Days after police in New Zealand arrested Kim DotCom, the founder of cyberlocker service MegaUpload and accused pirate, journalists were chasing reports that a tank was parked on the front lawn of his Auckland home.
"National Radio (New Zealand) called me about a half hour ago because someone texted to say that there's an army tank on Kim's lawn that is aimed at the front gate," France Komoroske, an attorney and DotCom neighbor, wrote CNET. "They asked me to go take a look."
Now, before we go on, put yourself in the position of DotCom's neighbors or reporters covering this story. Ask yourself this: Why wouldn't there be a tank?
DotCom is the 6-foot-7, 300-pound former street racer and convicted felon who is relatively new to the area and known for driving around in exotic automobiles. The 38-year-old referred to himself as "God" and "Dr. Evil" and lived in a massive $24 million mansion. Only a week earlier, more than 70 police officers had stormed the home by helicopter to arrest him on charges of operating a massive Internet piracy empire.
Police hauled away millions in cash and had to remove DotCom from a specially designed safe room, where they discovered he owned specially designed semi-automatic shotguns.
After all this, what's too far-fetched? Who would blink if DotCom had built a secret underground lair beneath a volcano, or equipped his cars with ejection seats or defended his house with a tank?
That's the kind of thing criminal masterminds do in the movies, and for many years that's the image that DotCom went out of his way to construct for himself.
Nonetheless, the tank was a fake--albeit a good one. What people saw on DotCom's lawn was an inflatable, life-size balloon made to look like a Soviet-era T-72 Russian battle tank, reported the New Zealand Herald. A party was held for one of DotCom's children and an inflatable castle was also at the home but set up in the back, according to Komoroske.
The tank balloon looked real enough to fool a host of neighbors and some journalists. Inflatable tank models were used in battle to deceive foes.
What I'd like to know was, while the other inflatable toys were stationed in the back of the home, how come the tank was left in the front? One has to wonder if DotCom, who was born Kim Schmitz, is still having fun at the expense of his neighbors and the media.
He remains in police custody until an extradition hearing is held. The United States wants to bring DotCom and three associates, two of which have been released on bail, back here to stand trial.
Odds are this story is going to play out over a long period and won't be boring.