Lawton: Well, you know, really hit on a great social issue. And I'm very big on social justice and criminal justice reform and prison reform because it's so broke. It's a money machine, Jordan. You know up until only I think about — no, I was in, so it was about seven years or 10, 12 years, whatever it was — United States used to execute juveniles. I mean, they don't anymore. I think 2006 they stopped or whatever it was. My point was they just came up with the case because I testify in court on this case as well. They would give juveniles life sentences without extenuating circumstances. Are you kidding me? Listen, the science has proven that the male brain does not mature 25. And now you're telling a kid who's 16, "Oh, your life's over. You're never going to change," whatever it is. I'm also going to go back to — I don't even believe military young kids should be at 18 with guns and war shooting people because they've done enough studies to know those kids are f*cked up when they come home. And why are we not addressing that as well? So we need to address those kinds of incidents. And say, "Wait a minute. What are we putting our young people in?"
[00:36:25] Yes, they did it back in world war two and the old way, but things have changed technology, sensory overload. So many things kids didn't get the responsibility they do back in the day when their moms were working during the depression and the kid had to do something and work at 12 years old
[00:36:43] Jordan Harbinger: Right where you hear like "My grandpa worked — he was doing woodwork and carpentry when he was 13 with his dad." And it's like, "I was playing Xbox until I was 24. I'm not that kid."
[00:36:54] Larry Lawton: I'm old. I don't know how old you are.
[00:36:55] Jordan Harbinger: 40.
[00:36:57] Larry Lawton: Okay. I'm 59. I was working in New York City at 15 years old, going to my uncle's printing shop down on the trains. And I got kicked out of a job in a movie theater for drinking in the back, as a teenager, You're a hundred percent right. The brain wasn't there. That's why I was still doing stupid sh*t. I just happen to get sucked into the lore of the criminal world. And it was very hard to break. I don't know if I ever would have broken it. Obviously, I'm being honest. You hope to say you would. I met an FBI agent who asked me — Matt, a nice guy, just since passed, I would have liked to interview him. That would have been good. He became a nice guy. He was a nice guy. He didn't hate me, you know? And he knew what I did. And he just said, "Hey, you didn't kill people. You're good at what you did." He goes, "I've been looking for you."
[00:37:41] But anyway, he says, "Why didn't you quit, Larry? I mean, you were wealthy. You had the money." And I go back to your earlier question. It was the high, it was the excitement of winning, literally winning. Even to this day more than the money and the money is good. I look at numbers to see where we're going. I want to hit the million. I want to hit two million. I want the win. I always had that attitude of winning.
[00:38:07] Jordan Harbinger: So you're saying you had these goals when you were robbing as well?
[00:38:10] Larry Lawton: Yeah, exactly. I want to win. I want to win. And this was the way to win. This was the way to get more power in the mob family. You know, being a bigger earner. I had a lot of respect because I made a lot of people a lot of money. Don't get me wrong. It's not because Larry's a good-looking guy. That's what he's not. It's because Larry made a lot of people money and that's the difference. But you made me said by saying that and you opened my eyes and it's so true. It's the young kids that go to prison and get — and I've seen that. And that's why I developed the reality check program when I got out of prison was because I've seen too many young people come to prison.
[00:38:47] First of all, they think they're badasses, not one of them make it or think they don't become badasses. Trust me, I was in maximum security prisons. They're manipulated. They're raped. There's a zillion things that happened to these young people. They sucked into gangs. And either they had a date now or they don't have a date. They become addicts because they're weak. They're not even mature yet and we'll be doing that to them.
[00:39:10] Jordan Harbinger: When you say have a date, you mean a release date, and then they just do so much bad sh*t in prison that they just keep pushing it and so they're just there forever.
[00:39:17] Larry Lawton: Exactly, Jordan. Yeah. Guys got a date for 10 years, but he stabbed, somebody killed him and he's got now another seven years tacked on or whatever it is, or he gets caught selling drugs or hustling drugs and they give another two, three years and then it's more violence. And he's so crazy when he comes out if he comes out because he's been in a hole — I was in the hole for three years. The hole fucks you up. There's no question. I mean, I have PTSD, we know that. Obviously, I'm from the military. I have PTSD and I'm retired military with that as well, but prison just screws your head up and you go to the hole, and your sensory deprivation. It's so crazy. It's so inhumane. I mean, there, some states that are trying to bar it. I understand why they use it, but then they ended up using it as a tool instead of as a last resort.
