On Sunday a former FBI burglary suspect who was credited with 3,000 break-ins and a takeaway of $70 million dollars, was reported to have said it would have been "like gold" for him to have a list of all homeowners who had owned weapons when he was in operation.
Walter T. Shaw, 65, is no longer a thief on the prowl for items to steal, but he said that if he were the recently published listing of gun owner names in Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties by the Journal-News would have determined which homes he hit: those without guns.
Fox News reports that Shaw isn't the only former criminal to think publishing the names of gun owners would help them choose their victims more wisely. He is joined by Bob Portenier, a former burglar and house robber.
"They just created an opportunity for some crimes to be committed and I think it's exceptionally stupid," he said.
And while Shaw would have targeted the homes not on the gun list; Bob Portenier would have targeted those on the list, as he says stealing a legal gun is a quick way to make some bigger bucks; $300 to $400, no less.
A more famous reformed criminal joins the choir of voices in opposition to the publication of gun owners' names in New York, and his name is Frank Abagnale.
Abagnale was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the "Catch Me If You Can" movie a decade ago. Abagnale is no longer a criminal, but as one who remained so elusive for so long, his voice in the gun control and gun "outing" debate adds a strong message.
"This [the naming of gun owners in a newspaper] would be equivalent to publishing the names of individuals who keep substantial sums of money, jewelry and valuables in their home."
And the former clever thief, who now provides John Q. Public an insight into how a criminal thinks, says that the newspaper's actions on the issue was just plain "reprehensible."
Yet one thing Abagnale, Shaw and Portenier have not touched on in their comments about the Journal-News' publishing of NY gun owner's names is the serious possibility that the news agency could be at risk for legal lawsuits from outed gun owners--if they become the targets of thieves as a result of the publication of their names and addresses.
And few would argue with that, including Judge Jeanine Pirro, who is also concerned that the newspaper's gun owner listing puts battered spouses, crime victims, witnesses, law enforcement personnel, and judges like herself, also at risk, since their names were on that list too.