Hailed as the socially responsible alternative to putting your stuff into storage, the website BurgleMe.com has been closed after police investigated possible breaches of the law. Founder, CEO and CTO Josh 'Cookies' Cook, 19, had the idea in a coffee shop just off Old Street, in the district known as London's Silicon Roundabout. “It seemed crazy to me to pay money to store stuff you're never gonna use again”, said Josh in an interview by the Metro newspaper. “But just giving it away always causes problems, especially to friends, who then bitch and moan afterwards that the stuff didn't work the way that they thought it would, or it was the wrong colour. So I thought an anonymous approach was better, and hit on the idea of using burglars”.
Josh raised 1.2 million pounds on MadIdeas.com the social website for raising funds for startups and new vibrant young companies. “We used CRB checks from the start” said Josh, “to make sure we were getting the best in the business. The longer the list of previous offences the better, but specifically burglary offences. This required a lot of time to check, hence our burn rate for the initial funding was high”. Passing on the stuff to the end users was left to the burglars themselves, who used their contacts in the business that is known as 'fencing'.
The website was an immediate success with over a hundred vetted burglars being available and nearly a thousand 'givers' ready to be burgled, so that they could be liberated from their stuff. The business grew so much that burglars from overseas were drafted in to cope with the demand.
The police got involved when one of the givers was accidentally killed during a burglary arranged through the website. The giver's family tweeted and left angry comments on the website, which were removed by moderators. After the funeral, another family member suggested the police, and Google was used to find a way of contacting them.
“The website has been closed, pending a robust investigation”, said DS Felix Buckman, of the Police Service. Josh is sanguine however as he believes the concept is valid, and said that “Bad things sometimes happen, you know.” He is already looking for funding for a new website, believed to involve matching squatters with empty properties.