[00:40:05] Let me tell you how bad the jail is. We have a jail that does not give sanitary pads to women. Think of what I just said. Your daughter is on her period. She gets arrested for something and they didn't give her — I have story after story of girls that call me and said, "Larry, they wouldn't give me pads. I had no more toilet paper. And I am bleeding on my gown." Not only is it unsanitary? I have a daughter who's 25, Jordan. That just rips me up. The sheriff will say, "Well, I don't want my jail to be a country club." Are you kidding me? Are you kidding?
[00:40:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's I think basic human rights and a country club have — they're pretty far away on the spectrum.
[00:40:47] Larry Lawton: You know, it's so funny. I can't tell you how many judges and police chiefs and people I know have come to me after the fact and said, "Hey, Larry, I need your help. My kid is doing drugs," or, "My kid got caught doing this," or, "My kid's association with a gang, what do I do?" I always help, but I want to tell them, "You know, go fuck yourself. Look what you're doing to people. Oh, they took your kid?" I just don't have the heart. I want to help kids and I want to help people. But you know, we have people who should run things with compassion, not with vengeance or vilified people or evil.
[00:41:19] And people need to know it and they don't. They get the glad handling politician instead of the man who manipulates a budget. I got a sheriff who won't even release his line-item budget to the county commission or the public. What do you fucking do with the money? I don't get it. Why wouldn't you do that, Jordan?
[00:41:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, because some of it's going into a place, he — well, a lot of it's going somewhere where he doesn't want people to see it, possibly his own pocket or contracts with friendly companies or something like that, with his buddies. I want to get back into the heist thing. How do you set up the heist? We talked a little bit about what you look for, planning in the beginning as well. You're not robbing everything around yourself, right? You're going to another town. You're checking into a motel. You stay there for 10 days and start looking at the stores. How does it work?
[00:42:05] Larry Lawton: Well, it depends. First of all, you're right. First thing is you find an area you want to be in. Once you're in that area, then you — what I call a mobile case, which means run around in a car and find it. I'm already not looking at the value of what's in the store yet. I'm first looking at it if it still could be done. And what I mean by that is that the sunrise in the east and falls in the west. Is the face of the store east? So I know when the sun rises at the morning or when it — is it facing west? So when the sun comes down, I'll be doing the store later in the afternoon. Is there something in front of the store? What's next to the store? I'm not going to rob a store that's next to the police station, obviously. Sometimes it doesn't matter.
[00:42:46] The best stores I used to like to rob were in plazas with Winn-Dixie's or Publix's or grocery stores because there's a lot of people coming and going so it's easy for me to sit in my car and watch that store without being a suspect. "Oh, what's he doing?" "He's waiting for his wife to come from the store. He's reading the paper." Once you find that part of it, that's the outside case. Then it's the inside case. And then you go into multiple stores. You ask certain questions. My questions were, "Hey, I'm in the area. 10 years ago, I used to be a small contract and now I'm wealthy." He sees my Rolex, he sees all the money — you know, nice clothes. And then he looks and I say, "Yeah, I'm looking to upgrade my wife's ring to about a two-carat, really good ring. My budget is anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000, maybe more if it's right. I'm in the area, I'm a builder," or whatever it is. And he might go get a box of diamonds. He can bring that box of diamonds out, all loose cut diamonds.
[00:43:48] I, Jordan, would look at that box and I can calculate the value of that box after he pulls two rings, two pieces. I'll ask him for a two-carat ring. Depending on the box where he pulls that, I'm watching. And then I'll say, "Well, how about a little smaller?" Depending on which way it goes on that box. I can pretty much give you a good estimate of how much that box is going to be worth to me. It could be worth 300,000, 250,000, 500,000, or whatever it is. And I always watch where they put it. Because a lot of times, Jordan, they won't put that box of diamonds back — it doesn't go in a safe, it goes in a false floorboard, in the office, or another safe in the office. Not the big safe that's right out in the open they'll show.
