SSI Leads 6th-Grader to ‘Thief’

The greatest fulfillment I receive from my job as editor of this publication has been the positive, direct feedback I have gotten from readers through the years. Whether it’s one of our columns, technical departments or feature articles, when a subscriber writes, calls or flags me down at an industry event to tell me how it made a difference in their business and life, it just does not get much better than that – or so I thought.

Recently, a mother who was trying to find a way to get in touch with Jon Douglas Rainey, who plays the thief in Discovery Channel’s hit reality-based series, “It Takes a Thief,” contacted me. Many of you may recall Security Sales & Integration ran an exclusive cover story on this program in our August 2005 issue, moderated the ISC East keynote presentation featuring the show’s stars and behind-the-scenes talent, and hosted an autograph-signing session at the SSI exhibit booth.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with “It Takes a Thief,” the premise involves someone allowing their home or business to be broken into by Rainey while the show’s host, Matt Johnston, sits with them as they observe the burglary via a remote video feed. The objective is to raise awareness about potential security and safety vulnerabilities. The stolen property is then returned and the “victim” receives a comprehensive security makeover.

The mother wanted to contact Rainey because her 12-year-old son had been assigned by his school to write a letter to a famous person. As it turns out, the 6th-grader loves to watch “It Takes a Thief.”

This struck me as being extremely cool, as not only did a TV program focused on security and safety enrapture this boy, but also I was in the unique position to be able to help make his wish come true.

As you can see by the excerpt from the letter below, young Zach has proven himself perceptive enough to appreciate the show as entertainment while also absorbing its educational value. As we have stated many times in this magazine, “Thief” performs a great service for our industry by delivering its message of safe practices and effective security measures to the masses. I am just elated to have contributed in some small way to the cause.

Mr. Rainey,

My name is Zach Geis. I need to write a letter to someone famous or important for school. I told my mom I wanted to write a letter to you. I want to say how cool I think you are and that it must be a very fun job to break into houses and not get in trouble. I was also wondering why Matt never helps you burglarize homes. You must have a lot of guilt seeing all those people crying and all upset on what you did.

We usually watch your show as a family, and I think it is very cool. It made my dad think a lot more about security. He changed some locks and windows. He also brought home a safe. My mom made him take it back, but then he made her watch the show so they are getting a new one.

My favorite episode was when you got busted by the police in the one where you dressed up as a pool guy. I also really liked the one with the garage and how you were already in there. I couldn’t believe it! It’s really funny how people always think their dog is their main protection and the dogs like you! I’m really surprised how many people keep their doors and windows open.

I also think it’s cool how you can climb around like that on the houses and jump from roof to roof. You must be happy seeing people learn after the burglary. I’m looking forward to your new shows. Thanks for letting me write to you.

Your Fan.
Zach Geis
Sussex, Wis.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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