Before the Cairo scam, the escapes from police custody and that time he said he parachuted onto the roof of an Austrian castle to steal a famous diamond, Gerald Blanchard was a shoplifter.
When he was just a 19-year-old trouble maker, he made the news for a series of capers that included robbing a Nebraska department store. He misdirected the staff with a phone call, fooling them into looking for a bogus suspect while he bundled up expensive jackets elsewhere in the store. He then tried to escape with a security guard clinging to his getaway car.
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