[00:44:32] That's kind of like they put stuff in it is a great safe and all that. But some of this other stuff is kept out of there in another hidden, but they're not slick enough to get a guy like me. And while I'm in there, I'm looking where the cameras are. I'm looking at where the other employees are, how many employees there are. And then I'm looking at where the buttons might be on the counters. There's so many multiples in the store. So you do the outside case first, then you do the inside. And while you're inside, I'm telling you the value.
[00:45:04] I used to rob wholesalers. That means jewelers that sold to other jewelers.
[00:45:09] Jordan Harbinger: Because they have better — they had more stones and better stones or whatever.
[00:45:12] Larry Lawton: More stones, more loose stones, more quality stuff. I pretty much stayed away from the chain stores, the Zales, the Mayors, those kinds of things, because they have one central location and they bring stuff there. And if you want it, they have to call it a whole different animal in a real jeweler, I call it.
[00:45:30] Jordan Harbinger: Got you. Okay. So the money is in the loose stones, not in like the ready-made stuff.
[00:45:35] Larry Lawton: No, no, the money is everywhere, depending on what it is. Obviously, the gold is worth money. You can get pennyweight on gold, but it doesn't matter. And some signatures will be like diamond earrings. They're already set. And they're pretty much studs whether a carat or carat and a half, they might be a gorgeous set of stud earrings. That just because they're not loose, doesn't make them. Obviously loose made it easy to sell.
[00:45:58] Jordan Harbinger: How long does it take to plan each heist? You know, is it like a few days? Is it like a month or is it like you could do it in an afternoon?
[00:46:06] Larry Lawton: No, no, no, no. It's anywhere from probably two weeks to a month.
[00:46:10] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. That's a lot of sitting in parking lots. Is that the majority of the time? It's like watching the place.
[00:46:15] Larry Lawton: Well, once you get the place that's part of it. That could take days, weeks, even depending on where you're at and how many you have to go in. Then you nix them at the end because something happened, it was wrong. You thought you were noticed. Like you said, where do you stay? We always paid cash and never left the room.
[00:46:32] Jordan Harbinger: Like a motel room.
[00:46:33] Larry Lawton: Yeah. Cheap hotel rooms or cheap garbage one or camping. One time I went camping a couple of times. I did videos on that. That was so funny. But yeah, we stayed inconspicuous. We didn't go out to bars and places. Like, "Oh, look at these three guys walking around or two guys, you know, who are they? Whatever. I didn't do anything like that. Even the call we had. I didn't want it to be spotted or the plate to get a ticket or anything of that nature in the area. So you don't want to mess with that. And then during a robbery, we had fake plates, but —
[00:47:03] Jordan Harbinger: You had fake plates. What do you just steal and other cars place and put them on the car?
[00:47:07] Larry Lawton: You got some car in that kind of not vicinity, like that kind of car. So let's just say it was — it could be an off a truck and then, you know, somebody gets the plate numbers, they go, "Yeah. It's this plate number." And they look it up real quick and it's a truck. F*ck now they're looking for a truck. Okay. But, you know, they don't know. It'd be the opposite color of a car and stuff like that. But those are the little things to take. And then after you get the diamonds after you complete the robbery, then it's the process of getting rid of the stuff. And within 24 hours, I had to get rid all my stuff.
[00:47:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow. So you fence it right away.
[00:47:42] Larry Lawton: Oh yeah, I make my phone calls on the way up and we would incinerate our clothes, incinerate all the labels and boxes and everything else that was taken. It'd be all gone and down into a bag. And once it was there, the negotiation — if you want to call it — started.
[00:47:58] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Okay. And I heard something about you looking up, how many cops were in the police department or something like that. Can you tell me about that strategy? That was kind of an interesting technique.
[00:48:09] Larry Lawton: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Depending on the area, you're not using a big city, you're in a smaller place, so you look at the number of police. I'll give an example. Where we are right now, we live in a city called Rockledge. I think their police departments have about 60 cops. Maybe not even that. I think less than that. And now how many cops you think could be on the road? If you just go look it up, you can look it up, it's public knowledge. So you can say, "Okay, Rockledge got three shifts and, you know, six cops, eight cops on a shift. If you sort it, I'm over here. What are the odds? Where are they? And it's easy to pick them out and actually find out where they are. In fact, I used to be like, I've taken a Molotov cocktail, threw it in there to see how quick it took the cops to get there. Once the cops got there, you know how many cops are in the area, because this is how many cops can go to your robbery, quick enough to get you.
