The Great Molzi Robbery
When I first sat down to start to turn the journey of building Molzi into a series of posts, I had a bit of a mind blank. I knew there had been lots of interesting, odd and hilarious moments, but the more I would try to think of them, the more my brain moved the memories out of reach.
I found the best way to remember the big moments was to scroll back through the photos on my phone. Most notable moments had some kind of accompanying picture. I'm not quite sure how I missed this one, but recently Apple presented it to me as a memory that I would likely enjoy. I question whether most people would, but I did. Well done algorithm.
This little fella was the only person ever to rob Molzi (apart from a few clients that never settled their invoices of course...).
Here's the story of the worlds least successful burglar and the worlds least-good-under pressure agency founder.
It was late 2020 and prior to the COVID lockdowns, Molzi had been based in two separate offices in Farnham. I took advantage of the significant drop in commercial rents and rented a shiny new office in a business park that could bring the team back together in one place (the reality was that hardly anyone ever used it - thanks remote working). As we moved into our new home, I had the headache of clearing out the other two offices and handing them back to the landlords. By this point, anything worth saving had been moved to the new office, and what was left behind was just rubbish, old cables, a few broken chairs etc that we were going to get collected by one of those white vans for hire.
As you would expect, at this point I didn't really give any thought to the two old offices that would soon be off our P&L and someone else's problem. I had more more interesting things to think about, like how we were going to keep riding the wave of growth following the first lockdown. In fact, this story began during Molzi's first ever global client pitch.
We had worked with this particular client for a couple of years, had great results and gradually kept increasing the scope of our agreement to add new territories and services. But this was the big one. We were pitching for their US business which would have doubled our fee and made them one of our biggest clients. Safe to say we had the Molzi A-team stuffed into the new boardroom and pitching for our lives. At this stage, I used to just get wheeled out for a hello at the start and then sit back as the (far more impressive) team did their bit.
Towards the end of the pitch I started receiving lots of notifications on my phone and took a glance. The Ring security camera was still set-up in the old office and switched on. I'm sure anyone that has security cameras at home knows that 99% of all notifications are of a bird, or the wind, or just the camera wanting attention. But for the first time I glanced at my phone under the desk, so not to appear rude on the video call, and saw a man walking around.
I can't really describe the feeling of watching someone rob you, live, on 1080p quality video (#NotAnAd). Even though there was only rubbish in that office, that we were literally about to throw away, I felt sick and violated. I watched him for about a minute, going from room to room, picking things up, realising it was a load of rubbish. In the picture above, he even walked up to the camera, by far the only valuable thing in the whole building, picked it up and then put it back in the exact same place. Maybe this was his first robbery too.
I'd had enough, my instinct was to go down there and ask him what the f*ck he was doing. So I told the client I was being robbed and ran out of the pitch (we won it, don't worry!) and into my car for the 5 minute drive through Farnham. On the way I rang my wife and told her what had happened. "What are you doing now" she asked. "I'm off to sort them out" I replied. She told me I was an idiot and should leave it for the police, but I was the CEO of Europe's fastest growing Amazon agency. Surely I could handle a little burglar.
By the time I arrived at Riverside Industrial Park in Farnham it was pitch black. This was the moment I suddenly agreed with my wife. I pulled up alongside the office in a dark industrial park and wondered what to do next. Our office was the first floor of the building and I could see the door leading to the stairs had been forced open. There were no lights at any windows of our building, or any other buildings in fact. So the only thing I could think to do was reverse the car so I was pointed sideways onto the building and just start flashing my headlights. Just to try and freak him out if he was still in there. I think you could loosely call this a plan, but after 30 seconds of flashing I started worrying that I might start attracting the wrong type of attention.
For some reason I decided that my only option was to go in there and try and find him. Ideally I wasn't going to go in alone though so I went looking for someone to help (protect) me. You can see me wandering around in the picture above and I was delighted to find two men sitting in the white van that you can see. I told them what had happened and they agreed to come in with me.
I know what you're thinking. Two men sitting in a white van in a deserted industrial park outside an office that's being burgled. Were they not the getaway drivers? I had that same thought roughly 20 seconds after entering the building with them. I'd put that down as one of my least sensible decisions in life.
Fortunately they didn't murder me, and in fact both guys seemed pretty adamant that if they did find the guy then they would cause him some harm. At this point I was praying the bloke had made a swift getaway. We searched for 10 minutes, found no one and I thanked the nice men/getaway drivers for their help and wished them a safe journey.
Annoyingly, the guy didn't steal any of the rubbish that we wanted to get rid of. Would have saved me £200 for the van. But I admitted defeat and went home. I called the police and filled them in on all of the details (apart from the bits that made me sound like a moron).
I heard back from them a week later. They had a lead from a neighbouring building CCTV. At roughly the time of the robbery a black Audi Q7 with blacked out windows pulls up to the office and starts frantically flashing it's lights at the building.
Yep, it was me. The only lead they had and ever got in solving The Great Molzi Robbery.