Have you ever wondered what gangs are really like? We hear about gangs in the news all the time. They’re often associated with violence, but some gangs defy that stereotype. Whether they have weird gang initiations, weird gang rituals, or just have strange ideals, some gangs just defy categorization.
This is a list of the weirdest gangs. It includes everything from street gangs to biker gangs to crime syndicates. There are bands of women thieves, gangs that roam Disneyland, Congolese fashionistas - each group on this list is wholly unique. The one thing they have in common, though, is a dedication to a singular cause. See how some weird gangs operate in the slideshow below.
From the late 1800s to the 1950s, a fearsome crime syndicate ruled London’s West End. They had clothing specially made with hidden pockets and sent passersby fleeing when they approached. The gang was made up of expert shoplifters; they were so good, in fact, that they branched out of London and formed cells in other European countries as well. Ok, so, they were 19th-century shoplifters? What’s so weird about that?
Here’s the kicker: the Forty Elephants were an entirely female gang. Yep, a bunch of well-to-do British ladies used to just waltz into high-end shops, pocket the most expensive merchandise, and walk out. Together, they built a criminal empire, and gave a whole different meaning to the phrase “girl gang.”
This one is a fun international scam: some prostitutes in Thailand have taken to robbing tourists by pretending to be interested in having sex with them. They rub liquid rohypnol on their nipples, let their marks lick them, and then wait for the victims to pass out. While the men are unconscious, the prostitutes rob them and flee. It’s a pretty common trick, but these women definitely get points for their fun name: the Notorious Nipple Gang.
Ah, another group of thieves that operated in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Like every other prolific robbery gang, these guys had a unique way of operating. First, they’d surveil their victims and learn their habits. Their marks were always extremely wealthy men and women who lived in large houses, mostly on large bodies of water. The key to the Dinner Set Gang’s modus operandi, though, is right in their name: they would break into a home and steal jewelry and cash while their victims were downstairs eating dinner.
They realized that, when most people are eating, they’re not paying attention to what’s going on in other parts of the house, especially if the house is extremely large. The houses being on the water was also key. The gang would often approach and escape by boat. The burglaries stopped throughout the 1980s, and the cases remained unsolved until the 1990s when the gang started up again and were eventually caught.
Sukebans are a collection of Japanese girl gangs started in the 1960s. Starting out, they basically had a reputation as delinquents, sneaking cigarettes at school and generally acting like disaffected youths. But, over time, they became involved in crimes like shoplifting. At one point in the seventies, it was estimated that the largest group of sukebans, the Kanto Women Delinquent Alliance, had 20,000 members. They had brightly colored hair and wore customized school uniforms covered in gang symbols. While membership declined in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it’s recently begun to rise again.