[00:49:03] Jordan Harbinger: Oh interesting. So you're using — I guess that's not misdirection, it's just more like —
[00:49:08] Larry Lawton: Nah, it's kind of like a test run, right? A test run where they don't know what's going on.
[00:49:16] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts, but I'm going to hold them to the end of part two because this is a two-part episode. Part two will be out in just a couple of days. If it's not already, by the time you listened to this.
[00:49:25] I wanted to give you a quick bite of a recent episode I did with Simon Sinek. He's been on the show a couple of times. Simon is one of the most sought-after speakers and mentors in the corporate world, but he's no stuffed shirt. Well, here are some of his wisdom from the elite levels of public speaking, as well as his organizational skills that keep him at the top of the game.
[00:49:43] Simon Sinek: I have a vision of the world that does not yet exist. I'm trying to build it and whatever it takes for me to advance that vision — speaking, writing, teaching, whatever it is — I'll do it. I remember when cell phones were just starting to show up. You know, there was this great promise that we could leave the office because of this device. And in reality, it backfired. We don't leave the office. The office comes with us.
[00:50:03] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:50:03] Simon Sinek: So we were always at the office, you know, because of the device. One of the things that happen when we take the office with us is if we're not constantly engaging and checking in, we actually feel guilty that we're not. You know, you're walking to the subway, you're on the device. If you're off the subway, going to the office, you're on the device. We take the phone with us to the bathroom. You hold it in and look for the phone. You know that? There's something unhealthy about that.
[00:50:26] Jordan Harbinger: So true.
[00:50:26] Simon Sinek: You know when we're not connected, we actually feel guilty. And the reality is, is that ideas don't happen when we're connected. Ideas happen when our minds have an opportunity to wander, and this is why we have our great ideas in the shower, when we're driving, when we're out for a run, when we're just going for a walk. Because the brainstorming session actually isn't the time to solve the problem. The brainstorming session is the time to ask the question. Allowing ourselves disengaged times is absolutely essential for innovation. It's absolutely essential for problem-solving. It's absolutely essential for creativity, to disengage with the device. The problem is I don't know when it's going to happen.
[00:51:00] When I was writing Leaders Eat Last, I would have many ideas in the shower and I would forget them as quickly as I had them. That I kept a dry erase marker in my bathroom and I wrote them on a tile. And so as soon as I got out of the shower while I was brushing my teeth, I'd write an idea on the tile. And so when I was standing there the next day, brushing my teeth, I'd be staring at my writing on tile and I'd sometimes have another idea. So it looked like a Beautiful Mind. It was ridiculous. All the tiles had these little chicken scratches all over it, and I didn't want to raise any of them because I didn't know what ideas were going to be sparked. But my point is, if you figure out what works for you, do that, keep a notebook by your bed. If you go for a run, take a notebook with you. I usually carry a notebook in the back of my pocket at all times because it doesn't know when I'm going to have an idea. And like I said, I lose them as quickly as I have them.
[00:51:41] Jordan Harbinger: For more from Simon Sinek, including why it's important to have a worthy rival to stay sharp, check out episode 300 right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:51:52] Thank you to Larry. Links to all his stuff will be in the website in the show notes. Please do use our website if you buy books from guests or buy any of that stuff that we talk about on the show, it does help support the show. Worksheets for this episode in the show notes. Transcripts in the show notes, there's also a video of this interview going up on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube.
[00:52:13] I'm at @Jordan Harbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn. I'm also teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships, using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course. They subscribe to the newsletter. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:52:36] This show is created in association with Podcast One and my amazing team. That's Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabe Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show — you got to share it with friends who would find this interesting. You know, somebody who's interested in these kinds of true crime stories, they're interested in these esoteric folks, these characters, share this with them. Hopefully, you find something great in every episode of this show, jewel thief for scientists, so do share the show with those you care about. I hope you're doing that. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:53:15] Now there are more ways to be a team with Microsoft Teams. Bring everyone together in one space with a new virtual room, collaborate live, drawing, sharing, and building ideas with everyone on the same page. And make sure more of your team is seen and heard with up to 49 people on screen at once. Learn more about all the newest Teams features at microsoft.com/teams.
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