Diamonds are forever, and so are these charges.
Every once in a while, we see something that makes us stop in our tracks, mouths agape at our computer screen. This is one of those times. A humble Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan used in a burglary was hiding a stunt that would make 007 himself smirk. Thieves in Irvine, California, managed to create a rotating license plate, just like the one on Bond's Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger.
However, instead of displaying several license plates, this one simply flipped the existing plate to show a black piece of plastic on the other side. Still, it's incredibly clever. Eventually, a tip from a resident resulted in the suspect's apprehension and an end to their Bondian tricks.
Information on the device is pretty scarce, but Irvine PD did release some imagery of the device and its workings. The plate rotated around a plastic frame which was bolted to the Merc's plate bracket at the rear and could be activated by the touch of a button. There wasn't one for the front, which honestly wasn't very bright. California requires drivers to display a front license plate.
Regardless, it appears the mechanism works via an air compressor in the trunk of the C-Class. Or, it was used for something else we'll get to in a moment. That pump is wired to a 1000 mAh DeWalt battery, which likely powered the unit. It's tough to make out any of the finer details, but it's safe to say the trick plate required a serious bit of ingenuity. If it weren't being used to take things from other people, we'd even be impressed at the Bond-like gadget. It's a good thing there wasn't a second plate on there. That's another charge the suspects likely don't need.
The car itself is a C-Class from about ten years ago, and it's honestly not the most subtle of rides. That's largely thanks to the huge, gaudy aftermarket wheels. Perhaps next time you want to act like a spy, you ought to commit a little bit more. In some ways, the thieves did.
The cops also found some sort of clever gas siphoning system, which is another possible explanation for the air pump in the images above. The Instagram post from the department also states that there were "burglary tools, evidence of ID theft, and stolen property" found in the vehicle.